The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
What Saturday Means for Sunday
After Jesus’ death, his enemies remembered that he had promised to rise from the dead. They worried that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body, then say that he had risen. So, they asked Pilate to allow them to post a guard and seal Jesus’ tomb. Pilate agreed.
Interestingly, these actions by Jesus’ enemies and a Roman governor on Saturday of Holy Week are important evidence for Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning. Historians tell us that if a Roman guard fell asleep while on duty, the punishment was death. In addition, to break the seal of the governor also resulted in a death penalty. So, what do you think were the chances that the disciples (or anyone else) would have been able to steal Jesus’ body?
The recording of these events on Holy Saturday gives us a wonderful assurance. If Jesus’ tomb was opened, it was because God himself opened it. If Jesus’ tomb is empty, it is because Jesus left the tomb of his own volition.
On Easter Sunday, that is exactly what happened. And when the angel rolled back the stone it revealed an empty tomb. How remarkable that God used the actions of unbelievers on Saturday to bring us wonderful assurance that Jesus really rose on Sunday.
Lord, today I thank you that you have chosen to tell me about the events of that first Holy Saturday. Fill my heart with the joy of knowing you really rose from the tomb. Amen.