88 – Guard the Tomb

When: Saturday, April 8, 30 AD
Where: Hinnon Valley, Jerusalem, Judea
Matthew, Luke,


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After 6 am on Saturday the Sabbath, a representative of the Chief Priest, and a representative of the Sadducees, went to the Fortress Antonia [model] where Pilate was staying. The Passover had been celebrated and the Sabbath begun. They could afford to be “unclean” now.

During the night, some of the Sadducees had remembered that the charges against Jesus had included a reference to ‘raising the temple on the third day’. One Sadducee knew enough about Jesus’ teaching to suspect that Jesus may have been referring to his own “Pharisee resurrection”. If Jesus’ body were taken, then the disciples could claim that Jesus had been raised (that God had put a “stamp of approval” on what Jesus taught) and then would claim that Jesus was a true prophet. This would present serious problems because the Sanhedrin had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy and had Jesus condemned to death.

Therefore they met with Pilate. They requested a Roman guard to watch the tomb until Monday night. Pilate did not want to be bothered anymore with this situation, yet Pilate realized that this was important to the Sadducees. So Pilate agreed, on the condition that they pay each soldier their regular pay and a bonus. ‘And, of course, there would be administrative fees as well’. Once the arrangements had been agreed on, the soldiers were instructed and dispatched.

When the soldiers arrived, they removed the stone enough to check that the body was still there. Then they replaced the stone. They found a place on the tomb, laid a cord across it and dripped hot wax onto the cord and the rock surface. Then, keeping the cord tight and straight, they repeated the process on the stone “door”. So they sealed the “door” just as the “door” to the lion’s den had been sealed when Daniel was put in. If any part of this seal were cracked or broken, it would indicate a violation of the tomb.

Then they set up camp nearby and settled down to “guard” the tomb.

Meanwhile the followers of Jesus honored the Sabbath, and rested.

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