They went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.
How can we know for sure that Jesus’ resurrection is fact and not fiction? Let’s look at the proof of logic. Matthew 27:62-66 describes what happened the day after Jesus’ crucifixion: “On the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, ‘Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I am to rise again.” Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, “He has risen from the dead,” and the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.’ And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.”
Notice what was done to protect the grave. First, they set a Roman seal. This was two pieces of wax that held a string in place. Obviously, a string was not going to keep a body in the grave, but that Roman seal was a sign of the authority of Rome. It was kind of like the police putting up “Crime Scene: Do Not Enter” tape. This Roman seal had the authority of Rome behind it. If you broke this seal, you faced the full punishment of the Roman government.
Second, they appointed a Roman guard unit of at least 16 men. This was the practice with valued prisoners. In Acts 12:4, Herod Agrippa had Peter guarded by four squads of soldiers. The guard at Jesus’ tomb was composed of 16 highly trained men with the authority of Rome to make sure the body of Jesus stayed put.
So how did Jesus’ body get out of that tomb? There are only two explanations about how Christ’s body got out of that grave. Either man took Him out, or God took Him out. And if man took Him out, it had to be either His friends or His enemies.
Could it have been His friends? Think about the disciples. Did they have the courage to fight an entire Roman guard unit? Peter was the strongest, and he had fled the scene when someone even suggested that he knew Christ. No, the friends of Jesus lacked courage.
Other people say maybe the Jewish leaders or the Roman soldiers stole the body. That makes even less sense. Why would they steal the body? If the body had disappeared, that would have validated Jesus’ claim to be God. If they had had Jesus’ body, all they would have had to do was parade it through the streets of Jerusalem, and the Christian movement would have died.
The only answer is that God removed that body. God is the One who reached down and rescued His Son from the grave. That is the proof of logic.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, Or Fact?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.