Where do you live?

Published 4:06 pm Thursday, April 13, 2023

By R.A. Tea Mathews

 

In 1994, “The Fugitive” won seven Oscars, telling the tale of a man wrongfully convicted. Dr. Kimble escapes and by doing so becomes a problem for the actual murderer. 

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The story reminded me of the chief priests of Jesus’ day. After the conviction and crucifixion of our Lord, the chief priests faced something much more sobering. The man they had put to death was alive!

On that Sunday morning, Jerusalem suffered a massive earthquake—the second one in three days. The same morning, the chief priests learned that Jesus had walked free from the tomb. Do you remember who told them?

  1. An angel.
  2. Some of the Roman guards.
  3. Pilate.
  4. The Pharisees and Sadducees.
  5. None of the above.

Consider your choices and lock in your answer. Here’s the passage:

On the morning of the Resurrection, “…some of the men from the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.” (Matthew 28:11) 

The correct answer is No. 2. 

What did the soldiers tell the chief priests?

  1. That an angel asked the women to come and see where Jesus was lying.
  2. That an army of angels rolled back the stone and the soldiers fled.
  3. That the soldiers fell asleep.
  4. None of the above.

Look over your choices and lock in your answer. Here’s the passage:

Scripture says the women had come to the tomb after a severe earthquake. 

“And behold, an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook from fear of him and became like dead men. And the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.’” (Matthew 28:1-6)

The correct answer is No. 1.

But the chief priests were callous. None of this seemed to frighten them. Remember, these men weren’t satisfied that Jesus was crucified. They had gone to the cross and mocked Him. (Matthew 28:41-43)

The chief priests were not men of God. Rome had appointed them to control the temple. No Jew wanted trouble with the chief priests, which could get you banned from the temple. God had commanded His people to celebrate certain events three times a year, and those celebrations occurred at the temple in Jerusalem. (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Rome knew about this verse, giving the chief priests a life of privilege and power, as long as they kept the Jewish people in line. 

What did the chief priests do with the Roman guard?

  1. Reported them to Pilate.
  2. Bribed them to spread lies.
  3. Put them in prison.
  4. Stoned them.

Consider your choices and lock in your answer. Here’s the passage:

… (the chief priests) gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were asleep.” (Matthew 28:12-14)

The problem with lies is that they miss the details. If the disciples had taken Jesus’ body, why were the strips of burial linen and the face cloth still in the tomb?

Jesus was alive! 

The chief priests could have repented. They could have knelt in awe. But they continued to focus on what was best for them. And that was to deny His living presence.

Perhaps you know men and women like the chief priests. Those who claim to love God but are determined to have their way. These people frustrate God to no end. They don’t need His guidance, focused instead on what’s best for them, their family, their career. 

But the Lord sees your deeds and hears your words. He knows if you’re living your life loving Him. 

God knows if you check in with Him throughout the day. He rejoices when you lift your eyes to heaven and say, “Hi, Abba!”

I remember reading how one Christian began repeating a Psalm to meet the time commitment for the CDC hand washing. How wonderful!

Write and tell me what you do; how you make certain you’re consciously aware of God throughout your day. Tell me what you’re teaching your children.

The Lord is present with you. Live your life for Him. 

The Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Hello@RAMathews.com to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.

Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.