Read Matthew 27:62-66
Here it is Passover Sabbath day and the Chief Priests (aka Sadducees) and the Pharisees now have a guilt complex and they are starting to stress out. They are haunted with the words of Jesus when he told them that he would rise again in three days.
The Sadducees and the Pharisees represent the Sanhedrin which represents the Jewish leadership. Typically, these two groups do not get along, the only time they agreed was over the death of Jesus. Neither group wanted to lose their authority and power over the Jewish citizens and since Jesus threatened their very livelihood, they agreed he needed to be killed.
They each got what wanted, Jesus was crucified, but they still were not happy. They were afraid of one more thing. What was it they were afraid of? That Jesus was telling the truth that he would return in three days. They know they killed the Son of Man; they know from all the atmospheric events that took place during his crucifixion that he was sent by God as the Messiah. Now they are afraid Jesus will return.
The get together and go to Pilate’s headquarters. Pilate was probably really fed up with these men by now. They go to Pilate and tell him what they want. They want Pilate to give an order for the tomb to be made secure until after three days. Three days because that will get them past Jesus prophetic timeline. The Sadducees and the Pharisees are commanding Pilate to command his soldiers to secure the tomb of Jesus.
Notice they say, “that deceiver”, they do not even call him by his name. They are completely dissociating from Jesus and what they have done to him. They choose to call him a deceiver and in vs.64 they reason with Pilate that the Jesus disciples might try to steal the body if the tomb is not secured.
They could steal the body and lie to all the people telling them Jesus was raised from the dead, even though they all know the truth that he is dead. This would be the second deception, according to these leaders, that Jesus would be involved in. The first deception would have been that Jesus was the Messiah and the second deception that he has risen as the Son of God.
They command Pilate to command security, if you think Jesus caused an uproar when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, just wait until this deception takes place, it will be much worse than that.
Pilate agrees to their demand telling them, “Take a guard, go make the tomb as secure as you know how.” Vs. 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
There is one discrepancy that I notice and I want to point out so you all can be aware of it too and that is many people are teaching that the Romans rolled the stone in front of the tomb to secure it. As we read last week that did not happen. In verse 60 we read that Joseph rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb.
Once the leaders received permission, they left Pilate and went to the tomb and made it secure. They did not secure the tomb by putting the stone there it was already there. They made the tomb secure by placing a royal seal on it. The seal would have had Pilate insignia on it. This legal seal would guarantee that the body of Jesus was in the tomb at the time the seals were set. All the contents were contained inside, and they were authenticated, verified. While the seals were in place the contents remained safe and sound.
So, the tomb was inspected, a seal made of wax was placed on each side of the tomb with a string running from one wax seal to the other side. The thought was that if the stone were removed in anyway the seals would break. If this string were broken it would mean a Roman law was broken and the person breaking it would be prosecuted.
What is interesting with their doing this is it solidifies Jesus’ resurrection. This Roman seal could not be broken, or the person would be severely punished, their life would end. They didn’t have security cameras back then so they stationed four Roman soldiers at the tomb, their shifts would change out every three hours and they did this over the day or so until Sabbath ended. With the soldiers standing guard no one would have been able to get near the grave.
These men went to great lengths to make sure Jesus stayed in that tomb. But it was impossible to hold him in the grave. The grave could not hold him. They thought they could control the Son of God, that they dictated what would happen, they were wrong.
There is literally no way this could be a deception or a fabrication. Joseph and Nicodemus witnessed Jesus was dead-they prepared his body and laid him in the tomb. Mary and Mary watched Jesus’ burial. The Centurion confirmed for Pilate Jesus was dead. The chief priests and elders along with the Roman soldiers entered the tomb and verified it was Jesus lying there and that he was dead and they witnessed the stone being replaced and the seals being set over the stone and that the soldiers remained and watched vigilantly. There is no way Jesus’ body was taken out the grave by any human.