The next day...
" at the close of the first day of the Passover ceremonies - the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, and told him, "Sir, that liar once said, 'After three days I will come back to life again.' So we request an order from you sealing the tomb until the third day, to prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body, and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens we'll be worse off than we were at first."
"Use your own Temple police," Pilate told them. "They can guard it safely enough."
So they sealed the stone and posted guards to protect it from intrusion. (Matthew 27:62-66)
The liars called Jesus a liar... imagine that! They accused Jesus of being precisely what they were. If Jesus was such a liar why watch the tomb? He was dead. You killed Him, remember? They wanted to guard the tomb because on some level these conniving, underhanded, self righteous religious leaders and Pharisees knew Jesus was - still IS - the only Truth, just like He said. They knew they were wrong and still they persecuted Him, spit on Him, mocked Him, tried a few times to get rid of Him prematurely, and ultimately succeeded at the cross. And there they were, thinking they were the cat's whiskers and calling the shots when all they really were, was dirty cups.
"Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders - hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean." (Matthew 23:25)
I noted they only wanted to seal the tomb until the third day. Jesus clearly said that He would rise on the third day, so yes, maybe (during the time up to Jesus resurrection) they would have prevented the body from being stolen but Jesus body wasn't going anywhere otherwise anyway. The third day - the day on which they were removing the seal and the guards - is when the real action was going to take place - the resurrection. By then they would have removed the guard and Jesus would have no problem whatsoever getting out. On the surface they might have appeared smart but they were actually quite foolish. It wouldn't have mattered if they kept the tomb sealed till the end of days, no seal, rock or guard could keep Jesus in the grave.
Jesus knew exactly who and what the Pharisees were and while they thought they were calling the shots, God was using them like chess pieces on a board to execute His ultimate plan of salvation. They weren't calling the shots. God was. And He didn't make these men wicked in order to do so. They already chose to be that for themselves. He used their wickedness to fulfill His purpose.
I think the only way Jesus could endure what was done to Him was understanding the bigger picture. He wasn't killed by surprise. He wasn't caught off guard by the underhanded plans of wicked men. Jesus knew the purpose of His being born was so He would die for the sins of a lost and broken world. He knew that His blood would pay the ransom and reunite a sinful people to a holy God. He was obedient unto death. (Philippians 2:8) I don't imagine for a single moment that it was any easier just because He knew - that's why it is called a sacrifice.
And then he rose from the dead on the third day - just like He said He would. It proved who was really lying and so, egg on their face and all, the liars lied some more...
"As the women were on the way into the city, some of the Temple police who had been guarding the tomb went to the chief priests and told them what had happened. A meeting of all the Jewish leaders was called, and it was decided to bribe the police to say they had all been asleep when Jesus' disciples came during the night and stole His body.
"If the governor hears about it," the Council promised, "we'll stand up for you and everything will be all right."
So the police accepted the bribe and said what they were told to. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and is still believed by them to this very day." (Matthew 28:11-15)
Talk about corruption and bribery. Apparently it is nothing new. Jesus had first hand experience so He understands very well when we go through similar experiences.
Sometimes when I look around me at all the deceit, corruption, violence and destruction going on in our world I feel anger rise in my heart. Then I read these passages and I'm reminded that it has been happening for decades. The core of it all is not the times we live in, but the condition of the sinful human heart. Whenever I find myself feeling alone for standing up for what I believe is right, I'm reminded that I'm not alone. Even Jesus - the Son of God, creator of the universe - encountered the same things during His time on earth. His secret weapon was keeping His focus on His Father, staying focused on the mission and sticking to the plan. Jesus didn't pretend like problems weren't there, and wrong things were not done by wicked people. He just didn't allow it to deter Him from pursuing the real reason He was here: for the glory of the Father.
"We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. (Romans 8:28 AMP)
Jesus knew - and so must we - God never promised the "all things" would be good, but He promised that it would end good!
It did. (It will)