While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Matthew 28: 11 – 15
Right from the day of Jesus resurrection, the story of new life was under attack from lies. The utter joy of the disciples contrasted totally with the fear of the soldiers and the religious authorities. From their point of view, it must have felt never-ending – they had condemned, killed, and buried Jesus. They had sealed the tomb. They had set Roman soldiers to guard it, and the soldiers had been knocked out by an earthquake and light from heaven. At no point, though, do the authorities seem to have stopped and said… ‘hold on, what if he really is the Messiah!’ No, it was more important to stick to their story, even if it involved bribing and suborning the soldiers.
Sometimes, when we know or suspect we’re wrong, we just keep on fighting, until we find ourselves lying and doing things we would not usually think of doing. It becomes so important not to be seen to change our minds, not to admit we were wrong, that we make the situation worse and worse, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole. It can ruin relationships and destroy good things. By doing this, the priests were cutting themselves off from grace, forgiveness, and redemption, destroying their own future. They didn’t have the grace to admit they were wrong, and they turned away from God’s glory.
Prayer: Lord, please give me the grace and humility to admit when I’m wrong, to you and to all those around me. Help me to see clearly, and to value your truth, and give me your courage to apologise when I have no courage myself. For your glory, Amen.
Action: think about whether there is a relationship in your life, whether at work, home or in leisure, that could be healed by an apology.