What Happened to the Guards Who Were Watching Over Jesus’ Tomb?

According to the Gospel of Matthew, the guards who were watching over Jesus’ tomb reported to the chief priests what had happened when the angel of the Lord appeared and rolled away the stone from the tomb (Matthew 28:2).

Matthew 28:11-15 says that the chief priests paid the guards a large sum of money and instructed them to say that the disciples came and stole Jesus’ body while they were asleep.

These guards were Roman soldiers who were assigned to keep watch over the tomb. We don’t know if they were punished for failing in their duty to protect the tomb, which would have been normal practice at that time, nor do we know if they got in trouble for accepting the bribe from the chief priests.

It is clear from Matthew’s Gospel that the guards were aware of the miraculous events that took place at the tomb. Perhaps they ran away when the earthquake happened or the stone rolled away from the entrance. We don’t know if they saw Jesus walk out of the tomb or not.

No matter when they left the scene, they would have been left with a powerful testimony to Jesus’ resurrection, as would the chief priests. It is significant to remember what it says in Acts 6:7, that many of the priests in Jerusalem became believers in Jesus. I wonder if any of those who became believers were part of the group who paid off the guards!

This video is particularly good at depicting the incredulity of the idea that Jesus’ disciples stole his body: