Matthew 27:61-66

Mat 27:61 (KJB)
And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the wife of Cleopas was sitting opposite of the grave and had seen how Joseph had prepared the body of Jesus for burial. They not only witnessed His death but they also witnessed His burial and knew the location of the tomb. This is important because when Sunday came around they went to the right tomb where Jesus was laid and no one could accuse them of going to the wrong tomb. (Luke 23:55 KJV) And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.  They even paid close attention as to how the body was placed in the tomb. Basically, they knew all the details of the location and the burial.

Mat 27:62 (KJB)
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Then the next day, which was the sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate. They were still showing such hatred for Jesus that they even violated the sabbath. This is something they wanted to accuse Jesus of and here they are showing disregard of the sabbath themselves. These two groups were normally at odds with each other but here they were united in their hatred for Jesus. It was the same situation when Pilate and Herod had become friends in their attempt to destroy Jesus. (Luke 23:12 KJV) And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. The old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes into play.

Mat 27:63 (KJB)
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Notice how humbly and respectful they approach Pilate by saying “sir.“ Where was their gentleness and dignity the day before? They had remembered something which was very important. They remembered the words of Jesus who stated that after He is put to death, He will rise from the dead on the third day. They had forgotten about this and now they wanted to guard against possibility of rumors. It is interesting that the enemies of Jesus had taken His promise of a third day resurrection as a possible reality when the disciples continually heard that teaching and prophecy and seemed to remain totally clueless about it.

Mat 27:64 (KJB)
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

This groups had asked Pilate to make sure the grave was secure because if the disciples come by night and steal the body, they can then claim that He rose from the dead. In the previous verse they called Jesus a deceiver because they wanted to get the ear of Pilate so they would get their way once again. They feared that if the people believed that Jesus rose from the grave and that the grave He was put in was empty, then that would cause a great problem for them because then how could they explain to the people they crucified the Son of God who stated that he was going to rise from the dead the third day. It would probably cause a great political problem for Pilate who would then have to face another possible riot. If Jesus rose from the dead, He would exercise more influence than He did during His whole lifetime of ministry and this is what the chief priests and Pharisees feared.

Mat 27:65 (KJB)
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

The chief priests who were the Sadducees did not believe in nor did they expect Jesus to rise from the dead because they disbelieved in resurrection. Nevertheless, they feared that if the disciple stole the body, the claim of a resurrection would be just as bad. There were still those living who remembered when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. So Pilate had granted their request and he sent his own soldiers, those who guarded the palace where he was staying. He did not fear any reprisal because he knew of the custom of the sabbath and all would be quiet. He then tells them to make the grave as sure or secure as you can. There was probably a little sarcasm in that statement because Pilate did not believe in any resurrection either.

Mat 27:66 (KJB)
So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees had now gone with the soldiers to the site of the sepulchre. The Pharisees had continued to violate the sabbath by continuing to do work. They had come to the tomb and made the sepulchre very secure and after they did that they had placed a seal on it. The only way that seal could have been broken was for the stone to be moved away and I am sure on that seal was either the official seal of Pilate or of the temple. Either way it was to dissuade anyone from trying to enter in. (Dan 6:17 KJV) And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Just like the seal which was set on the lion’s den, it was so on the tomb of Jesus. Once they had set the watch, they had left the area and went back to their homes. I wonder if they admitted to anyone that they severely violated the sabbath.