What Jesus Did! 'Scam vs. Alive' — Matthew 28:12-15

Friday, December 29, 2017

Then the priests met with the older Jewish leaders and made a plan. They paid the soldiers much money {to tell a lie}. They said to the soldiers, "Tell the people that Jesus' followers came during the night and stole the body while you were sleeping. If the governor hears about this, we will satisfy him and save you from trouble." So the soldiers kept the money and obeyed the priests. And that story is still spread among the Jews even today.
— Matthew 28:12-15
Illustration of Matthew 28:12-15 — "Tell the people that Jesus' followers came during the night and stole the body while you were sleeping. If the governor hears about this, we will satisfy him and save you from trouble."

Key Thought

While the lack of courage of most of Jesus' disciples during his trial and crucifixion is horrible, it now serves a powerful purpose. "How can such ordinary men and women, who were once so afraid, suddenly find the power, courage, and influence to change a whole world?"
It's an important question. Is the resurrection of the disciples' hopes, dreams, courage, and passion more easily explained through their experiencing the resurrected Jesus or a plot to steal his body away in the middle of the night and then claim he was raised?
The incredible demonstration of the resurrection of Jesus is not Jesus' appearance to Thomas, but the life change that accompanied all those who saw Jesus risen from the tomb! While enemies of Jesus may have tried to stop the message, the disciples couldn't help themselves. They couldn't contain what they had experienced. They had to tell about what they had seen and heard: Jesus is raised from the dead.

Today's Prayer

O Mighty Rock, King of the Ages, you have seen your children be evangelistic and passionate to spread your message of good news. Please give your children boldness and courage and passion to share the message of the Gospel with those who have never yielded their lives in obedient faith. Please, Father, use me to bring others to the Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

The day after the Sabbath day was the first day of the week. At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and the other woman named Mary went to look at the tomb. At that time there was a very strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came from the sky. The angel went to the tomb and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then the angel sat on the stone. The angel was shining very bright like lightning. His clothes were white like snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were very afraid of the angel. They shook with fear and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Don't be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, the one that was killed on the cross. But Jesus is not here. He has risen from death, like he said he would. Come and see the place where his body was. And go quickly and tell his followers. Tell them: 'Jesus has risen from death. He is going into Galilee. He will be there before you. You will see him there.'" Then the angel said, "Now I have told you." So the women left the tomb quickly. They were afraid, but they were also very happy. They ran to tell his followers what happened. While the women were running to tell the followers, Jesus was standing there before them. Jesus said, "Hello!" The women went to Jesus. They held him at his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to the women, "Don't be afraid. Go and tell my brothers (followers) to go to Galilee. They will see me there." The women went to tell the followers. At the same time, some of the soldiers that were guarding the tomb went into the city. They went to tell the leading priests everything that happened. Then the priests met with the older Jewish leaders and made a plan. They paid the soldiers much money {to tell a lie}. They said to the soldiers, "Tell the people that Jesus' followers came during the night and stole the body while you were sleeping. If the governor hears about this, we will satisfy him and save you from trouble." So the soldiers kept the money and obeyed thepriests. And that story is still spread among the Jews even today.

Matthew 28:1-15

Related Scripture Readings

The Jewish leaders understood that Peter and John had no special training or education. But the leaders also saw that Peter and John were not afraid to speak. So the leaders were amazed. Then they realized that Peter and John had been with Jesus. They saw the crippled man standing there beside the two apostles. They saw that the man was healed. So they could say nothing against the apostles. The Jewish leaders told them to leave the meeting. Then the leaders talked to each other about what they should do. They said, "What shall we do with these men (the apostles)? Every person in Jerusalem knows that they have done a great miracle. This is clear. We cannot say it is not true. But we must make them afraid to talk to people about this man (Jesus). Then this problem will not spread among the people." So the Jewish leaders called Peter and John in again. They told the apostles not to say anything or to teach anything in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "What do you think is right? What would God want? Should we obey you or God? We cannot be quiet. We must tell people about the things we saw and heard."

Acts 4:13-21

And now, Lord, listen to what they are saying. They are trying to make us afraid! Lord, we are your servants. Help us to speak the things you want us to say without fear. Help us to be brave by showing us your power: make sick people well, give proofs, and make miracles happen by the power of Jesus, your holy servant." After the believers prayed, the place where they were meeting shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak God's message without fear.

Acts 4:29-31

Then Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand here in my side. Stop doubting and start believing." Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to Thomas, "You believe because you see me. Those people that believe without seeing me will be truly blessed."

John 20:27-29

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.