Reading the Word
Matthew 27:62–66 (ESV)
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
Understanding and Applying the Word
The religious leaders knew that Jesus had proclaimed that he would rise from the dead. They did everything in their power to see to it that such a story could not be fabricated by the disciples. A guard of soldiers was set and the tomb was sealed. No one was going to steal Jesus’ body and make it seem like he had risen.
The plan of the religious leaders was a good one to combat a false resurrection story. If the body was protected and still in the tomb, it would be impossible for others to say Jesus had risen just as he said he would. However, the plan had one major problem. What if Jesus really did rise from the dead? What if no one tried to steal the body and make up a false story, but Jesus rose and left the tomb on his own?
The resurrection is the center event of the whole Bible. It verifies all that Jesus said about himself. He truly is the Son of God! It is amazing to think that as hard as the religious leaders tried to put Jesus in a tomb and keep him there, they could not. He rose and the truth of the gospel spread quickly throughout the Roman world. This was not a made up story. The tomb was empty!
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