History’s Greatest Lie

Matthew 28: 8-15
Acts 2:14,22-33 / Psa 16

So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
(Matthew 28:15)

 
We believe Christ’s Word is truthful,
Leading us in the right direction,
Making our life more meaningful
With the joy of His Resurrection.

 

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”  While they were going, behold, 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 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.  (Matthew 28:8-15)

Reflection

The leaders of the Jews would rather perpetuate a lie — even bribe for it — than face up to the inconvenient truth that they had made a mistake, and Jesus of Nazareth was indeed what He claimed to be.  Matthew, the apostle and evangelist, was a Jew, but he was not afraid nor ashamed to reveal this grand cover-up in his gospel. He was writing for the Jews, but the conservative tradition of the people at that time, plus the ongoing persecution of the early Christian Church strained his credibility vis-à-vis the powerful position of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders.

Mary Magdalene and her companion were filled with great joy when the angel told them that Jesus had already resurrected from the dead.  But their happiness was tempered by fear – fear of the Roman and Jewish authorities, who would not take kindly to this amazing news, and fear of their claim’s rejection by their compatriots, as they were bearing second-hand information.  Jesus Himself had to appear before them in order to encourage their resolve.

The soldiers who were posted at the gravesite had been struck down with fear at the presence of the angel who rolled the heavy stone covering the grave’s entrance.  At first they were honest enough to report all that had happened to the chief priests, but when bribed with “hush money”, they too were willing to perpetuate a falsehood.

This false testimony has resulted in the greatest loss of the Israelite nation, but their loss was the whole world’s gain, because the rejection and persecution of the early Christian Church in Palestine led to the spread of the Good News of the Resurrection to the four corners of the earth, as the disciples of Jesus spread it with zeal, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Up to the present, the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, giving fulfillment to the prediction of our Lord Jesus that “the first shall be the last,” while we, who believe His Word in the Bible are celebrating His Resurrection.

Most loving Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of faith, the most precious legacy that You have given us through the Risen Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Thank You for the hope that we too will be resurrected in the last days, and will receive the greatest gift of everlasting joy with You in heaven.  Amen.

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