The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priest and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir”, they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he had been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard”, Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
This world can be an overwhelming place. It often seems like life is overshadowed by sickness, natural disasters or any number of possible tragic events. It can be overwhelming. And then there is the bickering, the constant fighting, fought in arenas where lies and deceit are commonly used as tools to get ahead. In Matthew 27:62-66 we see the same thing. A fear that one group of people is going to gain power over another group and that that power would be gained by the way of a hoax. What the Pharisees did not realize was that this was no hoax and that Jesus was more than just an ordinary man.
For some, the time spent immediately after Jesus’ death was a time of extreme sorrow. Most of us have experienced and are familiar with those feelings where pain and sadness weigh so heavy on our souls. In the days after a loved one dies, we are completely consumed with the experience and emotion of losing someone we loved. Jesus’ friends, family, and followers must have been consumed by the sorrow of losing Jesus and completely haunted by the way they had seen him die. Others also were consumed by Jesus’ death but for different reasons. These were the ones who yelled to crucify him and called him a deceiver - the ones who petitioned Pilate to post a guard at Jesus’ tomb. They feared someone would steal His body and falsely claim that Jesus had risen as He said He would, giving traction and life to a movement that they hoped would die with Jesus at the cross. I believe Jesus when he said, “forgive them, father, for they know not what they do.” They had no idea what they were doing and as a result they labeled Jesus, who is truth, as a deceiver.
In our world, everyone has always been searching for the truth. Our world has been plagued by conspiracies and false information at the hands of those seeking power throughout all of our recorded history. It is in our nature to want proof and evidence clearly showing that we are being told the truth and that no one is pulling a fast one on us.
Today we use our high tech devices to secretly record conversations or use our surveillance systems which have become commonplace in both businesses and homes to obtain the proof we need to discover the truth. The Romans posted a guard at Jesus’ tomb as their security measure to prevent what they feared was a hoax in the making. Them posting the guard actually backfired on them and provided proof to the world that there was no hoax or conspiracy. They were the ones to provide the guard to Jesus's tomb proving to all that no one stole His body.
Sometimes I wonder where Jesus’ spirit was during this time between His crucifixion and His resurrection. Was He in Paradise with the criminal that hung next to Him as mentioned in Luke 23:43 or was he preaching to imprisoned spirits as referenced in 1Peter 3:19... or maybe both? We may not know exactly, but we do know more now than those that were present after Jesus’ crucifixion in Matthew 27:62-66 knew. We know it was not a conspiracy or hoax, we know Jesus suffered and died on the cross and then was risen three days later as He said He would be. We know that we have seen the impact of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our families, our friends and the impact on the whole world around us.
Before the resurrection, Jesus’ disciples had not even yet realized the Gospel. Before the resurrection, they were consumed with sorrow from seeing the one they loved beaten, mocked and forced to die a criminal’s death on the cross. The doubters didn’t understand the weight of this situation yet either. They were consumed with proving that Jesus was actually a deceiver. Little did they know that in one day the same power that spoke life and the world into existence would breathe life back into Jesus' body. For now, they must wait another day in a world that I feel sure they thought was overwhelming.