Wednesday, May 13, 2015
“Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch” (Matthew 27:65,66 KJV).
The second verse of Robert Lowry’s classic 1874 hymn “Up From the Grave He Arose” highlights today’s Scripture.
“Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus my Savior,
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus my Lord!”
When Joseph of Arimathaea buried Jesus in the tomb that he had purchased for himself, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched (Mark 15:47; cf. Matthew 27:61). Luke comments: “And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid” (23:55).
The tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea was not far from Mount Calvary, so it was here that the Jewish believers interred Jesus’ lifeless body. They watched as He was placed inside. It was surely a very emotional time for them. As they rolled that massive stone over the tomb’s entrance, they knew they were burying with Him all their hopes and dreams of a coming Davidic kingdom. Even after the resurrection occurred, “they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9; cf. Luke 18:31-34).
On the day following Jesus’ burial, the chief priests and the Pharisees came to Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judaea (Matthew 27:62-66). They said to Pilate, “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.” Today’s Scripture says Pilate authorized guards to be stationed at Jesus’ tomb. Those soldiers secured the tomb and posted a notice that it was Roman law that the tomb be left alone. Praise God—all that “securing” was done in vain! Jesus Christ still resurrected and escaped! 🙂
Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should I raise my hands in ‘worship?’”