Our family attended Easter service at my mom’s church this week. Besides my nylons which caused one of my sons to ask “Momma, why are you wearing those long socks?” I noticed something else strange. I had always thought it odd that Paul said the Jews rejected their messiah. I mean, didn’t tons of people believe in Jesus when Peter spoke at Pentecost? How is that rejecting Him? But during the Easter service, a verse gave me pause that I hadn’t considered all that thoroughly before.
Matthew 28:11-14–“While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling then, ‘You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.'”
They knew! The chief priests and elders knew at the very least all that verse 2-4 describes: A violent earthquake, an angel of the Lord rolling back the stone, the guards shaking and becoming like dead men, and the body of Jesus gone.
They had the testimony of hardened Roman soldiers to all these miraculous events and their response…bribe them to lie and keep on going as before, as though Jesus were not their Messiah.
This seems like a fabulously extravagant bit of unbelief.
But how many times have you and I been in that moment. We know the truth, but it is just too hard to face the consequences of what that truth means. God is real, He loves us, and He wants us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Difficult truths to face. Do we have the courage to see Him, or are we like those leaders who looked Him in the eye thousands of years before and couldn’t dare to believe?