The Cover Up
“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. Matthew 27:65-66
Having released a murderer and the son of a rabbi, they killed the Son of God.
Now the task falls to us, the Roman guard, to secure the tomb. The Jews who opposed him fear the dead man’s disciples might sneak into the tomb and steal his body. Let them try. I have my orders. I know my duty.
But why steal his body? What purpose would that serve? Oh I know the deceased spoke of rising from the dead. I am not a fresh recruit new to Jerusalem. I have heard how this man healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. But now heis dead. Will stealing his body and promoting a lie gain his followers anything but more death? Son of God . . . King of the Jews. The deceased boasted he could rebuild the temple in three days. Is he mightier than my lord, Caesar? I think not. There, now. We have placed the mark of Pilate on the stone. The entrance is sealed.
Growing dark now. I take my position along with the others. Feet apart, arms folded across my chest. We’re an imposing sight, the four of us, standing in front of the tomb. I hear the rest of our guard patrolling the grounds, watching for suspicious activity; warning mourners to hurry along and vacate the premise. With the heft of my sword resting against the side of my calf, I stand at my post ready to defend the honor of Rome.
“Women appeared. They asked about the body. I told them as I have told you. Something like an earthquake shook the ground. I fell to my knees and when I tried to stand, I found the stone removed. A man—no more than a man—an angel, stood before the entrance. His brilliance burned my eyes. The rest of my unit? They scattered. I might have too, but I could not stand. A force like a large hand held me down until all I could do was weep. Yes, in shame, but not for failing to secure the tomb. For other things. Acts I dare not speak of.”
I glance down at the pouch of coins tossed at my feet.
“You want me to lie? To say this man’s disciples came during the night and stole him away while I was sleeping? But I just told you… Very well, I will do as you say, if only to spare my life and that of the others in my unit. But I know what I saw. This man’s followers did not take him, nor were we bribed, except for now. Promote this lie if you wish, but I know what I saw.”
“The dead man is not.”