WWUTT 2127 The Resurrection Affirmed by Enemies of Christ (Matthew 28:11-15)

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Reading Matthew 28:11-15 and how the enemies of Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles, conspired to cover up the resurrection, but they inadvertently admitted to it. Visit wwutt.com for all our videos!


Even Jesus' own enemies had to acknowledge, they had to admit, that the tomb was empty and He had risen again from the dead.
The proof is even found in their testimony, When We Understand the Text. You're listening to When We Understand the
Text, an online Bible ministry so that we may know all the riches freely given to us by God.
For questions and comments, send us an email to whenweunderstandthetext at gmail .com.
Here's your teacher, Pastor Gabe. Thank you, Becky, and greetings everyone. This week we are finishing up our study of the
Gospel of Matthew, and today we continue in chapter 28 with the account of Jesus' resurrection.
Today we read about how even Jesus' enemies testified to His resurrection.
I'm going to begin reading in verse 11 and go through verse 15 out of the Legacy Standard Bible. Hear the word of the
Lord. Now while they were on their way, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
And when they had assembled with the elders and took counsel together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and said,
You are to say, His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.
And if this is heard before the governor, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.
And they took the money and did as they had been instructed. And this story was widely spread among the
Jews and is to this day. Now really this account that comes from the soldiers that the body of Jesus was stolen by His disciples is absurd.
And the people who had heard this account rightly understood it to be absurd. Remember as we read here in Matthew chapter 28 about the resurrection of Christ, we first read of the testimony that came from the angel to the women.
That was in verses 1 through 10. And then the women encountered the risen Christ themselves as they were going to tell
Jesus' disciples that He is risen and to go to Galilee and there they would see Him.
Now this next portion, we kind of shift in the action and as I've pointed out before in the Gospel of Matthew, sometimes
Matthew will go back to things that have already transpired or he will be looking at something that's happening at the same time that this other action is going on.
So be careful about reading it chronologically sometimes. We as Western world thinkers, it's like we want everything to be in this nice chronological timeline package neatly wrapped for us and presented to us and said, this is the order in which these events happen.
But that's not always the way that the biblical writers presented things. It wasn't necessarily the mind of a
Hebrew in the first century to have to write everything out in chronological order like that. We're especially going to see that when we get to the
Gospel of Mark as he jumps all over with his events. But here, Matthew is recalling something that may have been happening at the same time that the women were encountering the risen
Christ. So while they were on their way, this is after everything else has transpired.
The women are going to the disciples, the guard that had been terrified by the appearance of the angel.
Remember the guard fainted. No one actually saw with their own eyes Jesus coming out of the tomb.
So the guard had passed out. They've come to, they're going now to talk to the chief priests.
It was, it was given to the chief priests that they would have a guard to be placed at the tomb.
Matthew's already set all this up. And remember at the end of chapter 27, Mary Magdalene and another
Mary were sitting opposite the grave as Jesus was being placed in the tomb, right? That's the way Matthew concluded chapter 27.
So then at the start of chapter 28, it's these two Marys that Matthew says, come to the tomb and find it empty.
They would know, they would know that the body was put in there. They saw it. They knew the body went into the tomb.
And so now being witnesses to the fact that the tomb is empty, they could recall these events from the moment the body went in to the time that the body came out.
They would be able to say, we know the body was placed in the tomb because we were sitting right over there when we saw him buried in the stone rolled into place.
Now here we have the guard that had been placed in the tomb also at the end of chapter 27.
So this, let me jump back to 27. This is verse 62. On the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the
Pharisees gathered together with Pilate and said, sir, we remember that when he was still alive, that deceiver said after three days,
I'm going to rise again. Therefore, order for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples come and steal him away and say to the people, he has risen from the dead and the last deception will be worse than the first pilot said to them, you have a guard go make it as secure as you know how, and they went and made the grave secure.
And along with the guard, they set a seal on the stone. So see, Matthew is going back to these very things that he had laid out at the end of chapter 27.
And these become the first eyewitnesses to the fact that the tomb is empty. Even before the disciples saw it, you had the women and you have the guard and the guard was under the direction of the chief priests because Pilate said, here's a guard go make the tomb is secure as you need to.
And so it's to the chief priests that the guard goes when they come to, when they realize the tomb is open, the body is gone.
Well, they go and they talk to the elders that had taken counsel together. And it says that they reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
So everything that we read about an angel descending like lightning, an earthquake that had taken place, the guard passes out, they wake up and the tomb is empty.
They said all of this to the chief priests. They heard everything exactly as it had happened to the guards.
