Easter Sunday celebrations are past, the world is back to normal . . . whatever normal is these days. But, I keep thinking about that morning long ago, on the third day since Jesus dead body was put away in a small, ‘carved into a rock’ tomb. Many people believed he was who he claimed to be. But, even Jesus’ closest friends were shaken by his savage death. It was a death confirmed by the crucifixion-experienced Roman soldiers, before they allowed his body to be taken from the cross.
IF he would “stay dead,” the chief priests who arranged his death were safe from loss of control. Their fear came from all he did during his life. In the dark areas of their hearts, they knew he fulfilled all the prophecies that were given over generations about the coming Messiah. Jesus’ body had to be secured, to prove he was and continued to be dead. To keep their victory, they had to guarantee no plots to steal the body would succeed. Jesus must stay dead for them to be justified.
So, they retained the worst of the worst – Roman battle-scarred warriors who never flinched at imposing cruelty and death to others. Their hired task was to stand guard at the entrance to the tomb donated by Joseph – a rabbi who didn’t agree with the chief priests arrangement of Jesus’ death. These soldier-guards assured the chief priests that Jesus would stay dead.
Three days duty standing guard over a dead body. What were those hardened soldiers thinking? Were they angry, feeling demeaned, bored . . . who knows? Nevertheless, they stood vigilant as assigned. It all changed at the dawn of their third day of duty.
Just imagine that morning . . . when the sun was rising over the hills of Jerusalem . . . Dead quiet, occasional birds welcoming the day, a slight breeze stirring the dust and bushes. Then, WHAM!! A blast that knocked those strong men off their feet. What an burst it was. Can you imagine the energy it took to knock those Roman soldiers temporarily unconscious? The several feet high, several feet thick stone covering the tomb entrance that required a team of men to close was instantly blasted away. A nuclear level of light knocked them all out. When they ‘came to,’ imagine their shock!
A Roman soldier could be beaten, or killed, for dereliction of duty. These harsh soldiers were terrified. I am sure there must have been an intense discussion about what to do next . . . especially when they discovered his body was gone! Duty finally overtook and they reported to those who hired them. Given promises of protection against retribution for their failure of duty, and given money to sweeten the pot, they satisfied their fears and opted for protection over Truth and lied about what happened.
When the drama of the explosion settled somewhat, at first just a few, soon many people talked to Jesus, ate with him and even touched his body scars. They all saw him alive and well, post explosion!! In a court of law, so many encounters proves the case. There were too many witnesses for the truth to be suppressed. JESUS IS ALIVE!
Keep looking up,
© April 5, 2018