An article by Ted Gibbons published in Meridian Magazine online discusses the fears of wicked Jewish priests upon the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ that He really was who He said He was—the Only Begotten Son of God.
After the crucifixion of Christ, the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate and claimed to be concerned that someone might steal the body of Christ from the tomb where he had been laid, leaving it empty, and then announce that he had been resurrected as he had predicted.
The tomb of Jesus was well-secured and guarded (Matthew 27:64), lest His followers steal Him away and claim that He was resurrected. Caiaphas the high priest may have seen this as the only possible way the body of Christ could disappear, but there were some troubling miracles that must have made Caiaphas and others wonder. Jesus had recently raised Lazarus from the dead, capping off two years of breath-taking miracles. Jesus raised Lazarus for many reasons. First, because He loved Lazarus and his family; second, because He wanted to emphasize His divinity and really prove it to all, thereby precipitating the culmination of His mission in the atonement; and third, as a prelude to the resurrection, which not even the apostles understood — that Christ had the ability to raise us from the dead to an immortal state, as He raised Lazarus from the dead to a mortal, but healed, state.
Remember what the Jewish leaders said after the raising of Lazarus? “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:47-48). There were compelling reasons to keep Christ in that tomb. A miracle such as an actual, or a pretended resurrection really could ruin everything for them.
They came to Pilate and asked him to secure the sepulcher.
Pilate told the Jewish leaders to go ahead and make the tomb as secure as they could. We don’t know whether he was humoring them, or whether he somehow surmised that it wouldn’t do them any good. Pilate seemed to realize Christ was no average person, but that He was more than guiltless. He was God.
Pilate tried to release Christ rather than the murderer and seditionist Barabbas, but the Jews demanded the freeing of Barabbas (see Luke 19:16-21) and the death of Jesus.
Ironically, the Hebrew name “Barabbas” means chosen son of the Father.
“And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him” (Luke 23:13-16).
Then Pilate’s wife sent him a message: “When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).
Pilate’s final words were, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matthew 27:24).
The Jewish high priests did everything they could to finish Jesus, from planting their cronies in the crowd to choose Barabbas and condemn the Christ, to pleading sedition so the Romans would crucify Him, to attempting vainly to secure the tomb with stone and with guards to thwart Christ’s claim that He would rise again. After Christ’s resurrection, they did everything they could to stamp out His name among His followers, forbidding the apostles to preach or perform miracles in the name of Christ, arresting apostles and followers, and even having Stephen executed.
But Christ is who He said He was, God the Creator and the Redeemer. Once the apostles had been taught and nurtured by the resurrected Christ, they began to understand, and their testimonies became sure. They were willing to witness of Christ no matter what the risk. They gazed into heaven; they were taught from above. They received the Holy Ghost and the royal priesthood. They were able to baptize, convey the gift of the Holy Ghost, and perform like miracles to Christ Himself.
There was no way the tomb could be secure enough to contain the Savior, who descended beneath all things and ascended above all things, who has all power in heaven and on earth.
Mormons proclaim that He will come again in like manner. That the resurrection is His permanent and immortal condition, as it will be ours.