Good Saturday morning! We have the day Jesus died on the cross, and we have the day He rose again, but what happened on Saturday? The Bible seems to kind of blip over that entire day, the Sabbath day at that! Did anything at all happen that day?
For the Jews, the Sabbath was holy and they were commanded to rest all day. However, we do know at least one thing that went on that day - the Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. More than likely, the squad leader or platoon commander - whatever the Roman equivalent of those small units would be - used two men to stand guard for two or four hours at a time. These two would be relieved by two more and two more after that, and then the shifts would repeat around the clock while the duty remained or the entire unit was relieved by another. For a twenty-four hour period, six guards and a sergeant would have stood duty and relieved each other for meals and rest. An officer would most likely have done checks on them as well given the unusual nature and importance of the assignment. It is also possible that at the urging of the Jewish leaders that the guard was doubled or multiplied even more than the usual. We don't know, but that much is possible given the attitudes of the officials at the time.
During the time on watch, the guards would have dealt with all manner of "tourists" coming to see the grave of Jesus. People are curious and anything guarded that is not normally guarded, like a tomb, would draw out the people to see something. You can take my word for it, I stood a lot of guard duty during my service. If you guard an armory or ammo bunker, no one cares; they expect such places to be guarded 24/7. If you guard a tombstone at our cemetery all day, quite a few folks are going to drive by to see... something. We never knew what it was they were trying to see, but if you want to bring folks out, put a guard on something out of the ordinary.
Pilate had also given the Jewish officials permission to secure the tomb as best they could. It is possible that some priests were working on that Sabbath day or night with tools and mortar to lock Jesus in the tomb. We know from the resurrection that neither of these things worked. Nothing we do as humans is going to keep an angel from opening any door we shut and lock, and apparently the guards fled in terror or fell unconscious upon the angel's arrival at the tomb. When Mary arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning, all that had been put in place on Saturday was gone. The tomb stood open and unguarded.
Oh, and it stood empty - the most important point of all. Jesus didn't need the stone to be rolled away, that was for the benefit of Mary, Peter, and John. Praise God for the empty tomb of Christ!