Summary: An Easter Sunrise sermon reflecting on how the posting of the guard worked out to the Lord’s favor.
March 27, 2005 Matthew 27:62-28:10
About a year ago I used to drive past a local bank and see a rather overweight man with an official uniform standing outside of the building. He was known as the security guard. Whereas he stood outside in the freezing cold, I don’t know how much he could have actually done to make this bank “secure”. From my experience most security guards have usually been older and grumpier kind of men. A majority of the time they end up just driving around - trying to keep crimes from happening. Every once in a while, however, they end up getting shot in the line of duty. A recent example is the security guard up in Minnesota. He was the first one to be shot at the school. In the end, even with good intentions, he didn’t end up doing much good for the security of the school. A total of four other students were also shot. It was an unfortunate and very sad event.
On this Resurrection Sunday, we are introduced to another kind of security guard. Matthew 27 reads, “The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 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.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” These were no retirees keeping guard of the tomb. These were trained soldiers of the Roman army - professional killing machines.
It was their job to keep a “crime” from happening - to keep any of Jesus’ disciples from coming and stealing Jesus’ body from the grave. When I hear those words of the chief priests and Pharisees, it makes me realize how hardened they really were. They really thought Jesus was just a deceiver - even after the breaking of the tombs and the tearing of the temple curtain at His death - they still thought Jesus was just a deceiver. They even thought the disciples were so brain washed that they would actually go through the actions of trying to steal Jesus’ body from the tomb! Imagine that for a second. Imagine if you followed somebody who claimed to be the Messiah - the Savior of the world - and He was crucified. Imagine also if he claimed that He was going to rise from the dead. If you really believed in him, the last thing you would want to do is to go and dig up his dead body and pretend that he really did live - if he didn’t! If, in fact, he did not raise from the dead, wouldn’t you be the FIRST one to make sure nobody STOLE his body from the grave? Wouldn’t you in fact be angry at having been duped by this man in the first place? Who on earth would actually want to then take hold of a three day old body and carry it from the grave - and look for a place to hide it? And all this under collaboration with one another? It’s insane. What a bunch of garbage! But that’s what the Jews thought these disciples might do. So they were told to go and make the tomb as SECURE as they knew how. The seal and the soldiers were the most security they could provide to keep this “crime” from happening. It was a waste of time. Yet this morning we’ll see how -