Unlikely, the guards are going to the chief priests and lying to them. The chief priests are now asking them to lie for them.
So they're giving the chief priests everything exactly as it happened. And verse 12, when they had assembled with the elders and took counsel together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers.
So now they're paying the soldiers off to repeat the narrative that the priests want the soldiers to tell people, we're going to pay you some money.
You're going to go out and tell people this story. Now that money that they're paying the soldiers with, where does that money come from?
That money is what's been taken from the people, the offerings that have been given for the temple, offerings that have been given for sacrifices in the temple.
It's from that money that they are paying off these soldiers. Highly unlikely that they're gathering together their own wages.
But even if they were, if they were pulling together their own wages to pay off these soldiers, that's still money that had been given by the people for the service of the temple.
And here these priests are using money that had been given for the service of God. And what are they doing with it?
They are trying to lie about exactly what God had done. If there was anybody who should have known what was taking place in Jerusalem at this time, it should have been those who were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Those who had the scriptures, the law, and the prophets, those who had been teaching these things to the people, they should have recognized
Jesus is the fulfillment of everything that we have been teaching you. But instead of recognizing that even when something as miraculous as a resurrection takes place, they continue to deny the power of God.
They continue to deny the Christ. And they pay off these guards with a large sum of money, telling them to lie for them.
You know, it's in 1 Timothy 6 10 that we read, for the love of money is a root of all sorts of evils. And some by aspiring to it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Often that verse is twisted to say, money is the root of all evil. That's usually the way that you hear it, right?
Well, Paul was not even being proverbial here. There's a context, of course, oftentimes when verses get taken out of context, we ignore the context.
But what Paul was specifically warning Timothy about was false teachers. And it's because of their love of money that they will use the message of the gospel or they will twist the gospel for their own financial gain.
It's the love of money that is at the root of all sorts of false teaching and all the other mechanisms that will surround that false teaching to try to separate a gullible people from their money.
That's what these false teachers are doing. And here we have that very thing playing out between these chief priests and the guard.
The guard can easily be bought out with money. And the chief priests don't want to lose their status and the way that they make their money.
So they're willing to try to protect this or cover it up in whatever way that they can. Even robbing from the people that give to them to lie, to teach a false message.
So they're telling the guard, here's the story that you're going to give. You are to say, verse 13, that his disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.
And that's an absurd story because the people knew who
Jesus' disciples were. If you're talking about the 11 here, you're just limiting it to the 11. Who are
Jesus' disciples? Well, they're guys from Galilee. They're fishermen. And they're nobody impressive.
Nobody was impressed with the disciples. About 40 days from now, when they are going to be, well, it's a little longer than that, but when they're going to be sharing the gospel at Pentecost, the people are going to hear them speaking in tongues, and they're going to be like, how do these men know how to do this?
They're Galileans. They're uneducated men. And we hear them all speaking in everybody's language so that we may understand what it is that they're saying.
So even at Pentecost, when Peter is there preaching the gospel for the very first time, the people are still flabbergasted by the fact that these are unimpressive men who are doing this incredible thing.
And so the people are not just going to buy the soldiers' word that, well, the disciples came by night and, you know, knocked us all out.
They're not even going to say that, knocked us all out. The soldiers won't do anything like that that's going to embarrass them, because that would reflect on them very negatively.
Notice that the chief priest goes on to say, if this is heard before the governor, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.
Because it was understood that if a Roman guard failed at their job, what was the penalty for that?
They would have been put to death. We read about that in Acts 16, where you have
Paul and Silas in Philippi who are thrown in prison.
And if you'll remember this story, as Paul and Silas are singing hymns from their jail cell, there's an earthquake.
All the jail cell doors fly open. The Philippian jailer comes in, and when he sees all the doors open, he pulls out his sword to kill himself.
Because if it had been under his watch that all these prisoners had escaped, then he would have been embarrassed by having let them get out.
The Roman government would come against him and his family, and he would be made a public spectacle. So to save himself and his family from all this embarrassment, he just decided to off himself.
But before he runs himself through, Paul calls out, Don't harm yourself, for we're all still here.
Paul and Silas had even convinced the other prisoners to stay. Let's remain. And so the
Philippian jailer becomes a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ after hearing the gospel from Paul and Silas.
So there, that's an account where if a Roman soldier could not do their job, even guarding prisoners in that particular account, then they were going to be killed by the
Roman government. This was a guard that was set at the tomb. They placed a seal over the stone that was placed at the tomb.
So you would have these ropes that were probably tied across the stone, and then a huge thing of wax would have been put on there, and it would have had the emperor's seal on it, or maybe pilot's seal.
