The day after Christ’s burial, His enemies, still obsessed with Him, gathered together and went to Pilate to request a favor.  It is very noteworthy here that they well remembered that Christ had prophesied He would rise from the dead after three days, when the Lord’s own disciples seem to have forgotten!  As willing agents of Satan, they were ready to do anything to prevent any further mischief from the enemy they had finally gotten crucified.  While Christ’s disciples cowered in fear, probably ready to scatter and return to their former occupations, the chief priests and Pharisees desired an armed guard to prevent that band from spiriting away the body of Jesus out of the tomb!  These wicked men sought to prevent the very thing the Saviour had predicted, and which would shortly come to pass.  Not all the care and power of the enemies of God can prevent Him from working His sovereign will, particularly in matters which concern the glory of His Son, and the salvation of those sinners chosen to eternal life.

Pilate was willing to acquiesce in the request, fearful of risking any further brouhaha.  He had had acted the part of the consummate politician all along, with the single exception of refusing to remove the sign from the top of the cross which proclaimed Jesus the King of the Jews.  Though he had been unwilling to condemn Jesus, he had done so to deter political agitation.  Now that the deed has been done, he is most agreeable to avoiding any further complications which might arise from the prophet of Nazareth.  He tells them that they have a guard, and orders them to make the tomb as secure as they can until the three days be past.  This the chief priests and Pharisees hastened to do, though they need not have wasted much energy, as Christ’s disciples were in no mind at all to do anything but hide and stay out of sight.

There is some dispute among commentators and historians as to whether this guard was a Roman guard, or whether Pilate’s words “ye have a watch” was a reminder that they had their own temple guard which they could use.  Regardless, the men assigned to watch the tomb were trained warriors, who should easily have been more than a match for a motley collection of fishermen, tax collectors, and other common men, no matter how desperate they might be.  But they were no match at all for the splendid power of God, which would soon be exerted in its most matchless glory by resurrecting the body of Jesus out from among the dead.