November 11

Text: Matthew 27:62-64

Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.'  Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first."  (NASB)

Matthew made clear to his initial readers that this incident occurred the day after Jesus’ crucifixion.  The Jewish leadership achieved objective one: they succeeded in having Jesus executed in a disgraceful manner.  The popular man who had been such a challenge and embarrassment to them was dead.

However, they realized after Jesus’ death that they had not yet achieved objective two: to end permanently the “nonsense” about Jesus’ predicted resurrection.  Consider some obvious factors:

1.      The prediction of Jesus’ resurrection was common knowledge.

2.      Jesus’ death was an accepted, public fact—Jesus was dead.

3.      The site of Jesus’ burial was known to his enemies—there was no secrecy.

The fear of the Jewish leadership:

1.   Jesus’ dead body would be stolen.

2.   The disciples would claim resurrection as an explanation. 

3.   The resulting problem would be worse than having Jesus alive.

Their solution: secure the grave with guards.  Since it was a Roman execution, Roman troops should guard the grave.  There are at least three things to be seen in this request.

1.   These Jews were beginning to distance themselves from responsibility for Jesus’ death.

2.   They would evade the cost of this guard.

3.   They avoided any appearance of conspiracy if the guard was not Jewish.


1.   “Loose ends” and “blame games” are ancient realities.

2.   Evil is never without resources.

3.   There is more than one price to be paid in seeking injustices.

Suggestion for reflection: Why do we often wish to “cover” ourselves?  (Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell