“While the women were on the way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to their very day.” Matthew 28:11-15.
All the variables just don’t compute with this story. It was a devious plan that had no merit of truth to weave into its unfolding. The chief priests concocted a conspiracy theory at the grandest level. These soldiers who went to report about this empty tomb were most probably Roman guards. They were part of a 16 man unit. Each member was responsible for 6 square feet of space. They were divided into four shifts that changed every three hours. The changing shifts made sure the tomb was guarded 24 hours a day ensuring the soldiers were wide awake and attentive at their posts. They served under very strict guidelines. They could not sit or lean against anything, and by no means could they fall asleep. They would have been beaten and burned alive. The entire 16 man unit would have been executed for only one man falling to sleep while on duty.
Three days before, this Roman military unit had sealed the tomb of Jesus. Before putting the Roman seal across the tomb, the guards would have gone in to inspect the grave site making sure the body of Jesus was in its place. They would have made sure of His death. Seeing that there was no breath or heartbeat in the body, the unit rolled a large stone downhill and placed the Roman seal across the stone. A rope was stretched across this mammoth stone and the Roman imperial insignia imprinted on a moldable clay substance was attached at both sides of the massive stone covering. This seal authenticated that the power and authority of Rome had sealed this tomb and that all contents inside had been inspected and were in order. As long as the seal was intact, everything in this tomb was secure. The penalty for breaking this seal was death and this execution would be anything but pretty.
Let’s talk about the stone. It was a stone big enough to seal the entrance of this tomb and was probably about 4′ to 6′ in diameter. It could have weighed somewhere between 2000-4000 pounds. It was set inside a groove in front of the entrance. It would have taken at least 2 soldiers to roll it downhill in front of the entrance. To remove the stone would have taken many more mighty soldiers. The stone would have had to been rolled up the groove at an incline. To keep the stone from falling away from the entrance, it was sandwiched between the tomb entrance and a stone wall that stood in front of the tomb entrance.
So yeah I’m not buying the chief priests fabrication. The sum of money these soldiers received had to have been a massive amount. The bribe amount obscured the penalty of a horrible execution from their thought process. First off, no soldier would have fallen asleep. Second of all no one could have snuck up on them even if they had been asleeep. Imagine the noise these grave robbers would have made. It would have taken many large stout strong men to roll that 2000 pound stone uphill away from the entrance. It just doesn’t compute for me. I truly wonder the fate of these guards. They knew they were in life ending trouble. I guess they thought, “Grab the money and spend it because my days on this earth are short.”
It was the event that changed world history. The resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior is the very foundation stone of the Christian faith. He beat death, hell and the grave and paved a path back to our Creator. Many have set out to disclaim the fact and the events of that first Easter morning. The first lie circulated had been birthed behind closed doors in a secretive Temple meeting. The chief priests conspired with other deviant elders and invented an absurd plan to discredit these factual events that cannot be explained away by mere human thinking. It does take faith to believe the unbelievable power of Resurrection Sunday, but it also takes reasoning out and mere common sense. No way did that first fabricated story of the chief priests hold any validity at all.
I just caution all people, don’t believe the lies circulated. Jesus did rise from the grave. He gave us very real and tangible evidence. He left behind the folded grave clothes. Roman soldiers withnessed that the seal of Rome had been broken from the entrance of the tomb. Listen carefully as Eternity calls to you from the your very own heart. Eternity and the truth of Jesus’ Victory is planted deep inside every human heart. Open your ears and listen to Truth rising.