Yesterday at CrossHope Chapel we completed our study through the book of Matthew when we opened to its final chapter. In Matthew 28 we dealt with the resurrection of Jesus and the Great Commission.
One of the things that caught our attention was Matthew’s account of how the soldiers were bribed by the priests to lie and report that the disciples stole Jesus’ body out of the tomb while they were sleeping.
In particular, we noted the statement in Matthew 28:15 that this story was “widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.”
The fact is that these Jews who believed this lie and continued to share this lie, didn’t want to know the truth. They had predetermined, like the High Priest, that Jesus was not the Messiah and He would never be the Messiah, in their eyes.
It has always been a wonder to me that men so willingly accept and perpetrate the thinking of other men as truth. Too often we act as parrots rather than as the thinking humans God created in His own image.
However, the natural question in light of Matthew 28:15 is, How should we address this lie that Jesus’ body was stolen and that He was not resurrected?
The answer is that we address it as the Apostle Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:5–8 when he pointed out that there was many witnesses who saw the resurrected Lord Jesus, proving that He was alive and there was no deceased body to be stolen.
I had made mention of this yesterday in our study but here I want to share the references of those the resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to:
- To Mary Magdalene at the tomb (Mark 16:9; John 20:11–18)
- The women on the road (Matthew 28:9-10)
- The disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–32)
- The Apostle Peter (Luke 24:34)
- To 10 of the 11 disciples, Thomas being absent (Luke 24:36–43; Mark 16:14; John 20:19–25)
- The 11 disciples (with Thomas present) a week later (John 20:26–31)
- To seven disciples by the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1–25)
- To more than 500 disciples, probably on a mountain in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15:6)
- To James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
- The apostles when He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:3–11)
- To the Apostle Paul, after His ascension, (1 Corinthians 15:8)
- To the Apostle John on Patmos, after His ascension (Revelation 1:10-18)
- The next time Jesus appears it will be in glory to you and I and all looking for the blessed hope (Matthew 24:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
For me, Matthew was a great study through the life of Christ and an understanding of the Kingdom of God. The final chapters that portrayed the final scenes of Jesus’ ministry were very moving to me as well and a reminder that it does the Christian faith good to reflect on those final events of Christ’s life.
This coming Sunday, November 7th, we will open to Revelation 1 for an introduction to our historical and prophetic study series through the Apocalypse.