BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard” (Matthew 27:65-66 NKJV).
After the death of Jesus, Joseph Arimathea went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus for burial, and his request was granted. He wrapped Jesus’ body in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock, rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb, and departed.
The next day, the leading priests and Pharisees went to Pilate to request that the tomb be sealed until the third day in order to prevent Jesus’ disciples from coming to steal his body and then tell everyone that Jesus had come back to life because Jesus had said after three days he would be raised from the dead.
The leading priests and Pharisees argued that if that should happen, they would be worse off than they were at first. But they were kidding; the disciples of Jesus had no such plan of stealing his body. In fact, they were in hiding at this time after deserting Jesus following his arrest, subsequent trial, and execution. Only Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting nearby, witnessed the burial of Jesus by Joseph Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:39-42).
Matthew 27:66 tells us that that the tomb where Jesus was buried by Joseph Arimathea had a great stone across its entrance in line with the practice at that time just as it was done in the case of Lazarus. At Lazarus’ tomb, the Bible says, “Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone’” (John 11:38-39 NKJV).
Joseph and Nicodemus rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb of Jesus, not as an enemy but as a friend – they did so for the protection of his body which was a normal practice. Joseph, like the other disciples, never understood Jesus’ statement that he would resurrect not to talk of believing it (Luke 24:11, 21-24). That was why when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought to his tomb the spices they had bought to anoint Jesus – they were still expecting to see his dead body there; they were not expecting Jesus to have resurrected.
The religious leaders who conspired to kill Jesus were also living in the fear of what would happen to the body of Jesus. They didn’t believe that Jesus would truly resurrect; their fear was that his disciples would stage-manage it by stealing his body and lie that he had resurrected. Therefore, upon receiving permission from Pilate, they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it (Matthew 27:65-66).
The implication of sealing the stone
What does sealing the stone or sealing the tomb mean? The Greek word for sealing in Matthew 27:66 is sphragizo which means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation (literally or figuratively); by implication, to keep secret, to attest” A similar word in Aramaic, chatham, which means to seal, is used in Daniel 6:17: “Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed” (NKJV). In Daniel’s case, the King’s signet ring and the signets of his lords were used to seal the stone laid at the mouth of the lion’s den where Daniel was thrown.
The purpose of sealing the tomb was to make it secure. The implication of sealing the stone was that nobody could remove the stone without breaking the seals and only the king could authorize the breaking of the seal which apparently was done the next day to bring Daniel out of the den after it was confirmed that Daniel was still alive. It would have been a crime for anyone to remove the seal without the king’s authorization just as it is a crime today when a regulatory authority or an appropriate authority seals up a property putting its seal, stamp, or notice to that effect and an unauthorized person goes there to remove the seal and open the place. To seal, therefore, means to place an embargo.
The official seal of the Sanhedrin might have been used to seal the stone at the door of the tomb of Jesus and approval was needed before the stone could be rolled away. It would have been a crime for any unauthorized person to break the seal in order to gain entry into the tomb. There was no way anyone could have gained access to the tomb of Jesus without breaking the seal. But the angel of the Lord didn’t need permission before rolling away the stone and sitting on it; the great earthquake that accompanied the angel’s coming from heaven and rolling away the stone probably broke the seal! Matthew 28:1-4 says, “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint” (NLT). I love that! The angel of the Lord rolled away the stone and sat on it as if he was saying, “I have broken the seal; I have rolled away the stone; let me see who will challenge me.”
Why the angel rolled away the stone
Why did the angel roll away the stone and sat on it? The stone that was rolled away was not a barrier to Jesus coming out of the grave, so the angel couldn’t have rolled it away because of Jesus. I said so because after Jesus had risen from the grave, He could enter a room even with the doors closed as it is recorded in John 20:19, 26. I believe the angel rolled away the stone to demonstrate the indisputable, absolute power of God over the sealed stone or sealed tomb, the guards and indeed Pilate, the High priest, and the Pharisees (Matthew 28:4, 11-15). The Bible says the guards shook in fear at the sight of the angel and were like dead men because the angel’s face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.
The sealed stone was a barrier to Mary Magdalene and the other women to enter the tomb, and without entering the tomb they wouldn’t have been able to anoint his body which was their original mission. They were even already worrying about who would help them to roll away the stone unaware that the stone had even been sealed, and was, therefore, a no-go area for them (Mark 16:3). If the stone had not been rolled away, these women would not have been able to gain entry to the tomb to discover that the body of Jesus was ‘missing’ whereas he had resurrected. (John 20:1-2; Matthew 28:5-7; John 20:11-18).
