St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional
It was over. The betrayal and arrest. The mockery of a trial and the scourging. The insults and abuse and the stumbling walk under the weight of the Cross. Last words. The final shuddering breath.
It was over.
“So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:59-60
Sealing the entrance with a boulder, in itself, makes perfect sense, and was likely common practice. It would be necessary to protect a tomb from grave robbers, especially on a Sabbath eve, and to contain the odor of a corpse. But Matthew is the only Gospel writer to add the story of Pilate ordering guards to make the tomb secure, to seal the stone. “ The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:62-64)
Were they simply cautious, aware of the damage a social media post by one of the Rabbi’s disciples could have, suggesting that He had been resurrected? Did they think that there would be a massive gathering of agitators, inciting violence among the people? Or were they just frightened, of the crowd? Or of the possibilties?
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?…
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb…
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble…”