Matthew 28:12-15a (CEB)
12They met with the elders and decided to give a large sum of money to the soldiers. 13They told them, “Say that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole his body while you were sleeping. 14And if the governor hears about this, we will take care of it with him so you will have nothing to worry about.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told.
The empty tomb presented quite a problem for those who had crucified Jesus. If the tomb was empty, there could be only one explanation: Jesus arose from the dead. And if Jesus arose from the dead, there could be only one explanation: Jesus is the Son of God
It’s hard to understand why, when presented with such overwhelming evidence, the chief priests still refused to believe. It’s even more difficult to fathom the fact that they thought they could cover it up. They bribed the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb, instructing them to tell people that the disciples had stolen the body.
Why would the disciples have stolen Jesus’ body out of the tomb? What were they going to gain from that? How could they benefit from tricking people into believing that Jesus was alive?
There was really no benefit to such a deception. And remember, the disciples were subsequently imprisoned and even killed because they continued to preach about Jesus being the Messiah. Why would they carry this story to the point of execution if it was only a deception?
In your lifetime, you will encounter people who will try to tell you that the resurrection was not real—that the story of Jesus is a big hoax. There will be people who will tell you that there is no God—that believing in God means that you’re weak and simple-minded. But you know the truth. Stand firm in your faith. And when you encounter a person like that, do as Jesus taught you to do, and pray for him or her.
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