Wednesday To Saturday
by Wayne Blank
"He is not here; for He has risen, as He said"
The chief priests and Pharisees knew who Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be, and of His statement that He would rise from the dead after 3 days and 3 nights. So, they went to Pontius Pilate and convinced him that Jesus' disciples were about to steal Jesus' body from the Tomb. Pilate then ordered that they officially seal (see Seals) the tomb themselves, to which Pilate also ordered a Roman military guard added. No one could have stolen the body.
"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 again.' Therefore order the sepulchre 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."
When Mary and Mary of Magdala went to the Tomb in the early morning of the first day of the week ("Sunday"), although the Tomb was still closed and sealed, Christ was not there; He had already risen from the dead just before sunset on the afternoon before and passed through the solid stone of the sealed Tomb (see the Fact Finder question below). An earthquake (an aftershock of the larger earthquake that occurred a little over 3 days before, at the moment of Christ's death, i.e. Matthew 27:51) and an angel opened the Tomb that morning, not to let Christ out, not to let people in to steal His dead body, but to let people in to see that Christ was already gone:
"Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre.
The women weren't the only people to witness that the Tomb was already empty when it was opened. The Roman military guards also plainly saw it. When they thereafter reported to their superiors that the resurrection really happened, the official coverup began. The soldiers were given a large bribe to begin spreading the lie that Jesus' body was stolen while they were all asleep on guard duty (an extremely serious offense for any soldier, then or now; if true, those Roman troopers would not have been around to proclaim their military incompetence, they would have been in a military prison for dereliction of duty, or even executed, as was done to the soldiers who later slept through Peter's escape from prison, i.e. Acts 12:18-19).
"While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.
Fact Finder: On what day of the week was Christ truly crucified? On what day of the week was Christ truly resurrected?