The Guards at Jesus’ Tomb


A Day Dawns                  W. Zeitler


Order of Chivalry: Justice    W. Zeitler

I‘m still working through the Gospel of Nicodemus, a 4th century account of Jesus’ death and resurrection that didn’t make the cut for the official New Testament. One characteristic of this account is that it’s significantly more detailed than the official one. Even if the extra details aren’t ‘historical’ I still find them very interesting.

This last week I’m at the passage where Joseph of Arimathea claims Jesus’ body and places it in his own tomb. The Gospel of Nicodemus adds the extra detail that the Jewish leaders are so annoyed with Joseph for doing this that they want to kill him. But being the Sabbath they can’t, so they lock him up in a house “with no windows” and place a guard until Monday. Monday morning they open the door, and Joseph is gone. (We find out later that You Know Who is responsible for Joseph’s miraculous escape.) Meanwhile, the guards from Jesus’ tomb arrive and explain to the Jewish leaders…

…how there had been a great earthquake; and (how) “we saw an angel coming down from heaven, and he rolled away the stone from the mouth of the tomb, and sat upon it; and he shone like snow, and like lightning. And we, very much afraid, lay like dead men; and we heard the voice of the angel saying to the women who remained beside the tomb, ‘Be not afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead, and is in Galilee.’”

The Jewish leaders give the guards from Jesus’ tomb a bad time about doing a bad job of fulfilling their duties. The guards reply:

“We have heard that you have locked up the man that requested the body of Jesus, sealing the door; and opening (it) you did not find him. Give us the man whom you were guarding, and we shall give you Jesus.” The Jews say: “Joseph has gone away to his city.” The men of the guard say to the Jews: “And Jesus has risen, as we heard from the angel, and is in Galilee.”

The Jewish leaders had nothing to say to THAT!