Securing the Tomb: Matthew 27:62-66
“62) Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63) and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64) Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66) And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.” Matthew‬ ‭27‬:‭62‬-‭66‬
Between the burial team of Joseph and Nicodemus and the prevention team of the chief priests and Pharisees, Pilate was kept nearly as busy after the death of Jesus as before. I wonder which of the two groups he favored more? He granted both requests, but he seemed less moved by the malice of the chief priests and Pharisees.
Their request was intriguing. Some had obviously been present when Jesus made mention of His resurrection. They referred to Jesus as “that deceiver” even though it was their lies and deception that resulted in His crucifixion. “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I am to rise again.”
Their concern was His disciples. They proposed they had a plot to steal away the body and perpetrate a public deception. To the contrary, the disciples were reeling in their own disappointment. The chief priests and Pharisees opted to put their best prevent defense on the field.
Pilate granted their request. They were granted permission to take the temple guard and make the tomb secure against any human disturbance. Some of these were undoubtedly the same soldiers that went to Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. Along with the guard, they placed a seal on the stone.
They failed to consider one possibility; the grave was secure against human malice but not against Divine intervention. There was no power on earth, neither human nor demonic that could prevent the resurrection of Jesus Christ… if God ordained it!
As the reader ponders these verses, an unsettling irony begins to come into focus. The Gospel message is about the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Look deeply at what was happening.
These agnostic religious leaders were spending their time discussing and arguing over the main points of the gospel, but they were totally blinded by the true deceiver. They were knocking at the door of salvation, but were focused on keeping it locked shut. Many throughout the centuries have stood in their sandals. What a tragedy! Grace is the only remedy for a hard and callous heart.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global