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The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate

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Matthew 27:62. And the next day. In this narrative Matthew did not so much intend to show with what determined rage the scribes and priests pursued Christ, as to exhibit to us, as in a mirror, the amazing providence of God in proving the resurrection of his Son. Cunning men, practiced at least in fraud and treachery, plot among themselves, and contrive a method by which they may extinguish the memory of a dead man; for they see that they have gained nothing, if they do not destroy the certainty of the resurrection. But while they are attempting to do this, they appear rather as if they had expressly intended to bring it forth to the light, that it might be known. The resurrection of Christ would undoubtedly have been less manifest, or, at least, they would have had more plausible grounds for denying it, if they had not taken pains to station witnesses at the sepulcher. We see then how the Lord not only disappointeth the crafty, (Job 5:12,) but employs even their own schemes as snares for holding them fast, that he may draw and compel them to render obedience to him. The enemies of Christ were indeed unworthy of having his resurrection made known to them; but it was proper that their insolence should be exposed, and every occasion of slander taken away from them, and that even their consciences should be convinced, so that they might not be held excusable for ignorance. Yet let us observe that God, as if he had hired them for the purpose, employed their services for rendering the glory of Christ more illustrious, because no plausible ground for lying, in order to deny it, was left to them when they found the grave empty; not that they desisted from their wicked rage, but with all persons of correct and sober judgment it was a sufficient testimony that Christ was risen, since his body, which had been placed in a grave, and protected by guards who surrounded it on all sides, was not to be found.