27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.
27:58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
27:59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth
27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.
27:61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
27:62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate
27:63 and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’
27:64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”
27:65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”
27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
Even after witnessing the death of Jesus and playing a vital role in the level of violence that took place, the religious rulers of that day were still filled with hate and also fear towards Him. It is interesting to note that they were still immensely jealous of Him because of all the claims He had made about being the true Savior of this world and also having the power to come back to life.
They may have very well believed that His disciples had the capability to steal His body and spread rumors of His return and yet this man whom they supposedly believed was dead and gone forever, struck a great amount of fear in their hearts. They also believed that regardless of the claim that He would raise again, that they could somehow stop it from happening.
Here in this passage we begin to see the true and ultimate power of Jesus Christ about to be put on display. Jesus promised time and again that He would rise again and these men were foolish enough to actually believe that they could stop and prevent the masterplan of God. Furthermore, we see how the Pharisees and Chief Priests may have been convinced that they had actually won. They were in a place in which they thought they had victory over their accomplishments and yet fear still reigned in their hearts about what might take place.
Their fear may have been truly driven by what the disciples could do or I believe that part of it was being motivated by previously witnessing how powerful Jesus was throughout the course of His ministry. It is also interesting to note that the scripture does not talk about them celebrating or exchanging high fives for their work. Instead, they are still working to try and stop a man that they claim is going to stay dead.
I truly believe that this is God’s power at work. Even though they boldly claimed not to believe in Jesus, deep down in their hearts they knew He had held some sort of supernatural power, even though they had previously blasphemed about it being the work of the Devil, the power that Jesus held did not sit well with these men.
This is a day in which His followers are either filled with hope about the third day approaching or sadness and fear. Regardless of that state, as Christians today we believe what the Bible tells us about what is about to take place and we can begin to prepare our hearts to rejoice the resurrection of our Savior. Death will not stop Him and He will show the world His unmatched power and love that only He can give.
It is interesting that the guards remembered that Jesus claimed He would rise on the third day and that they seemed to be concerned about it causing a large movement of Christ’s followers. This should alert the reader that Christ’s followers were not a small grouping of people. It was a large group and every member of Judea knew about it. Many have questioned whether or not Jesus was actually crucified but according to the Bible and other early writings, it is clear that the Judean region knew of Jesus’ ministry and that people in power were peeved.
According to Pliny the younger, who wrote just a generation after Jesus’ death, Christians were growing so fast that it was made illegal to be a Christian and they were executed if they would not renounce. This outgrowth is not a reality if Christ did not actually die on the cross and then rise from the grave on the third day.
Do not let the world rewrite the story of Christ. Hold strong to the faith that has been passed down to us one generation at a time. Also remember that today we are reminded that we are dead to our own selves. We have been made dead to the flesh yet we will rise with the life of Christ, in us.