Meanwhile, the guards were faced with a dilemma. They had failed in their mission to prevent the removal of the body of Jesus. Punishment for this could well be their deaths.
The guards returned to the chief priests and reported everything that had happened. After hearing the account of the things that had taken place, the chief priests were so hardened in their hearts that they refused to accept the resurrection of Jesus even when they had this overwhelming evidence.
Money solves many problems. After the chief priests had consulted with the elders, they paid the guards off with a “large sum of money.” They then instructed the guards to say, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” If the governor were to hear about them sleeping on duty, the chief priests would defend the guards before him.
The cover-up story the soldiers were instructed to tell had some very serious problems of credibility. If they had been truly asleep, how could someone come and roll the heavy stone away and steal Jesus’ body without waking at least one of the guards if not all of them? They would not have been able to tell the chief priests “all the things that had happened” if they had been asleep during that time.
After receiving the money from the chief priests, the soldiers left and did as they were instructed.