Even the Pharisees began to have second thoughts. They had noticed the supernatural events surrounding Jesus’ death (the rending of the curtain, the uncanny darkness in the middle of the afternoon, the opened graves, etc). They kept thinking about how Jesus said He would be killed at their hands, only to rise triumphant on the third day. They simply could not shake off the feeling that something greater was at work.
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
(Matthew 27:62-66, ESV)
It’s amusing to note the irony in this exchange. Even as the Pharisees wondered whether Jesus truly was the Messiah, they still felt that they could thwart His efforts by sealing off the tomb with human guards. Granted, they voiced that they were merely trying to keep this “fraud” from going any further at the hands of Jesus’ disciples. But it does seem quite odd that they would even bother, since they were so convinced before that Jesus was a blasphemous impostor.
Ultimately, nothing can thwart God’s sovereign plan for His people. Jesus died for the sole reason of rescuing us from our messy sin, and making us alive together in Him. No matter how hard the Pharisees tried to stop the resurrection, they were no match against the awesome glory and majesty of God.
Christianity would make no sense if Jesus stayed in that grave. If God could be killed, well then to heck with religion, quite literally. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again, thereby stopping sin in its tracks, taking our side in God’s courtroom of justice and mercy, and saying, “Yes, they deserve eternal hell for their sins. But I’ve taken that punishment for them. They’re with me.”
Even when it feels like all hope is lost on Friday, and even when it feels like God’s not doing anything on Saturday, we know Sunday is coming, and oh what a wonderful hope that is.