Meanwhile, the stunned soldiers who had been guarding the tomb shake themselves out of their stupor. They, too, peer inside the tomb and find only the linen wrappings. Reasoning that there is no longer any reason to stand guard, they take off for the city, too spooked to stay there any longer. They head straight for the Temple to tell the Sanhedrin what has happened. Caiaphas is called in and an emergency session begins. “It seems we’re having an awful lot of these emergency sessions lately,” grumbles one of the older members. “What now?” Two priests to whom the soldiers have just told their tale explain the situation to the group. For a moment, there is complete silence in the room, then the outraged questions begin. “Incompetence! They were told to stand guard there and not let anyone access the tomb!” “But they swear they did not move from their post! The soldiers took up their post just before the night watch began, and they are seasoned night watch guards. They swear on penalty of death that they did not fall asleep, did not allow anyone access to the tomb, nor did they abandon their post at any time.” “Well, how did this happen? Obviously, our greatest fear has come to pass. Somehow, that deceiver’s men got in and took the body, and now they are going to claim that He has risen from the dead, just as He had foretold. So, if the guards were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and they didn’t see anyone coming or going, how did this happen?” “Well, sir, they say they saw light coming from inside the tomb, through the cracks around the stone. Then all of a sudden the stone was rolled away and two angels were sitting there. At least, from their description, it sounds like angels. Huge men, shining brighter than the sun, they say. And the body was gone already, when they looked in. Only the linen wrappings were there, folded neatly and placed on the stone slab where the body had been. They say right after that, some of the women who were His followers came and the angels spoke to them, saying that He wasn’t there because He had risen from the dead, and to tell the men that He would meet them in Galilee.” “Well, this will never do. He will be more popular than ever if that story gets out.” Caiaphas paces for a moment, pondering the situation. “Here’s what we must do. We will call the soldiers in and bribe them to lie. They must tell anyone who asks that they did fall asleep, and that His followers came during that time and stole the body.” After some deliberation, the majority of the Sanhedrin agrees. “Call them in!” Caiaphas orders, and the soldiers enter, looking apprehensive. “We are prepared to offer you a large sum of money to keep your story quiet. Instead, you are to tell anyone who asks that you did, indeed, fall asleep at your post, and that this Man’s followers came and stole His body while you were sleeping. We will defend you if Pilate hears of this, and take the blame ourselves. What say you?” The guards look at each other. They both know something supernatural has happened, but neither one of them wants to think about it anymore, let alone have to tell the story over and over. They are too frightened by it. Even though they will be ridiculed for falling asleep at their post, they will feel much better with this version of the events. So they agree and take the bribe, and within hours the story has begun to spread like wildfire through the city.