The governor's seal would have been there on the wax, showing that this tomb is secure.
And if anybody's going to roll the stone away, well, they have to break this seal. And the seal is broken, and the stone is rolled away, and the body of Jesus is gone.
Now again, the soldiers did not see the body of Jesus come out, but they testified to the angel, the earthquake, and the fact that when they came to, there was no body in the tomb.
And so the chief priests are convincing them, you're going to tell people that the disciples came by night and stole him away while they were asleep, which nobody's going to believe.
Nobody's going to believe that they came against an armed Roman guard and stole the body out in the night, even by themselves, had broken the seal, had rolled away the stone, had stolen the body, let alone fighting off this guard.
So it was going to be a hard sell to the people anyway. And once this story starts circulating, well, if he gets back to the governor, then these soldiers are going to be in big trouble.
So how is it that you can even buy their confidence that they're going to go out and tell this story?
Well, they say to the soldiers, if this word comes before the governor, we'll win him over and we'll keep you out of trouble.
So in other words, the priests are going to go to the governor and say, hey, listen, here's what they said happened. We paid them off and we told them to tell this story.
And so that's why that's going on. It's still going to be a big mess for the governor. And he's surely, you know, sitting there at his desk or table or whatever with his head in his hands, just thinking about how big a mess this is and how it's a lose lose situation for him.
Well, I could punish the soldiers, but then I'm acknowledging this body rose from the dead or these disciples were able to rise up against these soldiers and beat them.
And that is probably going to stir up the zealots among the Jews that will think, hey, we can fight back these
Roman soldiers now because look what these Galileans were able to do. So, yeah, surely a big mess for everybody who just wouldn't admit the truth that Jesus rose from the dead, that he who was crucified by us on Friday came back to life on Sunday.
Surely this is the son of God. That would be the easy way to testify to these things.
But that's not what that's not what we get from the parties that are involved here. In this particular account, verses 11 to 15, we have the testimony of Jesus enemies themselves that verify
Jesus rose from the dead. They're going to try to cover it up with lies. They don't want to acknowledge it because it means everything that Jesus said and taught was legitimately from God.
But we don't want to have to acknowledge that. So we're going to say this story and try to keep the people placated and under our influence instead of following after this
Galilean who is now risen from the dead. So in verse 15, the soldiers took the money and they did as had been instructed.
And this story was widely spread among the Jews and is to this day.
Now, there's several different ways that we can take this. That statement from Matthew right there. This story is widely spread among the
Jews and is to this day. What story? Is it what we just read here in verses 11 to 15?
So not just the fact that the soldiers were testifying to the disciples coming in the night and then stealing away the body.
That story is being circulated among the Jews. But even among the Jews, they know about this conference that was held between these disciples and the chief priests who were buying them off and telling them, this is the story that you're going to circulate.
Like is it all of this, not just the story that the soldiers came out with, but even the fact that the
Pharisees, the chief priests had bought them off so that they would go out and tell this story.
I tend to lean toward that. It's all of the above. It's 11 through 15. Everything that we're reading about here is the story that has been circulated among the
Jews, which means something. Because as Matthew says here, this story was widely spread among the
Jews and is to this day. Here's what that means. Somebody squealed. One of these soldiers surely is like,
I'm not going to let people think that the disciples came and stole the body. That's ridiculous. I'm a soldier.
I'm an armed Roman soldier and these crazy fishermen came and knocked us all out and then stole
Jesus' body in the middle of the night. Come on. So somebody among those soldiers had to have been the one to say, well, here's what happened.
And maybe it could have been somebody who even became a believer. They were skeptical.
They mocked Jesus while he was hanging on the cross. But then after rising from the dead, they changed their minds.
Remember, we had read an account of a soldier that was there at the cross who's seeing all these things that had happened.
The darkness that came over the land for three hours, the earthquake, the death of Jesus. And there he is standing saying, surely this was the son of God.
So you probably had some Roman soldier converts there that then go out from this place a little bit richer.
They got some money from the chief priest. Maybe they didn't know where the money came from. But they come away from that with a little bit of money and they're able to tell people, yeah, well, guess what happened?
We got knocked out by an angel. These chief priests tried to pay us off to say that the body didn't rise from the dead.
But I know what I saw. I saw an angel. And that's the most likely account that's going to come from those soldiers.
And that's just kind of understanding human nature, right? Look at the way that things are going on in our culture now. And people love unexplained phenomenon.
They love the supernatural stuff. It's why some of these supernatural podcasts have become so incredibly popular.
