The Grand Cover-up

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

My heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, for you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see corruption. You show me the path to life, you fill me with joy in your presence.
(Psalm 16:9-11)

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

In the Book of Acts, Peter, the once humble fisherman who was now filled with the Holy Spirit, quoted the above Psalm (16) written by King David, wherein he had prophesied the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter said, “He (King David) foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption” (Act 2:31).

On the other hand, 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 the Messiah prophesied in Scriptures. 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.

The Jews missed out on the two most important historical events in their lives as God’s ‘Chosen People’ – the birth of the Promised Messiah (which was predicted by their prophets), and His Resurrection (which was covered up by their leaders). There is no such thing as Christmas or Easter in the country of Israel. Only the Arab and Greek Orthodox Christians, and some migrants celebrate them there. Small wonder that this troubled, scattered people have never found rest from conflicts and strife since time immemorial. As our Lord Jesus said: “Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says, ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes …” (Mt. 13:14-15)

We are blessed in the gift of faith that has come down to us through the early Christian Church, and spread by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a historical tragedy that the false testimony of the Jewish leaders 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. Happy Easter!

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Who destroyed death and brought us to life. Hear our prayers which we offer in the hope of eternal glory, and grant that we who have received new life in the resurrection of Jesus may always praise and worship You, Father, with Your Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ages to come. Amen.

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