The seal is broken
Without the seal being broken and the stone rolled away, Peter and the other disciples wouldn’t have been able to enter the tomb, especially with the guards posted there to secure the place. Therefore, they wouldn’t have been aware that Jesus had risen before he began to appear to them. What announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the supernatural rolling away of the sealed stone and the empty tomb! If Jesus had resurrected quietly with the seal and stone intact and thereafter showed Himself to His disciples, the propaganda that He didn’t resurrect would have been worse.
Thank God for the power of God at work, the angel from heaven, and the earthquake! It is significant that at Jesus’ death God also demonstrated His power through an earthquake! “The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus’ resurrection. They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, ‘Truly, this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:51-54 NLT)
A great earthquake also shook the foundations of the prison of Paul and Silas at Philippi and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed (Acts 16:26). Glory to God!
The removal of the sealed stone without human participation tells us that there is no barrier that God can’t remove; there’s no embargo that God can’t lift; there’s nothing that the enemy has done that God can’t undo; there’s no human finality that God can’t overturn. Proverbs 21:30 says, “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the LORD.” With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Men thought it was over for Lazarus but Jesus brought him back to life from the grave after four days. Those who were there took away the stone from where his corpse was lying before Jesus commanded him to come out of the grave (John 11:41-44).
The funeral procession was coming out of the village of Nain to go and bury the only child of a widow when Jesus stopped the procession and restored the boy to life (Luke 7:11-15). The dead body of Tabitha (Dorcas) was already washed and being prepared for burial but the Lord raised her back to life through Peter (Acts 9:37-41). Men also thought it was over for Jesus but after three days in the grave, God brought His Son back to life and Jesus is alive forevermore.
What seal has the enemy placed on your life?
What are the seals that the wicked ones have put on your life, marriage, health, business, finances, career, destiny, etc.? What embargo has men place upon your life? By the power that is in the name of Jesus, I command those seals to be broken and their stone of evil finality rolled away now. The power of resurrection shall break every evil seal on every department of your life and cause life to replace death in Jesus’ name. Jesus is the resurrection and the life and anyone who believes in Him though he dies shall live (John 11:25-26). You shall live; your family shall live; your ministry shall live; your destiny shall live, your business shall live, every good thing in your life shall live and not die.
Ahab’s seal was used by Jezebel to authorize the killing of Naboth (1 Kings 21:8-14). Every seal used against your life and destiny is destroyed today in Jesus’ name. Wherever the seals have been applied, I decree that they are broken in Jesus’ name.
A seal is a proof, a certification – the Bible says Christians have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). Ephesians 4:30 says Christ believers have been sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. According to 2 Corinthians 1:22, Christ has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. There is Christ’s seal already upon your life – no other seal is permitted to come upon your life. Therefore, I destroy any contrary seal at work against your life.
In Esther 3:12-13, Haman used the name and signet of King Ahasuerus to seal the letters authorizing that the Jews, young and old, including women and children, be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. But this plot was frustrated by a counter letter sealed with the king’s signet ring empowering the Jews in every city to gather together and protect their lives — to destroy, kill, and annihilate those who would assault them including their little children and women, and plunder their possessions (Esther 8:10-11). And the Jews did excatly that.
The Lord shall neutralize the effect of any seal against you in Jesus’ name. You shall experience supernatural visitation and resurrection of every good thing the enemy has killed. The seal shall be broken and the stone rolled away; the embargo shall be lifted and the Lord shall renew your life with His goodness.
Conclusion: “Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard” (Matthew 27:65-66 NKJV). The evil powers that are guarding your life are sacked from now in Jesus’ name. Every illegal authority over your life is terminated forever by the power of resurrection. Every arrangement of hell against your life shall fall into pieces. You’re coming out of every siege against your life.
I decree that the power of God shall roll away every satanic blockade the enemy has put in your way in life. Whatever power has held you hostage up till now is destroyed in Jesus’ name. “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; rise to a new life]! Shine – be radiant with the glory of the Lord: for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you!” (Isaiah 60:1 Amplified Bible).
Welcome to your season of divine glory!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947