Peter Barnes : Matthew 27:62-66; 28:2-4, 11-15
SERMON NOTES: UNWITTING TESTIMONY
Matthew 27:62-28:15 gives us two reports about the resurrection of Jesus: a true report from some women and a false report comes from some guards. Note 2 Cor.13:8.
In 1951 C. S. Lewis wrote on evolution: ‘What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders.’ This is somewhat similar.
- Jesus’ enemies guard against the truth.
– 27:62-66. They would have had in mind a teaching such as Matthew 12:40.
– the Sadducees and Pharisees get what they want: a seal, a stone slab across the entrance, and guards to keep away body-snatchers. The word for ‘secure’ is found in three successive verses (vv.64, 65, 66).
The disciples were in no condition – physically or psychologically – to have stolen the body – Matt.26:31; Luke 24:19-23; John 20:19. They could not and would not have stolen the body.
- The guards are overwhelmed.
- Falsehood is determined to never learn.
– 28:11-15. The guards were in trouble – Acts 16:26-28; 27:42. There is no way that guards would have slept through a raid on a tomb. Chrysostom: ‘They can’t even lie plausibly!’ In the second century the Jew, Trypho, repeated this claim that the disciples stole the body of Jesus as did Hugh Schonfield in The Passover Plot in 1965.
There are only two options: the women witnessed the empty tomb and the resurrected Christ or the disciples stole the body. There is a seal, a stone, guards, bribes, deception and lies – yet still God breaks in.