Sermon: The Lies of This World Order Matthew 28:11-15

Truth Taught- The domain of darkness will always try to hide the truth of God by any means possible

Introduction

We have come to a short section that only appears in Matthew’s Gospel.  The account of the lie of the Jews with the help of the Roman guards is an account that only appears in Matthew.  The question that we must ask is why?  Why does Matthew write about this?

Matthew’s Gospel, if you remember, is the Gospel that is written with the Jew in mind.  It’s written to those who already know the traditions and practices of Judaism at the time of Jesus.  These Jews have been accustomed to hearing this lie perhaps all their lives.  Maybe they have grown up believing that Jesus was an imposter and that His disciples, to better perpetrate the resurrection hoax, stole His body. 

So, to clear up this lie, Matthew has been building his case to show all who will listen, especially his fellow Jews that Jesus is the Messiah and that He really did rise from the dead.

How does Matthew build his case?  He reports what the Jewish concern was after Jesus had died on the cross.  They were concerned that because He had taught the people that He would rise from the dead that at some point His followers would want to fake this and would come a steal the body of Jesus.  So they could promote the hoax and gain support for Jesus’ cause.  It’s a great irony that this is exactly what the Jewish leadership does.  They start the circulation of a false story concerning this very thing.

How do they remedy this fear?  They send guards to the tomb and seal the stone with a Roman seal. 

Matthew tells us the behind the scene events so that we will understand what is happening in our text for today.  

Matthew is out to persuade these Jews who have been the ones among whom this lie had been perpetuated all their lives.  story has been spread among the Jews to this day. 

Matthew wrote his Gospel around 55-60AD roughly 30 years or so after the resurrection.  So, these lies had been being told and being believed by Jews all that time.  Matthew is out to set the record straight. 

Notice how God always tells the truth.  His Word, the holy Scriptures always report truth.  God has nothing to hide.  Satan always lies.  His words cannot be trusted.  He is the king of deception and falsehood.  He is a liar and has always been a liar.  

Matthew wants everyone to know how it really happened.

The people had been told lies…this is the original fake news.  Anything no matter how true it is, if it goes against their lies would have been labelled disinformation.  The media of the day telling lies for their advantage.  You see the Jews could continue getting rich and they could stay in power as long as the people believed this lie.  The disciples would have been labeled conspiracy theorists.  They would have been removed from Facebook and Twitter.  Their Youtube channels would have been taken down because the truth did not further the opposition’s narrative so like Jesus, His resurrection had to be written off somehow.  They did it with a lie.  The absolute truth of the resurrection would be labeled disinformation.  

Matthew 27:62–66 (ESV) 

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. 

Pray-

Matthew 28:11–15 (ESV) 

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. 

1.  The Guards Tell the Chief Priests About the Resurrection (28:11)

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.

Here we are given the second message the apangelion.  Angels are God’s messengers coming from the word angelos here we have the same word employed apangelion meaning message.  

The angel and the women have a message of hope and joy.  Go and tell His disciples that He has risen.  What

See I have told you…Angelos
Go and tell His disciples…Apangelion
Go and tell My brothers…Apangelion

Matthew 28:7–10 (ESV) 

Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” 

However, when the guards go and tell the Chief Priests about the resurrection, it’s not good news to them.  It was an account they would seek to cover up.  Next week, Lord willing we are going to read the commission Jesus gives us…Go and tell.  Go and tell others this good news.  Good news that Christ lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, was dead and buried, rose on the third day as He said He would.  

For many, this Gospel message is not good news.  It was not good news for the guards and not good news for those Jews that day.  According to them, the truth must be taken down.  The truth must be cancelled, removed, not allowed to be made public.

2.  Deception, Bribery and Promised Protection from Authorities (28:12-15)

12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. 

Before we look into this passage, I want us to see the clash of two Kingdoms here.  For the Kingdom of God, the resurrection is wonderful news.  It is through the death and resurrection of Jesus God unites His people to Himself.  It is Good News.  However, for the kingdom of this world it is not good news.  In fact, it is in the death and resurrection of Jesus that the kingdom of this world is once and for all defeated.  Satan’s realm has lost. 
The women are going with a message of life and the guards with a message of failure and death.  

We must make sure we understand that Judaism in and around the Temple in Jerusalem is aligned with Satan, not God.  However, they would claim to be on the side of God.  They look very religious but they are not on God’s side.  Jesus has already cursed them and told them that they are liars just like their father, the devil.  

The cover up story is fabricated.  I want to say, that this is probably about the best story they could come up with in a short time but its not a very good story.

First, soldiers do not all fall asleep while on guard and they definitely don’t fall asleep at the same time.  You are sent to guard a tomb from grave robbers, essentially.  You don’t all sleep at the same time.  Soldiers don’t do that.  In those days if you’re a soldier and you lose what you’re supposed to be keeping safe you lose your life.  Soldiers did not all sleep at the same time.  Second, if you were sleeping and a group of people show up and start to move this giant stone away, you’re going to hear it and wake up.  So, they want people to believe that Jesus’ disciples show up in secret at night with torches and in whispers start to roll the stone away remove the body and slip away with no one waking up?  This is not a very good story.

As we live in this fallen world, understand this is how the kingdom of darkness operates.  It doesn’t really ever change its tactics, does it?  People are different, names and places might change but the general strategies of this world’s kingdom really don’t change.

This kingdom of darkness is losing and in fact has already lost.  Notice some of the strategies this evil world order uses and see if you can recognize them in our day.

The kingdom of darkness uses fear and is afraid.  Notice they are afraid of the governor; afraid of Pilate but not afraid of God.  It’s as if, in their minds, God does not exist.  Sound familiar?  If they can convince people that there is no God and that the government can be bought there is no accountability.  These corrupt people use money to bribe the guards into following their lies and telling their lies.  For them and for the evil world kingdom today, getting what they want, success in their eyes is worth lying, stealing, deceiving, bribery and any other evil vise.  To them, the ends justifies the means.  For this world order, even murder is acceptable if it gets you what you want.  They murdered Jesus.  They accused Him falsely, they brought in false witnesses, they knowingly condemned an innocent man.   

That’s a picture of the world and how it operates.  We must realize this.  They are doing what they’re doing and they know while they are doing it, it’s wrong.

Scribes, Chief Priests, and Elders know its wrong to lie, to bribe, to deceive, to make payoffs etc and they do it anyway.  They are not God’s people but Satan’s people.  The kingdom of this world is in opposition to the Kingdom of God. 

These corrupt people make behind closed doors deals and pay people to lie and operate through fear and the reality is, there is something happening that this world cannot stop as hard as it tries.  You see, there are already two believers.  The two Marys have hold of Jesus and they are worshipping Him.  He will soon to meet His disciples.  He’s soon to appear to the five-hundred that Paul will speak of.  He just keeps appearing and they cannot stop it.  The best they can do is fabricate a bad story to try and cover it up.

We look around today and it seems like this world’s kingdom is winning.  We see sinners who prosper.  We see politicians who lie and then lie again and again to cover up their previous lies and it seems they have all the power.  We see non-Christians who seem happy.  However, it’s been my experience that this is not actually the case.  You see the reality is they all know the truth.  They know that their lives are really nothing.  Their lives are empty.    

Conclusion

As we conclude here are some things, we can take away from this short text…
The lost world, the kingdom of this world is losing and the best it can do is try to hide the truth any way it can.  I want you to be able to spot their tactics and not be taken in by them. 
This fallen evil world operates in Fear, Corruption and Lies.  Listen beloved, that’s all they have.  Their operating system is fueled by denial of the truth and realize at times, they are pretty good at it.  Anyone or any system that denies that Jesus is the Christ, is of the anti-Christ.

1 John 2:22 (ESV) 

22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 

My prayer is that we believe the truth.  There are lies all around us.  We must sort through them and hold onto truth in this evil and sinful world. 

Trust God’s Word it is truth.  Believe and live.

Benediction:

Numbers 6:24–27 (ESV) 

24  The Lord bless you and keep you; 

25  the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 

26  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. 

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” 

Resources Used:

Matthew 28:11-15 by Domonic Smart

Matthew by RT France

Matthew by Leon Morris

Matthew by Hendriksen

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