It's why, you know, Sid Roth's show Supernatural is so popular, even though it's just chock full of lies, because people love supernatural explanations and people are utterly baffled when those supernatural things happen to them.
They don't keep quiet about it. They're trying to find answers for it. And so these soldiers,
I find it really, really hard to believe. Just understanding human nature. I find it hard to believe that those soldiers did not go out and tell people what they saw when an angel appeared and an earthquake happened and then suddenly the body of Jesus was gone.
Who's going to keep quiet about that? So all of these things had been circulated among the
Jews to this day, Matthew says, at the time that he wrote this, which would have been a dozen or more years after the resurrection of Jesus.
I think it was who was the who was the historian, the church historian, Eusebius, Eusebius is considered to be the father of church history.
And according to Eusebius, Matthew wrote his gospel about 12 years after the resurrection of Christ.
And so it could be like 12 to 15 years. I don't buy the late dating theory. Becky and I talked about this in a recent
Q &A because the it was Bill Maher, who has another show on YouTube, was talking with a famous actor.
And he said that, you know, the gospel of Matthew was written 40 years after Jesus rose from the dead.
He said 80, 70. But that's not true at all. It was written much earlier than that. And according to Eusebius, it was written within a dozen years of Jesus rising from the dead.
So at the time that Matthew writes this over a decade later, it is still being circulated among the
Jews. Everybody knows about this account. The body of Jesus is gone.
His tomb is empty. And here's how that played out between the soldiers and the chief priests. And everybody knew about that.
They knew of this account. And Matthew is even writing down something that as people are reading his gospel, they're going to be going, yep,
I've heard that story. I've heard that being circulated around. It would have been enough for Matthew to just write that there and have knowledge of it because the
Holy Spirit gave it to him. That would have been enough. That's credible enough.
You know, as we read in 2 Peter 1 that men did not write what they wanted to write, but the Holy Spirit led them to write down what
God wanted them to write. So it would have been enough for Matthew to put that. And under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he would know whether that event actually took place.
But Matthew is writing down what is commonly known among the people. This is what transpired between the priests and the soldiers on that day, giving all the more credibility to the fact that the tomb is empty and Jesus had risen from the dead.
The best story that his enemies could come up with was that his disciples stole the body in the middle of the night.
Now notice who we have not seen here yet in this account. We have not seen the disciples.
You have the women who were the first at the tomb, and they run back and tell the disciples. You have the guard and the chief priests who are even testifying to the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead.
And there's no mention of the disciples until they leave here and go to Galilee and see
Jesus there on a mountain in Galilee, who then gives them the great commission. That's the last part of the
Gospel of Matthew that we have to study, and that's the part that we're going to come back to tomorrow.
You know, it is quite evident here that the chief priests themselves are convinced that Jesus has risen from the dead, or else the soldiers would have been punished instead of paid off.
But the fact that they paid off the soldiers just further testifies, we know what really happened.
The fact that Jesus really lived, really died, and really rose from the dead is historical fact.
These are not the wild fancies of a mythical religion. We don't believe by blind faith.
We believe what has actually been seen and verified as true, as having actually happened.
Because my friends, if it didn't actually happen, we don't have any hope. There is no hope for us that we're going to have our sins forgiven and we will live forever with God unless these things really took place.
Jesus really died, really rose again. And now we can know that by faith in him, our sins are forgiven and we likewise will receive the resurrection of the dead.
Consider what Peter said in 2 Peter 1, verse 16, for we did not make known to you the power and coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly devised myths, but being eyewitnesses to his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to him by the majestic glory, this is my beloved son with whom
I am well pleased. And of course, Peter is talking about the transfiguration there, which we had considered earlier in Matthew.
Peter says, and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with him and on the holy mountain.
And we have as more sure the prophetic word to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
Know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture comes by one's own interpretation. For no one prophecy was ever made by the will of man, but men being moved by the
Holy Spirit spoke from God. This is God's word that we have for us today.
Now what are you going to do with it? We're going to give a little bit more application to this with the close of the gospel of Matthew tomorrow.
Heavenly father, we thank you so much for what we have read here and made that very thing happen for us, that the morning star arises in our hearts, that we, we have the light of Christ illuminating our minds and our hearts, that we may understand the will of God and what we are to do today.
That is pleasing unto you, oh Lord, lead us in paths of righteousness.
For your name's sake, keep us from evil, deliver us into your kingdom. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
Pastor Gabe keeps a regular blog, sharing personal thoughts, alerting readers to false teachers and offering commentary on the church and social issues.
You can find a link to the blog through our website, www .utt .com. Thank you for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue our study in God's word when we understand the text.