Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. ~ Matthew 28:11-15.
Some of the soldiers come to the city to report to the religious rulers what has happened. They consult together and the soldiers are paid a large bribe so that they will dishonestly say that while they were asleep the disciples came and stole the body away. The soldiers are to be safeguarded before Pilate if he hears that they were supposed to have been asleep. The soldiers’ false rumor circulates and is still believed by Jews, as Matthew writes in this Gospel.
Points to ponder
It is surprising that Roman guards reported to Jewish priests!
What these soldiers must have thought, knowing the truth and bribed to tell a lie!
If the soldiers were sleeping, how did they know the disciples stole His body? However, this account does emphasize that by the report of the Roman guards, the women, and the disciples, the tomb is empty.
Roman guards falling asleep at their posts was a grave offense, sometimes punishable by death.
Herod put to death all 16 of the guards in charge of keeping Peter in prison (Acts 12:4, 19). It was apparently a common practice that remained well known and in place up to and through the time of Jesus.