Matt. 28:11 While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.
The story was quickly spreading regarding the empty tomb. The idea of Christ’s resurrection would have been terrifying to the priests and elders for it would have confirmed the divinity of Jesus. Not only would they have to accept his resurrection, but they would have been guilty of condemning to death their Messiah. The truth would mean confronting their own sin and failure.
Rather than dealing with the truth they decided to concoct a lie. Not only did they lie, but they bribed others to lie as well. The more they refused to confess that Jesus was the Messiah, the more tangled their deceit became. Maintaining the lie was all about self-preservation in the eyes of the people and for this they were willing to go to hell.
I think that we all probably hate being wrong. Admitting that we have made a mistake means that we have to humble ourselves before others and ask for forgiveness. That makes us incredibly uncomfortable and we may go to all kinds of lengths to prove that we were right — even if we were wrong.
In this way we can understand those priests and elders who really didn’t know what to do about the empty tomb. We are also faced with the reality of the empty tomb and a very alive Jesus Christ. In his grace he is continually reaching out to us and drawing us into a redemptive relationship with him. Acceptance of him into our lives requires a confession of Christ as Lord and for some, this is simply far too inconvenient for if Jesus truly were the Messiah there may just have to be some life change. Instead we barter away our faith so that we can continue to live the kinds of lifestyles that make us “happy” and “comfortable.” The presence of a resurrected Christ just might be too hard on our own desires. We make excuses for our own self-centered lifestyles and then walk away from the truth of the risen Messiah.
The truth about the risen Lord is not meant to be convenient — it is a hard truth! When confronted with Jesus we can face him honestly, accept him and allow him to do his marvelous and transforming work in our lives. Anything short of this makes us just as complicit as the the priests and the elders who felt the truth simply too uncomfortable.
Lord, thank you for the joy of serving a risen Savior. Amen.
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