I. THIS EXCUSE DECEIVED NOBODY.
1. It did not deceive the watchmen; they must have laughed as they looked into the anxious faces of these officials, and pocketed their hush money.
2. It did not deceive the priest party. They knew perfectly well that it was all their own invention, and never a disciple had touched the body.
3. It did not deceive Pilate, to whom the report was sure to come. He enjoyed the confusion of the men who had mastered him and compelled him to do a wrong.
4. It did not deceive the disciples. For they bad absolutely silent consciences, and the idea of stealing the body had never come to them.
5. It does not deceive us; for we can see that making such a lying excuse is just what the priest party was capable of; but stealing the body is just what the disciples were incapable of.
II. THIS EXCUSE DID NOT HELP THOSE WHO MADE IT. It did not touch the fact that the body was gone. It did not prevent the circulation of the report that Jesus was risen from the dead. These men spent their money for nothing, and only made themselves laughing stocks.
III. THIS EXCUSE DID HELP THOSE AGAINST WHOM IT WAS MADE. It drew attention to the disciples; it set men upon inquiring what had really happened; it made the fact of miraculous resurrection stand out all the more clearly. - R.T.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee.I. Is THE WORLD'S NEED ANY LESS NOW THAN IT WAS THEN? The needs of the human soul are still unsupplied by any material satisfactions. The conscience of the world is still troubled with the old problem, "How shall man be just with God." If the gospel be withheld from the knowledge of mankind the problem remains insoluble. The misery of man is great upon him still. "Go ye therefore," etc. Tell men that God loves them. Such is the great commission.
1. Look at its universality.
2. Look at its intellectual character, "Go teach all nations." The gospel is an appeal to human intelligence.
3. Consider its gentleness. The Divine condescension in act of bending down to reach men, disciple them.
II. ARE THE ENCOURAGEMENTS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO PUT THEMSELVES INSTANTLY IN A WAY OF OBEDIENCE TO THIS LAST COMMAND IN ANY DEGREE LESS THAN THEY WERE AT FIRST? The followers of Christ had heavenly power on their side then. Has it waned? "Go," even if you doubt. Once before our Lord had seen the world and its kingdoms "from a high mountain." The race shall enter into the kingdoms of the world.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
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