Scripture – Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
Even once Jesus was dead, the Jewish leaders feared him. They wanted to make sure that they didn’t lose face now that they had crucified him. But the best laid plans will never thwart the plans of God. They sealed the stone over the tomb, they placed a guard of Roman soldiers around it – because they couldn’t have their own people guard it because it was the Passover and they couldn’t do any work. It’s interesting that they were so worried that Jesus’ disciples would try and steal the body to claim that he risen from the dead – something that could make, in their words, “the last fraud worst than the first” – yet they were so blinded by religion that they were incapable of just sitting by the tomb themselves to make sure Jesus didn’t come out. The Jewish leaders, for the sake of religion, missed out on seeing Jesus come out of the tomb – at which point I’m sure they would have repented, believed and been forgiven – but their pride so great they wouldn’t even give put themselves in a position where their hearts and minds could be changed.
Even as Christians there are times that we, out of fear or religion, are afraid to put ourselves in a position where Jesus could radically challenge our faith. One area that comes to mind is the question of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Miracles, healings, things outside our comfort zone. I never want to be afraid of what Jesus might want to do in me. I want always to be open to the things of God – never thinking that I have experienced all that God has to offer.
Father, find me open to your power today. In Jesus name, amen.