Some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
By guest contributor, Todd Hansen
Incredible, the power of a lie.
There weren’t many first-hand observers of the resurrection of Jesus. The women arrived at the tomb for their divine appointment with the angel, but at that point, the stone was already rolled back, and Jesus was gone. In fact, if we assume that the earthquake and the angel’s arrival signaled the moment of the resurrection, the only ones who were there were a unit of Roman guards!
It’s probably not a surprise that the guards were more than willing to go along with the lie that was fabricated by the chief priests and elders, especially since they would be paid for it. But two things make me wonder: First, how would this NOT “come to the governor’s ears.”? If those soldiers were under Pilate’s authority, they would be disciplined for their actions. If the lie was right, they had slept through their assignment and neglected their duty.
Second, how could they contain a story like this? In the days and weeks following the incident at the tomb, the evidence for the resurrection would grow, and the truth would spread like wildfire. If the soldiers gained any understanding at all of the power of God that had raised Jesus from the dead, they would have to have been first undone, and then transformed, by it. They would have been compelled to tell their story.
But the lie persists even to THIS day. It persists because unexamined unbelief is often more compelling than evidence, and self-interested pride is fallen humanity’s default position. The truth – the Truth – is on the other side of unflinching self-examination under the bright light of the Word of God. “And the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
DO THIS TODAY: Don’t settle for less than the truth.