“Glad that business is over, Lucius said as he tapped the base of his
spear against the huge stone in front of the tomb.
Justin nodded in agreement. I just hope it doesn’t cause a revolt or
something, he said quietly so the other guards stationed nearby wouldn’t
Nah, Lucius replied. Did you see how many Jews were at the crucifixion?
Yet only a handful of them wept. Most were screaming, Crucify him! Crucify
him!’ I don’t think the Jews are going to cause any trouble over this.
Their leaders were the ones who brought him to Pontius Pilate to be
crucified, after all.
Then why are we here? asked Justin. Why have this many soldiers guarding
the sealed tomb of a man crucified as a criminal by his own people? It
makes no sense.
Lucius shrugged. Some of the Jewish leaders are afraid his followers will
try to steal the bodysomething about a prophecy he made about rising from
the dead. But trust me, no one’s getting through this. Lucius patted the
heavy stone, then nodded toward the other soldiers. Or us. Anyway, they
say his followers scattered when he was arrested. Why would they risk it
all now for someone who’s already dead?
Justin let out a breath. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Even though standing guard
outside a tomb still required his full attentionevery Roman soldier knew
that failing to fulfill his duty meant pain of deathhe could still think
of it as a break. No breaking up fights in the street or kicking beggars
out of sight so prominent Romans didn’t have to look at them as they passed
by. He could breathe the fresh air and listen to the breeze whispering
through the trees
Justin’s thoughts were interrupted as heat and light seared through every
part of him. A scraping roar filled his ears, and he was knocked to his
knees as the earth shook. He could hear the faint screams of the soldiers
around him but couldn’t open his eyes in the blinding light. All he could
do was throw his arms over his head until it was over.
Finally, Justin felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Lucius.
What happened? Justin asked.
I don’t know, said Lucius. He pointed toward the tomb. But we’ve got a
Justin turned and gasped. The huge stone had been rolled away from the
tomb’s entrance. They walked inside and stopped dead. Justin saw Lucius’s
face pale to the color of ash. He’s gone. Justin’s voice trembled as they
both stared at the empty tomb. Courtney Lasater
Today’s fictional story is based on the true events of Easter morning.
Read Matthew 27:57-66 and 28:1-6. What do you think it would have been like
to be one of the Roman soldiers standing guard outside of the tomb when the
angel rolled the stone away?
What sticks out to you most, either in today’s story or in the Bible
passages it’s based on?
Why is it important that Jesus literally rose from the dead? How might
knowing the precautions taken by the Roman government, so that no one could
steal Jesus’s body, give us confidence that Jesus’s resurrection really did
He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place
where he lay. Matthew 28:6 (CSB)
Matthew 17:22-Matthew 17:23; Matthew 27:57-Matthew 27:66; Matthew 28:1-Matthew 28:6