April 24, 2019·Deborah Clark
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
I love Easter. I love that we get to celebrate all Jesus did on the Cross, and I love that the story doesn’t end on the Cross. Jesus’ body was taken down and put in a tomb. But the story doesn’t end there either. Jesus is no longer in the tomb.
We recently traveled to Israel, and while I don’t know that the tomb we visited is THE tomb, it was certainly a great example of what the tomb may have been like… the hole cut out of the rock and a large stone placed in front of it.
In this week’s Pause Bible New Testament reading, we see the story leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. And while Jesus’ death and resurrection had been foretold, no one really knew or understood all that would unfold during that week.
However, the religious leaders did hear Jesus say, “After three days, I will rise again.” They were afraid Jesus’ disciples would come and steal the body in the night and then claim He was no longer dead.
Pilate’s answer to this was to post a guard and put a seal on the stone of the tomb. As I read that, I almost laughed out loud. It seemed like such a feeble attempt to stop what was about to happen. I thought, “Isn’t that just like the enemy to think he can stop us with a guard or a seal?”
And I realize that things haven’t changed much. God still has an amazing plan for life and freedom. God still has an amazing plan for YOUR life. And the enemy is still running around posting guards and putting up seals, trying to hold back the power of God. But we all know that in the end, the enemy fails, Jesus is victorious, and the tomb is empty! God’s power cannot be stopped.
As we’ve taken time to stop and remember all Jesus has done, take a moment to realize that the enemy will always come to put up road blocks… he will post a guard, put up a seal. Remember, he comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus comes to bring life. Whatever road blocks are currently in your way, remember that God is bigger. God is God, and His plans will succeed. And no plan that the religious leaders or Pilate made, no guard, and no seal could keep Jesus in the grave! He is Risen! Indeed! And no plans of the enemy can stop God from doing what He has purposed to do in your life today. Indeed!
Pastor Deborah Clark