Summary: A sermon on the unprincipled eye witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; based on Matthew 27:62- 28:15
Rogues of the Resurrection
Sermon for 4/4/2010- Easter Sunday
Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-8, 11-15
Louisiana does not have a good track record when it comes to corruption. Based on numbers from a Justice Department report in 2009, Louisiana is the most corrupt state, with 7.67 convictions per 100,000 residents over nine years. U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was busted in a 2005 influence-peddling scheme with, according to an affidavit, "$90,000…in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers." In November of last year, he received a 13-year prison sentence, the longest ever handed to a congressman for bribery. Edwin Edwards served four terms as governor of Louisiana over the period of 1972 to 1996. He beat two dozen corruption investigations. In 2000, the good times stopped rolling; Edwards received a 10-year federal prison sentence for extorting money from casino boat owners seeking licenses. Another thought is that maybe Louisiana is cracking down on corruption more than other states.
A. A rogue is an unprincipled person, a scoundrel. A rogue exhibits corruption. Corruption is actions that are immoral and perverse; depraved and dishonest. A rogue is also an opportunist- a person who takes advantage of opportunities for self advancement, usually with no regard for principles or scruples.
B. The chief priests, Pharisees, and elders are rogues, full of corruption. The soldiers also are rogues but also opportunists, taking advantage where they can.
C. The sad part about this is that the religious leaders should know better- only looking out for themselves. (Ezek 34:8 NIV) As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock,(Ezek 34:9 NIV) therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:(Ezek 34:10 NIV) This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
D. Only Matthew gives the actions and attitudes of these rogues of the resurrection.
Thesis: Today we see several examples of corruption in the religious leaders and these soldiers.
1. In the religious leaders
A. Laws about the Sabbath (27:62-66)
1. The chief priests and Pharisees who went to Pilate (vs. 62) were breaking the laws about the Sabbath. The day before not willing to enter Pilate’s place because it would make them ceremonially unclean - but as long as all of their fellow Jews were at home, they went ahead and broke the Sabbath in order to make sure Jesus would remain dead.
2. (John 19:31-33 NIV) Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
B. Offered the soldiers a bribe (28:11-12)
1. They have already given Judas a bribe of 30 pieces of silver. Probably gave these soldiers (maybe as many of 16) more than 30 pieces of silver apiece.
2. (Prov 17:8 NIV) A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds. This verse merely states a common trait among unscrupulous men and gives no judgment upon it. In the same chapter it says: (Prov 17:23 NIV) A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice.
C. Encouraged the soldiers to tell a lie. (28:13)
1. (Lev 19:11 NIV) “'Do not steal. "'Do not lie. "'Do not deceive one another.
2. (Exo 23:7 NIV) Have nothing to do with a false charge
D. If the soldiers did as they were told, the religious leaders would protect them. (28:14)
1. Why did they report to the chief priests? Pilate assigned them to the chief priests. They had to please these men in order to please Pilate. If they did what the chief priests wanted, them Pilate would ask no questions.
2. (Psa 26:9 NIV) Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, (Psa 26:10 NIV) in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.
2. In the soldiers
A. Fear of death
(Acts 12:18-19 NIV) In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.