Those devious pharisees asked Roman Pilate to provide guards for Jesus’s tomb. They suspected Jesus’ loyal disciples would steal His body and claim He had risen from death, as He had foretold. Pilate agreed, still troubled by condemning this good man to death.
“Take a guard (a group of Roman soldiers) and make the tomb as secure as you know how. So they went and secured the tomb, sealing it, and posting the soldiers there” (Matthew 27 65)
Archeologists reckon that a rich man’s tomb such as this one that Jesus ‘borrowed’ would have required a hewn rock weighing one to two tons to seal it. A dozen or more men would struggle to move this in its groove. Yet that great rock was rolled away from the tomb!
All the power of Rome was unable to secure our Lord. He permitted the bullying, scorn, torture and death sentence. Jesus CHOSE this painful path!
“I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes My life from me. I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10 v 18.)
Jesus could not be kept down. He chose to suffer to redeem His followers, and lay down when He was ready.
In that dark place, Jesus was preparing for the next phase. Even HIs own confused followers thought His cry from the Cross “It is finished!” was the end of Jesus. They had not understood His patient explaining on many occasions that He was like a seed that fell to the earth and died, and then bore much fruit. (John 12 v 24) That was His cry of accomplishment that His mission of redemption was done.
The cross couldn’t destroy Jesus. The tomb couldn’t imprison Him. Even His burial winding cloth could not restrict Him. God raised Jesus, as David prophesied: “You will not abandon Him to the grave, nor will You let your Holy One see decay.” . (Acts 2 v 27)
Two thousand years later, this sin-filled world is still trying to crush Jesus and His Way. But He still can’t be held down, buried or silenced. Our Risen Lord is free to come and go wherever He wishes, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against Him!
When Jesus decided that His work on Earth was done, He ascended to His Father in Heaven, without abandoning his growing church. He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell His children, to guide and comfort them. He charges His angels to protect and lead us.
Church family. We are on the winning side. I wouldn’t dare be anywhere else!