Quiet Day at the Tomb
Read Matthew 27:57-66
JERUSALEM, Saturday, spring ca. 30 a.d. – Although one anticipates relative peace at a grave site, that is not a given for the tomb of Jesus. The past seven days have been marked by anything but peace and quiet. Controversies over the person and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth escalated to the point of His arrest on Thursday and His crucifixion yesterday. But the tense, tumultuous, and controversial week culminated in a peaceful Jewish Sabbath today.
Many suspect that the peace is only temporary as tensions are masked by the Jewish Sabbath/Passover observance. Sabbath observances limit the activity of Jews. Still, even as Jesus was crucified yesterday, His disciples were notably absent. The only obvious followers of Jesus present for His crucifixion were His mother, a handful of other women, and one disciple identified as John.
In order to ensure peace at the tomb, government officials took steps to guarantee that the body of Jesus would go untouched. After an appeal from Jewish leaders, Pilate had the tomb sealed and placed a guard on watch.
The guard shed further light: “Jews were concerned about predictions that Jesus had made about rising from the dead. They didn’t want His disciples to come and steal His body and make some kind of ridiculous resurrection claim. That’s the reason the tomb was sealed and why I am here.” He went on, “Actually, today has been pretty boring. To be honest, I am not expecting anything to happen. I am just trying to pass the time.” Pointing to the club at his side, the guard concluded, “I am prepared in case His followers come to steal his corpse.”
It will be interesting to see what transpires once the Sabbath is over.
Letter to the Editor:
I heard Jesus make those predictions about His death and His burial. He was definitely accurate with those claims. I also witnessed Jesus powerfully performing miracles. His predictions of His own resurrection were also clear. Although I don’t pretend to understand how a dead man can rise again, I would say that a tight fitting, heavy stone, a bit of wax, and a man with a club are not insurmountable obstacles for the miracle worker.