WE GUARDED THE TOMB OF JESUS (Mt.27:62-66; 28:11-15).
We were Roman soldiers and the Governor’s bodyguards. Governor Pilate, in person, ordered us to take charge of guarding a tomb where the Jews had buried the Prophet Jesus. It was not what we expected to do during this time when the Jews celebrated some event quietly and orderly. The dead man we were to guard was Jesus. The Jews were superstitious to start with. Many believed that they would come back from the dead and live again. This Man had made such a prediction; but, when His death and an earthquake took place at the same time, they worried even more. And when their Temple Curtain was torn, they were even more afraid what Jesus or His followers might do. We guards were to guard against any foul play that would cause any embarrassment to the Jewish leaders. We were to report, to them, anything that may take place at the tomb.
The first two days and nights were uneventful. It was Sunday morning, before dawn, and we were about to be relieved of our duty when things began to happen. The big rock, that was in front of the tomb and we happen to sit on, began to move. The earth also shook. It frightened us severely when we could not see who was doing it. There was no one else but us. We became horrified when no one came out of the tomb and, from where we were, there was no one in it. What had happened to the dead Man? He was not there any more. There was a power at work that we had never experienced before. It was all around us and we could not see it. There was no longer any doubt that this Man, Jesus, was not human. Humans just do not just disappear into thin air. We ran to the Jewish leaders, and informed them that the dead Jesus got up, and left on His own. No humans assisted or took Him. He had to have help from heaven.
The leaders turned pale at our report. It was not at all what they had expected. The Chief of the leaders belonged to a group that did not believe that the dead could come back. The disappearance of Jesus, their enemy, began to hunt them. I could see fear in their eyes. After a lengthy silence and murmuring, they asked us whether we had told anyone else about the disappearance of Jesus. Yes, we had shared it with the other guards. It was a lie, because we wanted our companions in on their scheme and to protect ourselves from being silenced for good. That troubled them even more. Now, these frightened men began to bargain how to silence us. We did not come cheap. They paid us handsomely for a lie they concocted. We were to tell everyone that Jesus’ followers had come at night, removed the rock, and took the body of Jesus with them. We could not say that we were sleeping on duty, for it would have meant punishment by death. That is what these evil men may have wanted. So, we agreed that we were simply overpowered by these rebels that followed Jesus.
We did spread the false rumor for a time. Sooner than we expected, people began to point their fingers at us and called us, “liars.” We were bearing false witness against Jesus of whom we knew nothing. We were now compared to the two liars that witnessed against Jesus, before He was sentenced to death. Like them, we realized that we, too, had to leave the territory. It was no longer safe for us being seen in public. The followers that believed Jesus was alive grew like mushrooms and we became scared of these fanatics. The Governor learned of our predicament and granted our petition to be transfer elsewhere. To our dismay, we could not leave our lies behind. They hunted us to end of our lives; and if the dead rise, then into eternity.