Google+ 04/02/13 When You Accept the Bribe...

Matthew 28:11-14

 

As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city

And told the leading priests what had happened.

A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe.

They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping,

And they stole his body.’ 

If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 

 

I would like to say that today's Scripture is a huge surprise, but it simply is not.  We can pretend to be "amazed" at the behavior of the guards, the chief priests, and the elders, but their actions are really no surprise.  These are the people that had been plotting for months to crucify Jesus.  If we are not careful, we will begin to apply Christian logic to these people, who have been systematically rejecting God and Jesus.  After all, isn't the Resurrection of Jesus a perfect time to turn your life around and believe the truth?  Would we not expect the people who claim to be Godly to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  Yes we would expect that, and we would be wrong.  We simply are not Christians without Christ.  There is a reason why the Bible calls Jesus "the way, the truth, and the life."  Unfortunately in churches today, there are a lot of "chief priests and elders" and not nearly as much of God.  The guards that were posted at the tomb were protecting their "job security" and their very lives.  As I mentioned yesterday, letting a prisoner escape, if you are a Roman soldier, would surely result in death, at some point.  The Romans were ruthless when it came to pain and torture.  In order to continue to propagate the Roman culture, they had to make sure that everyone was "terrified" all the time.  They promoted fear, all the time, as a means of control.  Remember the coliseum?  Before you judge, remember who was sitting in the seats of the coliseum, cheering everyday!!!  As history has proven, this kind of fear results in very non-productive results and always fails.  We have many examples in history to look at, but the fall of Roman Empire is certainly one of those shining examples.  In order to continue to promote this fear, much lying is involved.  In our Scripture today, the priests and elders call a meeting to propagate the lie.  They agree that all the guards will lie and the priests and elders will back them up!  In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, they offer the soldiers a "large" bribe.  What does that mean?  The lesson is that without Jesus, we all have our price.  The priests and elders determined what that price was for the solders and gladly offered it to them, to accomplish their cover-up.  They did forget and ignore that the guards were not the only people who were at the tomb!  Yesterday, we discovered that Mary and Mary were at the tomb because they showed up and Jesus made a personal appearance.  They became messengers.  Today, they also become the key witnesses to a huge lie.  They are the ones that will eventually bring the chief priests and the elders to their knees and expose them as the liars that they really are.  If you will, they are the ones that look at the emperor and proclaim that he has no clothes on, when everyone else swears that they love what he is wearing! Don't miss all that this short, four-line Scripture has to tell us.  Like the Mary's, show up.  Listen to Jesus.  Obey what He says and go do it, RIGHT NOW!  The Roman lie might have worked if not for the immediate response and obedience of these two women.  Don't listen to anyone that is not in fellowship with God.  They will lie to you.  Don't be surprised that they lie.  It is what liars do!!!  Finally, don't accept "bribes," no matter what the size or status.  Remember that when Judas returned the blood money to the Chief Priests and the elders, even they would not accept it.  They spent it on land to bury the dead!!!  Watch out and be prudent so that you act like the Mary's, and not the guards.  You simply cannot deny that when you accept the bribe, you are part of the lie!