Religious Leaders Who Lie and Buy
When I hear about another high profile pastor who is caught in a lie or who is exposed as using money to cover things up, it’s discouraging. It also surprises me. It shouldn’t. Religious leaders have been doing this for at least two thousand years. When it comes to the most important event in human history—the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, it was the leaders in charge of the Temple worship in Jerusalem who paid a lot of money to propagate a lie that continues to this day.
“While they were going, note this, some of the tomb guards went into the city. They reported to the chief priests all that had happened. The priests then gathered the elders and together they discussed what to do. They took a large amount of silver and gave it to the soldiers with these instructions. ‘Say that His disciples came at night and stole him away while you were sleeping. If the governor hears about it, we will handle it so that you won’t be blamed.’ They received the silver and did as they were told. To this day this is the story the Jews are spreading.” - Matthew 28:11-15
Matthew, the writer of these words is Jewish. In fact everyone in this account is a Jew. The reason I mention this is because these words in the New Testament have been taken as slurs against the Jewish people as a race. In fact Matthew as a Jew is challenging his own people to decide. Is the witness of the Jewish women who went to the tomb and the actual testimony of the Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb the truth or did Jesus’ disciples steal the body Saturday night?
Note that everyone agrees that the body is gone from the tomb. If the grave robber hypothesis is accepted, then you also have to believe that the disciples who ran from the guard in Gethsemane, suddenly mustered up enough courage to attack Roman guards, overpower them, steal the body, hide it, and then spend the rest of their lives going all over the Roman world proclaiming that their Rabbi bodily rose from the dead.
Chuck Colson, a friend of my dad, used to remind us how fast the truth came out about the Watergate cover up when pressure was applied. The original first century eleven never turned away from their conviction that the Savior they saw dead on Calvary was very much alive when they met Him in Galilee. That’s tomorrow’s Devo.
LORD, raise up many leaders today who, because they are authentically committed to the crucified and risen Savior, will never use money to manipulate others or spread lies. Thank you for common folks like Mary Magdalene and Mary, her friend, who humbly told others what they saw and what they heard. Today as I prayed with a friend in Baylor who is fighting valiantly against leukemia, it meant everything to know that You are alive, heard every word, and that because You did conquer death, we know You have the power to heal
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