Posted by: Toni Sprandel | March 30, 2013

He is Risen

Matthew 27: 64-66 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may 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.”  Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”  And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.”

The Jewish religious leaders went to Pilate and asked him for help.  Jesus had been a big problem for them while He was alive.  And before He died, Jesus claimed that He would rise from the dead on the third day.  Jesus had said a lot of things, and they always happened, just as He said.  So this would be an even bigger problem for the Pharisees, if Jesus did arise.  Fearing that the disciples would try to steal Jesus’ body, so they could claim He did rise from the dead, they wanted to make sure that didn’t happen.   The NASB Life Application Study Bible footnote explains the above verses this way: “The Pharisees were so afraid of Jesus’ predictions about His resurrection that they made sure the tomb was thoroughly sealed and guarded. …The tomb was sealed by stringing a cord across the stone that was rolled over the entrance.  The cord was sealed at each end with clay.  But the religious leaders took a further precaution, asking that guards be placed at the tomb’s entrance.  With such precautions, the only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead.”

Reading this my first thought was, “the man is dead!”  Am I the only one to think that this behavior is absurd?  Secure the grave?  Seal the grave?  Guard the grave?  Are they crazy?  Is all of this really necessary? The man has died, what in the world were they thinking?  Even all of His disciples deserted Him, only the women were left standing at the foot of the cross as He died.

Fear can make us do some really strange things.  And I am sorry, but to me, these guys were out of their minds.  Their hearts were so hardened to the things of God and all they could worry about was the fact that Jesus had a following and He was making them look bad.   Instead of looking to Jesus as the Messiah, they only worried about their own self-interests.  And they were so obsessed with getting Jesus out of the picture, they were willing to have Him killed and have the body stashed so they could get back to being the “top dogs”.

But their greatest fear happened.  The tomb had been sealed and guarded.  The guards didn’t leave their post.  But very early on that Sunday morning, there was a severe earthquake, “for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” Matthew 28:2.  Verse 4 shares this: “The guards shook for fear of him (the angel) and became like dead men.”  In verse 6 the angel explains: “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come, see the place where He was lying.”  Jesus had in fact, risen from the dead.

For all that the religious leaders did to get rid of Jesus, they soon found out that it didn’t work.  Jesus did what He said he would do, and Jesus was who He said He was.  The grave could not hold Him!  He was and is and always will be!  We can say with great rejoicing, He is Alive, He is Risen!

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