What Jesus Did! 'Verified by No Lie' — Matthew 27:62-66

Friday, December 24, 2021

The next day [after Jesus' crucifixion], on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise from the dead.' So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we'll be worse off than we were at first."

Pilate replied, "Take guards and secure it the best you can." So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

— Matthew 27:62-66 NLT

Key Thought

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 the disciples might try to make people believe he was raised. So to suppress any possible rumor of Jesus' resurrection, the Jewish leaders 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 Good News story and the story of the early church, when Roman soldiers are given the opportunity to truly examine the story of Jesus and of his people, they are at worst friendly and quite often become disciples themselves.

The failure of the plan to defeat Jesus, his disciples, and his triumph becomes the assurance to skeptical Romans that Jesus had to have been raised. After all, how could a bunch of scared and helpless Galileans overpower the Roman army's finest? They couldn't, of course; the empty tomb was — and is — convincing evidence that God and his angels were behind it!

* That the "guards" in today's verses were likely Roman soldiers (and not the Temple soldiers) is probably indicated by Matthew 28:12-14. Otherwise, there would have been no need for the priests to bribe them to lie and then defend them to the Roman governor for failing in their duty.

Today's Prayer

Thank you, Almighty and Sovereign God, for defeating Satan by using the very things that he tried to use to defeat Jesus and for bringing 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 faith, I have confidence that my life will not be lived in vain. Please give me courage to faithfully live the values I confess. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18, 25
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
  • Matthew 28:2-4


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Illustration of Matthew 27:62-66 NLT — "Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise from the dead."

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 and is available in book form.

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.