MATTHEW 28:11-15 FALSEHOOD AND BRIBERY
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
While good people were active, bad people were active, too. Some of the watch, having recovered from their fright, came into the city to report the startling scenes they had witnessed. It is noteworthy that they did not go to Pilate; they had been placed at the disposal of the chief priests, and therefore, while some of them remained on guard at the sepulcher, others of the soldiers went to their ecclesiastical employers, and showed unto them all the things that were done, so far as they knew the particulars. A startling story they had to tell; and one that brought fresh terror to the priests, and led to further sin on their part. 12-15. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among. the Jews until this day.
For money Christ was betrayed, and for money the truth about his resurrection was kept back as far as it could be: They gave large money unto the soldiers. Money has had a hardening effect on some of the highest servants of God, and all who have to touch the filthy lucre have need to pray for grace to keep them from being harmed by being brought into contact with it.
The lie put into the soldiers’ mouths was so palpable that no one ought to have been deceived by it: “Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. ” A Roman soldier would have committed suicide sooner than confess that he had slept at his post of duty. If they were asleep, how did they know what happened? The chief priests and elders were not afraid of Pilate hearing of their lie; or if he did, they knew that golden arguments would be as convincing with him as with the common soldiers: “If this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. ” The soldiers acted just as many men have continued to do from their day to ours: They took the money, and did as they were taught. “What makes a doctrine straight and clear?
About five hundred pounds a year,” is an “old saw “that can be “reset “today. How much even of religious teaching can be accounted for by the fact that “they took the money”!
There are many who make high professions of godliness, who would soon give them up if they did not pay. May none of us ever be affected by considerations of profit and loss in matters of doctrine, matters of duty, and matters of right and wrong! And this saying is commonly reported among the Jesus unto this day. This lie, which had not a leg to stand upon, lived on till Matthew wrote his Gospel, and long afterwards. Nothing lives so long as a lie, except the truth; we cannot kill either the truth or a lie, therefore let us beware of ever starting a falsehood on its terrible career. Let us never teach even the least error to a little child, for it may live on and become a great heresy long after we are dead.
The modern philosophy, which is thrust forward to cast a slur upon the great truths of revelation, is no more worthy of credence than this lie put into the mouths of the soldiers; yet common report gives it currency, and amongst a certain clique it pays.
16, 17. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
Notice those words, the eleven disciples. There were twelve; but Judas, one of the twelve, had gone to his own place; and Peter, who had denied his Lord, had been restored to his place among the apostles. The eleven went away into Galilee, to the trysting-place their Lord had fixed: into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Jesus always keeps his appointments, so he met the company that assembled at the selected spot: and when they saw him, they worshipped him. Seeing their Lord, they began to adore him, end to render divine honors to him, for to them he was God: but some doubted. Where will not Mr. Doubting and other members of his troublesome family be found? We can never expect to be quite free from doubters in the Church, since even in the presence of the newly risen Christ “some doubted.” Yet the Lord revealed himself to the assembled company, although he knew that some among them would doubt that it was really their Lord who was risen from the dead.
Probably this was the occasion referred to by Paul, when the risen Savior “was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” It was evidently a meeting for which he had made a special appointment, and his own words to the women, following those of the angel, seem to point this out as the one general assembly of his Church on earth before he ascended to his Father. Those who gathered were, therefore, a representative company; and the words addressed to them were spoken to the one Church of Jesus Christ throughout all time. 18-20. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
What a truly royal speech our King made to his loyal subjects! What a contrast was this scene in Galilee to the groans in Gletheemane and the gloom of Golgotha! Jesus claimed omnipotence and universal sovereignty: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. ” This is part of the reward of his humiliation ( Philippians 2:6-10). On the cross he was proclaimed King of the Jews; but when John saw him, in his apocalyptic vision, “on his head were many crowns,” and on his vesture and on his thigh he had a name written, KING OF KINGS,AND LORD OF LORDS.
By virtue of his kingly authority, he issued this last great command to His disciples: “Go ye therefore, and teach ” or, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. ” This is our commission as well as theirs. From it we learn that our first business is to make disciples of all nations, and we can only do that by teaching them the truth as it is revealed in the Scriptures, and seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to make our teaching effective in those we try to instruct in divine things. Next, those who by faith in Christ become his disciples are to be baptized into the name of the Triune Jehovah; and after baptism they are still to be taught all that Christ commanded. We are not to invent anything new; nor to change anything to suit the current of the age; but to teach the baptized believers to observe “all things whatsoever” our Divine Thing has commanded.
This is the perpetual commission of the Church of Christ; and the great seal of the Kingdom attached to it, giving the power to execute it, and guaranteeing its success, is the King’s assurance of his continual presence with his faithful followers: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ” May all of us realize his presence with us until he Call us to be with him, “for ever with the Lord”! Amen.