11 Now as the women were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 They met with the elders and decided to give a large sum of money to the soldiers. 13 They told them, “Say that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole his body while you were sleeping. 14 And if the governor hears about this, we will take care of it with him so you will have nothing to worry about.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told. And this report has spread throughout all Judea to this very day (Matthew 28:11-15, Common English Bible).
At some point, the money changing hands would have started bothering me a great deal. If I was the Jews, I am not sure if that point would have come when we paid Judas to lie in order that we might arrest Jesus. Or, perhaps, it would have come with the scene that is today’s lesson. If we are so sure that Jesus was lying, why would it be necessary to buy the story we wanted to be told. Why would we need to give a large sum of money to guards so they would lie for us?
If I am one of the guards in today’s lesson it would, I feel certain, start to weigh on me that I had sold my integrity so easily. By taking the leader’s money I was lying but equally important, I would also be guilty of not doing my job. I would be saying I was derelict in my duties. Further, from this point moving forward, I would be dependent on not only the Jews but also my fellow soldiers to maintain the lie. What if they had second thoughts and went back and told the governor the truth? That could play out badly for me. I doubt seriously the results would have met with my dreams for my life.
I can’t help but think I would be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. I would be like mob man who was caught a few years ago, living with his wife in plain sight in San Francisco. He had lived that way for years and yet never felt totally comfortable. He was attempting to hide from both the mob whom some said he had done wrong and from Federal authorities. Even hiding in plain sight, can be stressful and difficult.
Over time, some of the guards had to start sharing their experience. How else could Matthew have known the story? If he didn’t have this part of the story, how could he share it with us?
The ones who had the real truth, Jesus’ disciples never wavered in their story. For the rest of their lives, they kept saying that Jesus had risen from the dead. They passed the story on to others and generation after generation shared the story and people in every age came to believe.
As for the eleven, they faced many trials. They were persecuted throughout their days. Still, these men continued to tell the story, and it was a story they would die for.
Here is a question I will leave you with today. Would the disciples have stuck to their story through persecution and torture and death if that story had been a lie? I can’t answer for you, but for me, I sincerely doubt it. Why would they die for a lie? Would you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved