It’s one thing to doubt whether something is true, but another thing to suppress an eyewitness account of that truth. In Matthew 27:62-66, after Jesus had been crucified and buried, the Pharisees are so convinced that the disciples will steal the body of Jesus and fake his resurrection that they request Pilate to station guards over the tomb. It shows how entrenched they are in their disbelief. Yet the guards end up being eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus.
The guards are standing next to the tomb. Dawn is breaking and suddenly there’s a massive earthquake. Then an angel of the Lord appears, rolls back the stone and sits on it. “And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow (Matthew 28:3, NASB).” The next verse tells us the response of the guards. “The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.”
The guards have seen an amazing thing and go to the chief priests to report what happened (28:11-15). Rather than investigate the tomb, they give the soldiers a large sum of money and tell them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble (13-14).” The guards have seen an angel of the Lord, yet they did as they were told (15).
Compare that response to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when they came to look at the grave (28:1). When they see the angel, the angel tells them not to be afraid, that Jesus has risen from the dead. The two Marys “left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples (8).” They meet Jesus on the way, “And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him (9).” They were scared like the guards, but were joyful about the news of the resurrection of Jesus.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is good news. Through Jesus, we are offered eternal life. This Easter there will be those who refuse to believe as the chief priests did when the guards told them what happened. The chief priests did not go and see the empty tomb as the two Marys did or Peter and John (John 29:3-8)—they were more concerned about suppressing the truth—hiding what the guards witnessed.
© 2023, Chris G Thelen
Then Jesus said to them, “ Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” – Matthew 28:10
So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. – John 20:8
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
One thought on “Raising Up the Truth”
Good post, Chris. The Pharisees were so entrenched in their own version of idolatry, they tried to cover up the resurrection of Christ. 😳
It’s dumbfounding how these super religious guys remembered Jesus said he would come back to life after three days, but ignored all the other ways he fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.
This just shows how blinding sin (in any form) truly is.
Happy Easter (resurrection Sunday), my brother! Stay blessed.
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