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.
Several years ago, I watched a delightful (if slightly creepy) movie titled 'Wag the Dog". In it, a team of spin doctors can manipulate the truth so expertly that they can make the public swallow any lie. In our story today, we find the Jewish spin doctors at work, manipulating the events of Jesus' death so expertly, Jews, even today, don't believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead.
In today's passage, the guards stationed at the tomb tell the chief priests all that had happened, including the angel's appearance and the empty tomb. The guards, who had witnessed the supernatural events surrounding Jesus' resurrection, were shaken by what they had experienced. The response of the religious authorities is revealing. They gather with the elders and devise a plan to cover up the truth. They bribe the soldiers with a large sum of money, instructing them to spread a false narrative: that the disciples had come during the night and stolen Jesus' body while they were asleep.
This incident highlights the desperate attempts of those in power to preserve their position and control over the people. The religious leaders, who had vehemently opposed Jesus during his ministry and played a role in his crucifixion, now find themselves faced with undeniable evidence of his resurrection. Instead of embracing the truth and acknowledging the power of God at work, they choose deception and manipulation to maintain their authority.
The same thing happens in the church today, where many people in power do whatever they can to cling to it, even subverting the truth if it serves their purpose. We must be careful not to be taken in by their lies. In the movie I spoke about, the spin doctor asks: "Why does a dog wag its tail?" "Because the dog is smarter than the tail," is the reply. "If the tail was smarter, it would wag the dog." So, when the tail wags the dog, the inference is that the tail is smarter. So, we Christians, who are invited to be the dog, are stupid. Let us not let the tail wag the dog. Let us not let the liars subvert the truth. And let us proclaim it with great boldness.
May the Spirit be with you.