Note from JesusDear Seeker,
On the day after My death and while My body was still in the grave, Pilate received a request from the chief priests and the Pharisees:So please order someone to secure the tomb for at least three days. Otherwise His disciples might sneak in and steal his body away, and then claim that He has been raised from the dead.If the chief priests and Pharisees had just known the realities of the situation, they would have realized how unnecessary their request was. My disciples were scared they would be the next to die. They hid from the authorities behind locked doors (John 20:19). They weren’t going to steal My body. They were hoping to stay alive through Passover. If they survived, then they could begin trying to figure out what to do next!
The concern about their stealing My body was ludicrous. Even more absurd was the posting of a guard at the tomb of someone who is dead. If the deceased can make himself alive again, you have a lot bigger problem than a few guards at the entrance of a tomb could ever handle!
As My body lay still in the grave, those who crucified Me were about to provide part of the validation that their greatest fears would be realized. What were those fears? Matthew’s words capture them powerfully. If My disciples believed that I was raised from the dead, then these religious leaders “would have been better off just leaving Him [Me] alive.” A wonder-working Messiah was hard enough to oppose. How do you stop people who truly believe their Messiah had been unmercifully and brutally executed but then was raised from the dead by the power of God? As you now know nearly two thousand years later, you can’t stop such “resurrection-believing” people!
All the schemes, plots, and machinations exerted to kill Me would very shortly prove to be futile. In fact, all those efforts would only strengthen the foundation of My disciples’ faith once they were convinced that I had been raised! After they had seen Me alive following My resurrection, their faith would push them out of their fear into a bold passion. Once they ate with Me, their resurrected Lord, their conviction that I lived would stir them to turn the world upside down with My message of grace. These religious leaders and their soldiers could no longer threaten them into silence once they had touched My wounds — wounds on My head, hands, feet, and side — where I had been pierced by the thorns, the nails, and a spear. These religious leaders would have their worst fears realized. Once My disciples believed in My resurrection and the empty tomb, they proved to be unstoppable!
So when all seemed lost for My little band of followers, those who killed Me were still afraid of Me. You are reading this because you know what happens next: these religious leaders have their worst fears realized. Death could not stop Me or My influence or My triumph over the grave. All their politics, false religion, lying, deception, and even guards couldn’t keep My body locked in that tomb and held by the power of death. Soon, after a brief respite while My body would lie motionless and lifeless in the grave, the religious leaders would again have to deal with Me, the Lord of heaven and earth and conqueror of death.Verses to LiveThe Bible has many little glimpses of holy irony as humans try to oppose the plan and power of the LORD — Father, Son, and Spirit. The second Psalm is a powerful testimony about the futility of human scheming in opposition to the will of the Father (Psalm 2:1-12). I especially love the first verse: “Why are the people making plans to pursue their own vacant and empty greatness?” The frantic scheming by those who put Me to death proved futile as My resurrection demonstrated. So as you read the words below, recall how ridiculous this scheming proved to be.The next day, which is the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate. They reminded him that when Jesus was alive He had claimed that He would be raised from the dead after three days.
Chief Priests and Pharisees:So please order someone to secure the tomb for at least three days. Otherwise His disciples might sneak in and steal His body away, and then claim that He has been raised from the dead. If that happens, then we would have been better off just leaving Him alive.Pilate:You have a guard. Go and secure the grave.So they went to the tomb, sealed the stone in its mouth, and left the guard to keep watch.
(Matthew 27:62-66)Response in PrayerO Father, when death closes in on those whom I love and who are Jesus’ disciples, please help Me believe! Help Me believe, O LORD, that the power that was present to bring life to Jesus’ dead body will come with grace and power to raise those I love. The distance between burial and resurrection seems like a long wait from our perspective on earth. So during the long wait till reunion with those of us who live on this side of the grave, I ask for faith to believe that the resurrection is coming. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
'Better Off Just Leaving Him Alive'
Source: Passion for Praise