Passion Week Day 7: Holy Saturday, Jesus' tomb is sealed and guard posted
The Guard at the Tomb
We read in Matthew 27:62-65, that "62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 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.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard."
We see that a lot of precautions were taken by Jesus' ennemies to make sure he "never come back or pull another trick on them":
The precautions taken at the tomb consisted of three things - the large stone, the Roman seal, and the guard.
The Bible says a large stone was rolled in front of the tomb. This stone, not only sealed the tomb, it also would have made it difficult for someone to come right in and steal the body.
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away" Matthew 27: 59,60
The seal was sign of authentication that the tomb was occupied and the power and authority of the Emperor in Rome stood behind the seal. Anyone found breaking the Roman seal would suffer the punishment of an unpleasant death.
There is a question as to which one of the two groups was watching over it: the temple guard or the roman guard. The context seems to favor the Roman guard. The Roman guard was a sixteen-man unit that was governed by very strict rules. Each member was responsible for six square feet of space. The guard members could not sit down or lean against anything while they were on duty. If a guard member fell asleep, he was beaten and burned with his own clothes. But he was not the only one executed, the entire sixteen-man guard unit was executed if only one of the members fell asleep while on duty.