“Say ye, ‘His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. Matthew 28:13 KJV
“You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’” Matthew 28:13 NASB
The embarrassment of an empty tomb and the report of the watch did not leave the chief priests, elders, and Sanhedrin at a loss. They concocted the story which some still believe to this day: that the entire watch had fallen asleep and that fearful, cowardly disciples had come and stolen away the body. The lie was formulated, money was given to assure its success, and the report went out to deceive and blind men.
But other messengers were sent as well. The Lord sent out His own with an entirely different message: a message of life and future kingdom glory (vv 18-20). Theirs was not a message calculated to deceive or to blind men, but to make disciples and to teach them the truth of God. Rival messages still fill our world today. The only difference is that the one we bear, has His promise and power behind it.
Question to Consider:
- Notice how each Gospel writer ends His Gospel account. Matthew closes His record with the Lord Jesus on a mountain in Galilee. How does that contrast with Mark, Luke, and John? How is it consistent with each writer’s goal? Is there a progression from Gospel to Gospel?
- “I am with you alway” closes this Gospel. Matthew began His story with “Immanuel, God with us” (Matt 1:23). There is one additional significant time in Matthew when the Lord speaks of His assured presence. Where is it?
- What are some of the obvious weaknesses and inconsistencies in the account which the authorities devised to explain the empty tomb?