September 16, 2015
The angel said, ""Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as he said."" (Mt 28:5-6)Now while they were on their way, 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 consulted 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.'"" (Mt. 28:11-13)To study the Pharisees is to discover something that is in many hearts and often in our own heart perhaps. They were aggressive unbelievers. And their unbelief took them to incredible lengths to try to keep disproving this Jesus as the Messiah.THE BIGGEST TRUTH AND BIGGEST LIEThe greatest miracle (the resurrection) called for the greatest deception. The soldiers at the tomb were the only ones who had firsthand knowledge of what had happened. They were physically present when Jesus broke from that tomb and when the angels came from heaven and literally rolled the stone away in glorious array. It was so real to them that ""they shook for fear of him and became like dead men."" (vs. 4)But the Pharisees had concocted a storyline about Jesus that He was not the Messiah, just a mere imposter. So they paid the guards to lie about what they had seen with their own eyes.Why? Why not just embrace the obvious realization that Jesus was who He said He was and bow before the Lord of heaven and earth?THE TANGLED WEB OF PRIDE AND POSITIONThe Pharisees, in their pride, had position. They were the elite among society. This afforded them money, power, and a supposed level of authority and status among the people. They were SOMEBODY, at least in their own eyes. In a sense, they were self-made LORDS and they did not want to give that position to anyone else. When any of us love our positions wrongly, we will go to almost any lengths to protect our status.What's amazing, is that they did not realize that if they would bow before the King in humility, God would exalt them to be ""kings and priests"" in His heavenly kingdom. If we ""humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God"" He will ""exalt us in due time"" (1 Peter 5). But theses religious “leaders"" wanted their piece of the pie right then. They were unwilling to bend the knee. I hope they enjoyed their moment of self-glory, for it was all they would get for all of eternity.THE HONESTY OF SIMPLE FAITH
There is a great value in simply believing. Of laying your self-made crown before His feet. And out of that faith, bending the knee and acknowledging the Christ as King of Kings and Lord of every Lord. There is a simple joy in accepting the risen Christ for who He said He is and proved to be. No need to lie and deceive and make up things to tell others. Just the joy of knowing and following Him who is Lord of heaven and earth.
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