It is amazing and ironic at the same time that the religious leaders who manipulated the Roman government into killing Jesus, waking the next day remembering what He said about rising from the dead in three days. You would think that they would be satisfied, still celebrating the deed that was finished with a body in a tomb. But they heard enough of Jesus’ words to remember and do something about those words of Jesus.
Why, we ask ourselves, who know what happens next? Why go to the trouble to seal the tomb when a few humans would not be able to roll the stone away from the entrance? Why give the fearful followers of Jesus this much credit to think they would still the body after rolling the stone away with great effort? Could this nugget of truth be troubling those who studied the Law, the Scriptures rolled up in scrolls, passed down through the ages? Yes, they remembered what Jesus said. They took their last shot at trying to rid the world of the One sent to save the world.
The women stood by the entrance and just watched, grieving over His death. Were they going over in their minds all that Jesus had said? As women, we are overthinkers, passionate about our families, nurturers of people. These women did not run but they drew near to where the Body of their Lord was laid and watched while they grieved and remembered.
Pilot, who washed his hands of the whole incident of what to do with Jesus, is now approached again by the religious leaders. Is he thinking, when will this all be over? He gives in easily it seems for he remembers his wife’s dream while sentencing an innocent man to die on a cross. The deed was done. With the wave of a hand, he tells soldiers to seal the tomb “as best you can” to appease the religious once more. He posts guards at the tomb who will experience the earth shake once more as Jesus rises from the dead in all His glory. They will remember a totally different experience than anyone has ever had on earth.
But we get ahead of ourselves. Today, we are trying to put ourselves inside the minds and attitudes of all the earthly characters who played a part in the fulfillment of Scripture, the prophecies of God, through men who belonged to Him and heard him, through the hearts of the women who loved Him deeply. We see the irony of the religious leaders of the day, while being grateful to the rich man who decided to follow Jesus unto death on a cross and lovingly and carefully gave respect to the body of our Savior.
Pause and let us remember…
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 27:57-66, NLT
The Burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.
The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”
65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
GO DEEPER IN TRUTH AS WE REMEMBER…
(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Theologian and Commentator)
“Though He was “crucified through weakness” (2 Cor. 13:4), He exercised wonderful power when He died. Three miracles took place simultaneously: The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; an earthquake opened many graves; some saints arose from the dead. The rending of the veil symbolized the wonderful truth that the way was now open to God (Heb. 10:14–26). There was no more need of temples, priests, altars, or sacrifices. Jesus had finished the work of salvation on the cross.”
“The earthquake reminds us of what happened at Mount Sinai when God gave the law to Moses (Ex. 19:16). The earthquake at Calvary signified that the demands of the law had been met and the curse of the law forever abolished (Heb. 12:18–24). The torn veil indicates that He conquered sin; the earthquake suggests that He conquered the law and fulfilled it; and the resurrections prove that He defeated death.” Yes!
Wiersbe relates, “It is not likely that Joseph prepared that tomb for himself. He was a wealthy man and certainly would not want to be buried so near a place of execution. He prepared that tomb for Jesus, and he selected a site near Golgotha so that he and Nicodemus could bury Christ’s body quickly. Joseph and Nicodemus could very well have been in the garden waiting for Jesus to die. When they took Him from the cross, they defiled themselves and were not able to eat the Passover. But, what difference did it make? They had found the Lamb of God!”
In contrast to the loving care given by Jesus’ friends, notice the plottings and maneuvering of the Jewish leaders. The disciples had forgotten that Jesus promised to rise from the dead on the third day, but His enemies remembered. Pilate permitted the leaders to set a guard at the tomb. This guard put an official Roman seal on the stone. All of this was of God, for now it was impossible for anyone—friend or foe—to steal the body.
Yes, without realizing it, the Jewish leaders and the Roman government joined forces to help prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Remember this in grateful praise for the One and Only who came to save the world from all sin, once and for all!
Lord and Savior,
Thank you. Just thank you. There are not enough words to express my grateful praise this morning so I will just remember with a sincere heart of gratitude.
In Jesus Name, Amen