For Jesus’ opponents, something still wasn’t right! There was an uneasy feeling in the air that everyone could sense. The Jesus who some claimed was God’s Christ had been put to death and buried in a tomb. That should’ve been the end of him! Yet none of that brought any feelings of closure to the religious authorities. To increase their confidence level, they felt some extra measures were needed to prevent any potential funny business like someone stealing the body and then proclaiming Jesus had risen.
Mark 15:42 tells us Jesus was buried on a Friday evening, just before the Sabbath (Saturday). There was a small window of time where the tomb was left unguarded from Friday evening (when He was buried) until Saturday when the authorities asked for soldiers to be stationed around the clock to guard Jesus’ remains. (see Matthew 27:62-66)
Some might be too quick to point out it was in these few unguarded hours that someone could’ve stolen the body of Jesus before the soldiers were stationed at the tomb. But is there any credibility to this theory? The answer is none whatsoever! And here’s why…
Pontius Pilate said to the authorities, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. (Matthew 27:65-66)
In Bible times, a “seal” was clay that was imprinted with an image from a high official or king’s stamp or ring. (Similar to official documents sealed with ink or Medallion stamps today.) This seal did two things. First, it carried the full weight of Roman authority no one dare question. (Tampering with a Roman seal was punishable by death.) Second, the seal was only put on something to certify the authenticity of the contents. When you seal a document, you first read through it to make sure nothing was altered at the last moment.
This was what was done with Jesus’ tomb. Before putting the seal on, they opened the tomb to ensure the contents (His body) were secure and that nothing had changed. This little detail is so crucial because it lets us know there was no way possible Jesus’ body was taken as this was verified by 1st century officials.
By doing this, we could say it “sealed the deal” that Jesus’ resurrection was completely authentic and unquestionable! Praise the Lord!