Right after Jesus was crucified, some of his followers wanted to ensure the body had a proper burial, unlike the unceremonious discarding of most crucified bodies. One person in particular, a wealthy man named Joseph from the city of Arimathea, asked Pilate if he could care for the body. He got permission and took Jesus’s body to a new tomb he had recently cut out of rock. Once the body was in the tomb, he rolled a huge stone in front of it.
On Saturday, Jesus’s body laid in the tomb, and his disciples and followers observed the Sabbath in sorrow and mourning. In addition to grieving, the disciples likely spent the day in hiding. After all, if their leader was killed by the powers that be, it wouldn’t be long before people would be coming after them.
In the meantime, the Roman government wanted to make sure nothing would happen to that body. After all, Jesus had alluded to the fact that he would rise again. Now, to be sure, no one expected what was going to happen on Sunday. Still, the religious leaders who wanted Jesus gone in the first place wanted to be confident there would be no sort of uprising. If anyone took that body out of the tomb, they knew the stories about Jesus still being alive would spread like wildfire.
Listen as Matthew recounts what transpired the day after Jesus’s death. This is Matthew 27:62–66.
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.
Heavenly Father, we all go through seasons where there seems to be no hope. But regardless of our circumstances, we look to you for our hope. Even in the darkest moments, remind us that you are still at work. Thank you for always being with us. Amen.