They Made The Sepulcher Sure . . .
How Presumptuous! Mt 27:66
What folly, that men should think that they could entomb and hold fast the Son of God! Repeatedly during the Lord’s public ministry, the Jewish leadership kept demanding that He give them a sign (Mt. 12:38; 16:1; Lk. 11:29). They wanted something miraculous – something supernatural – something tangible and visible – something that would substantiate what they viewed as His revolutionary teaching and lifestyle. They wanted to know by what right, in whose name, with what credentials, through what power He was teaching contrary to the rabbis and scribes. He repeatedly responded to their demand for a sign by saying,”. . . There shall no sign be given . . . ” (Mk. 8:12; Lk 11:29).
But the Jewish leadership was persistent they continued to demand a sign (Jn. 2:18; 6:30).
Their relentless pressing led the Lord to tell them that it was an adulterous generation that “seeketh after a sign” (Mt 12:39; 16:4). His point was clear, concise and condemning. Had they been true to Moses and the prophets of Israel, they would have known by what right, in whose name, with what credentials and through what power He was ministering. The leadership of Israel had prostituted itself by substituting the traditions of men for the truth of God. They were unfaithful to their heritage – they had committed spiritual adultery.
But still they persisted in demanding a sign. Finally the Lord promised one sign. He said, “. . . Destroy this temple [speaking of His own body], and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:19).
He gave the very same sign, through different imagery, in response to their repeated request. He said, “. . . as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40). Jesus was declaring that the sign to authenticate everything He had said and done in life was this – Kill me, and on the third day I will rise from the grave (Mt. 27:64). In other words, the Lord made His resurrection the authenticating sign to substantiate the genuineness of His message in life and His sacrifice in death. If Jesus did not rise from the sepulcher, His claims would be false, His death in vain. If He did – then He was who He claimed to be – He could atone for sin and had power to bestow eternal life (Rom. 1:4).
The omnipotent God, who planned that the resurrection of His Son be the hinge by which death opens up into life, could not be thwarted by soldiers standing guard or a stone rolled into place to seal His tomb.
In the end, the stone would be rolled away by an angel of God – not so much to let Jesus out as to let the world in. No force in the universe – neither fallen angels nor unregenerate men – could frustrate God’s plan. How utterly presumptuous, therefore, that men should think that they could MAKE “THE SEPULCHER SURE” (Mt. 27:64, 66).