That day was the day called Preparation day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, "Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, 'After three days I will rise from death.' So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well until after three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell the people that he has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about him before." Pilate said, "Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know." So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it.
— Matthew 27:62-66 NLT
Isn't it interesting how Satan gets defeated at every turn in Jesus' death and resurrection? The disciples don't have any expectation of Jesus' being raised, but his enemies are concerned they might try to make people believe he did. So to keep the rumor from spreading, they call on the mighty power of the Roman army to keep anyone from stealing away the body.
Brilliant plan isn't it! Unless, of course, Jesus is actually raised from the dead!
Incredibly, all through the Gospel story and the early story of the Church, when Roman soldiers are given the opportunity to truly examine the story and the people of Jesus, they are at worst friendly, and quite often become disciples themselves.
The plan to defeat Jesus, his disciples, and his triumph becomes the assurance to skeptical Romans that Jesus had to be raised. After all, how could a bunch of scared and helpless Galileans overpower the Roman army's finest? They couldn't, of course, unless God and his angels are behind it!
Thank you, Almighty and Sovereign God, for using the tools of the enemy to defeat Satan and bring victory, and verification of that victory. I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead and that you will raise me from the dead when Jesus returns. Because of this, I have confidence that my life will not be lived in vain. Please give me courage to live the values I confess with faithfulness. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- 1 Corinthians 1:18, 25
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
- Matthew 28:2-4
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.