Guards at Jesus' Tomb

Roman guards at Jesus' tomb

Guards at Jesus' Tomb
John 20:18 (A) Mary Magdalene

John 20:18 (B) Guards at Jesus' Tomb

John 20:18 (C) Road to Emmaus


What happened to the Roman guards at Jesus' tomb who "shook for fear ... and became like dead men" (Matthew 28:4) at seeing the angel?
" 11 ... Some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure." 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day" (Matthew 28:11-15).

What is amazing about the chief priests' actions?
Upon being informed by the Roman guards of what happened at Jesus' tomb, they should have realized that Jesus indeed had risen from the dead as He had prophesied. Since that proves Jesus' deity (see Resurrection of Jesus), they should have been wailing in repentance for what they had done against God and begging Him for forgiveness and mercy, not bribing the Roman guards to try to cover up what happened at the tomb.

Why did the Roman guards at the tomb go along with their plot?
"The large sum" (Matthew 28:12) of the bribe money must have been a factor but the Roman guards may have felt that they had no other choice. They had failed to defend the Roman seal place on Jesus' tomb, so Pontius Pilate, the Roman "governor" (Matthew 28:14) had the right to execute them if nobody intervened for them. That's why they had gone to the Jewish chief priests in the first place instead of to their own barracks, which was just next to the temple (see Praetorium).

How wise were the Roman guards' actions and decisions?
The one whose wrath they should have been worried about is God, whose angel had already so scared them that "shook for fear of him, and became like dead men" (Matthew 28:4). Instead of going to the chief priests to seek their help covering up their failure, they should have cried out in repentance to God and seek His forgiveness, as well as protection against Pontius Pilate.

When you sin against God, do you confess your sins directly to Him, repent, and seek His forgiveness, or do you try to hide from Him?