Are you afraid to tell the truth?
While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' 14 And 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 has been spread among the Jews to this day.
The Bible teaches us that ALL scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). What can we gain from reading about guards, chief priests and elders conspiring together to hide the truth of the resurrection?
We know from Matthew 28:4 that the guards were fearful and played dead when the angel appeared to move the sealed stone from the entrance to the tomb. The guards would have seen and probably heard the angel speak to the women who came to the tomb. They would have seen the women looking into the empty tomb and heard the angel tell them, "Jesus has risen... go and tell the disciples." The guards told the Jewish leaders and took the money they were offered to lie about what had happened. At the writing of Matthew’s gospel many years later the false story was still being told to the Jewish people.
Luke 16:27-31 gives our first profitable lesson from today's scripture reading (Matthew 28:11-15). Telling people the word of God is a more powerful witness to people than even raising someone from the dead. The word of God applied by the Holy Spirit brings people to repent and believe the gospel.
Look at Jesus’ teaching, "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house- 28 for I have five brothers- so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29 But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'" (Luke 16:27-31)
We need to depend on the Lord to convict people of sin, to lead people to repent, and to help people believe the gospel and be saved. Our responsibility is to get the word of God out to people. It is the word of God the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to repentance and belief in Jesus.
Mathew 16:26 gives us our second profitable lesson. Some people, like the guard and Jewish leaders place more value in material wealth and social status than in their own soul. Some people know the facts of the Jesus death and resurrection are true, yet, will deny the facts for financial gain and for maintaining their own social status.
Do not be discouraged if God is not doing miracles through you and think this is why more people are not believing the truth. Keep giving people the word of God. The Holy Spirit will use the word of God we give out to convict people of sin and lead them to repent and believe the gospel (John 15:26-27; 16:8).
You need to realize some people prefer to have money over truth. Even if they know the truth they will not give up everything or anything to follow Jesus (see Matthew 19:16-22 for an example). Some people, like the guards, will discredit the truth with a lie for financial gain.
Never let money influence you to hide the truth.
Think deeply about this truth. Do you let money influence your decisions? What you believe shapes how you live.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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