April 18 I Monday
2 Samuel 3-5
“[The chief priests and the elders] gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole [Jesus] away while we were asleep.”’…So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.” —Matthew 28:12-13, 15
As we consider how the religious leaders were conspiring to get rid of Jesus, it is interesting to see all their schemes come to ruin. They thought nailing Jesus on the cross would put an end to Him, but it became the source of salvation for all humanity. Their scheme to stop the resurrection got turned around by God, who made it a bolder and stronger witness to the reality of the resurrection. God took the devices of the religious leaders and redirected them towards His redemptive purposes.
Before He died, Jesus spoke of His own resurrection, and the soldiers guarding His tomb bore witness to what Jesus said would come to pass. If Jesus’s disciples did that, the religious leaders would discredit their testimony; however, the very soldiers that they arranged were risking their own lives to tell them what happened. There was no way they could deny this truth. At this moment, we would think that the religious leaders would consider that maybe Jesus is exactly who He says He is—the Son of God.
Even to the very end, God was providing the religious leaders every opportunity to repent and believe the good news. But what happened? Matthew 28:12-15 tells us, “They gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
Instead of holding to the truth, the religious leaders sought to bury it. A stubborn refusal when confronted with the reality of the resurrection, they exchanged the truth of Jesus for a lie. Upon closer examination, the religious leaders likely believed the soldier’s testimony. Had they not, they would have punished the soldiers for failing to fulfill their duty. The fact that they paid the soldiers money to cover this story suggests their belief in the resurrection.
It is not good enough to believe in the resurrection—what we do with it is what matters. Even the devil and his demons believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they do not worship Him or treasure Him above all else. Rather, they put themselves in opposition to Him. The guards believed in the resurrection but exchanged the truth for money. The religious leaders were brought the truth but wanted to bury it. What are we going to do about the resurrection of Jesus?
Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus, how patient You are, providing us with every opportunity to repent and believe the good news. I believe in Your resurrection. Make me a conduit to boldly share Your gospel with everyone. Thank You, Lord.