The Scriptorium

Sealed

But not for long. Matthew 27.62-66

Matthew 27: Crucified (6)

Pray Psalm 22.23, 24.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.

Sing Psalm 22.23-25.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Read Matthew 27.-1-66; meditate on verses 62-66.

Prepare.
1. Why did the religious leaders want to guard the tomb?

2. How did they regard the whole life and ministry of Jesus?

Meditate.
The religious leaders of Israel dismissed the entire ministry of Jesus as a “deception” (v. 64). In a sense, they were correct. Not that Jesus was deceiving anybody. He was always upfront and public in His claims, teaching, and good works. He was clear about His provenance and mission, and He never held back from explaining that He was the Son of God.

The source of Israel’s deception was the same as continues to deceive people today. Jesus nailed it in John 8. 44: “You are of yourfather the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” He would continue to deceive them following the resurrection, and he is deceiving multitudes yet today.

The religious leaders feared that Jesus’ disciples might be in on this “deception”, and that they would come “by night” and steal Jesus’ body, then declare Him to be risen from the dead (vv. 62, 63). Clearly, they understood that Jesus had made the claim of His rising (v. 64). So they thought a Roman guard might keep the tomb secure, and that would be the end of that.

Pilate, who sounds like he’s had enough of these people, tells them to use their private guard, which they did (vv. 65, 66). So the tomb is closed and sealed – so that it would be possible to know if it had been opened – and it looks like everything is set.

And, indeed, it is.

Reflect.
1. Why did the religious leaders consider Jesus a “deceiver”?

2. How are people today yet deceived? What is the antidote to their being deceived?

3. How do people today shield themselves from having to consider the fact of Jesus’ resurrection?

Since the sepulcher was sealed, there could be no funny business. So then the proof of his resurrection has become incontrovertible by what they themselves have put forward. For because the tomb was sealed, there was no deceitfulness at work. But if there was no sleight of hand and the sepulcher was found empty, it is clear that he has risen, plainly and incontrovertibly. Do you see how even against their will his enemies contend for the proof of the truth?
John Chrysostom (344-407.), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 89.1

Live in and through me today, Lord Jesus, so that…

Pray Psalm 22.26-28.
Jesus has defeated death, and we are the heirs of eternal life. Give thanks and praise, then go forth seeking the Kingdom of God.

Sing Psalm 22.26-28.
Psalm 22.26-28 (Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
Then all the poor shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
all those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King!  His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore