Matthew 27:57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 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.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Big Idea: Even the unbelievers will believe
This passage includes a lot of sneaking around, both by Jesus’ friends and enemies. There were several very ironic things happening at once. First Jesus’ disciple, in an effort to honor his Lord, he offered up his tomb for Jesus. Clearly, he missed Christ’s claims that he would rise from the dead. Or he didn’t believe them.
Meanwhile, the pharisees were requesting a guard for the body because Jesus had claimed that he would rise again after 3 days. Jesus had made this claim using the temple as a metaphor for himself. “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in 3 days.” Clearly, they actually understood what Jesus was referring to, because they explained it to Pilate in order to get the guard. But this claim was the same claim that they used against Jesus in the trial, only in that case they pretended to understand it as literally referring to the temple.
So we see Jesus’ friends not believing him, and Jesus’ enemies having enough faith that they decided to take action to prevent Jesus from pulling it off! Of course, they were more concerned about the disciples stealing the body and making them look bad, but they really did listen to Jesus and heard every word he had said.
Application: Both Jesus’ disciples and his enemies knew what he said. How they applied it was what made all of the difference, and even then, no one got it exactly right! Know the word of God is just the beginning, and understanding takes time.
Imagine if one of the disciples fully understood and believed what Jesus had said about his own resurrection. How would this weekend been different for them? Would they have spent Saturday in excited anticipation rather than defeated sadness?
How would our lives be different if we really understood what Jesus taught? Would we look at money differently? How would we spend our time? How would it affect our relationships? Take a moment this Easter season to meditate on a promise and think about how your understanding has grown and changed and how you can better apply God’s promises!