Summary: Sunday after Easter. After the Resurrection, now what? Is possible for someone to witness it all yet be bought off to deny it all?

There is an unfortunate truth which abounds in our current culture, people would rather believe a lie, a boldface lie, than the truth, especially if the truth is inconvenient or the truth would cost us in any way, whether it would be money, or in our personal perception of freedoms. Jesus once said:

John 8:32 (NKJV) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

But knowing the truth is not that simple, at least for some. Case in point, the resurrection of Jesus. Last week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. Our whole Christian faith is hinged on that fact. Today we will consider, what Paul Harvey use to say, “The Rest of the Story.”

Matthew 28:11–15

There are some lies we know to be lies. Lies we hear every day. Consider some of the great American lies:

The check is in the mail.

I’ll start my diet tomorrow.

Give me your number & the doctor will call you right back.

One size fits all.

Your luggage isn’t lost, it’s only misplaced.

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Your table will be ready in a few minutes.

Open wide, it won’t hurt a bit.

We have all been lied to , and some lies we know are lies, and we laugh about them. But some lies are a bit more harmful. Many of us have been lied to by people we trust and it can be very painful. And some lies, if believed, will lead people straight into the very pits of hell:

There are many ways to heaven and to God.

The Bible is not the only Holy Book, or

The Bible is an just an old outdated book that is no longer relevant.

There is no heaven or hell. When we die, that is all there is.

Christian are just a bunch of hypocrites and bigots.

People will believe the lie. This is done purposefully and quite deliberately at times. I brought this up 4 weeks ago when I preached about “The Reasons for God’s Wrath.” [1] Evolution was a case in point, even when the evidence is overwhelming:

Dr. George Wald, a Harvard professor and the winner of the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize, stated: “When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities—creation or spontaneous generation—there is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds, therefore choose to believe the impossible, that life arose spontaneously by chance.” [2]

Dr Wald and many like him, deliberately choose to believe the lie, despite the evidence.

Today, I want to consider the case of the guards at the tomb and the reaction of the Chief Priests. In the case of the guards, they were eye witnesses of the events at the tomb. They may not have seen Jesus or actually seen His resurrection, but they certainly saw the angel and the supernatural breaking of the seals and the rolling away of the stone. Yet even being there and experiencing what they did, they were bought off, postulated to all who would ask and listen, the lie. I want to examine this event, only recorded by Matthew, then look at how it applies to us.

The high Priests of Israel could not allow the resurrection of Jesus. Too much was at stake, their position and their power over the people.

Matthew 27:62–66 (NKJV) On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

The stage was set. The large stone was sealed to the tomb and the guard was set. What could go wrong? Then the unimaginable happened, Jesus rose from the dead. We read this story last week at our Son-Rise service.

Matthew 28:2–4 (NKJV) And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

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