“The Greatest Lie Ever Told” Matthew 27:57-28:10

“The Greatest Lie Ever Told” Matthew 27:57-28:10


“The Greatest Lie Ever Told”

Matthew 27:57-28:10 | Pastor Richard C. Piatt II




Well, I hope he rose from the dead. You know, actually, I heard that his followers came and stole his body by night. And that’s why that tomb was empty. Isn’t that just really unlucky for us? Or he really did. and we have a living Savior. Take your Bible and turn with me to that very lie. And we find it in the passage in the Gospel according to Matthew. And I want us to look at Matthew chapter 28.

And Pastor Ryan read the account of Jesus being buried. He was dead. Although there are those who want to detract from the resurrection of our Lord to say that, well, you know, he really wasn’t dead. He only looked dead. Now there’s a lot of May I just use a deep theological word, baloney, about all of that? As if the Romans weren’t good at killing people. Like the idea that they really thought he was dead, but he wasn’t. Or let me put it even in another way, that maybe in just three days, after all that he went through, that he could be feeling good enough to come out of the tomb. I don’t think so. that he collapsed carrying the cross to Calvary, to Golgotha and every, no. But there would be those that would say that he wasn’t really dead.

But then that sword, you remember that sword? It was another biblical account, but a sword went into his side, pierced his side. He was dead. And so we read about that. And then we read at the beginning of chapter 28 about the Sabbath day. And as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary came to see the tomb and behold, there was a great earthquake. I love that. To grab everybody else’s attention in the Gospel of Matthew, if you remember, there are special key words like the word behold, and we’re going to see that today.

But There was a special earthquake that happened. And when Matthew uses that word, behold, he just wants you to to really pay attention. And so verse two of chapter twenty eight. And behold, there was a great earthquake. It wasn’t just a little earthquake. It was a great one. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it, his countenance. The only time that particular phrase is seen in the scripture, this angel and the way he appeared was like lightning. And his clothing is white as snow.

What a testimony. And the guards shook for fear of him. That is for fear of this angel with the lightning appearance, his countenance. And then it’s funny when it says and they became like dead men. That’s probably a euphemism for saying that they fainted. They just fainted and just boom, looked like they were dead. And they were down. Now, we had heard about those guys. And really this morning is a little bit about them. Because if you remember earlier in the preparation, when it says in verse 62 of chapter 27, and on the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests, the Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that while he was still alive, how that he how that that deceiver.

Now that’s who they’re talking about. They’re talking about our savior. Now we’re talking about that deceiver, that after three days I will rise. And that had their attention. It shows us a couple of things. They heard it. They had heard it and they actually believed that it could happen. Or at least something might happen. But then they said that in three days he said that I will rise. Therefore, command the tomb and make it secure until the third day lest his disciples come by night and steal him away. And say to the people, he has risen from the dead. So the last deception will be worse than the first.

Now, where was Jesus when? Now, let me put it this way, because that’s too deep of a theological question. Where was the body of Jesus when they said those words? He was in the tomb. He was buried. It wasn’t the day after the Sabbath. It wasn’t the first day of the week. He was in the tomb. His body, at least, was lying in the tomb. And they were concerned about that that body might come up missing because of what he said. And then they devised this and they said that and then the people are going to believe. That if that tomb is empty, there’s going to be people believe in that he really rose from the dead. So the last deception will be worse than the first. Or how about the truth? How about the fact that He was the Son of God? How about the truth that He was who He said He was? And that this resurrection would validate all of what Jesus said and had done. And as we have seen in this particular case in the Gospel of Matthew, He has been writing to get to this point. And then now in light of the resurrection, what do we have? And that’ll be in a couple of weeks that we will come to that. But here it talks about this deception that would be worse than the first, or it’d be the truth.

Well, Pilate said to them, you have a guard. Go take your way and make it as secure as you know how. Have at it. Buy some good concrete, seal that thing up. So they went and made the tomb secure. Do you think that they just hired second rate people to do that? No way. They were running scared. We have got to stop this silliness of Christ and his followers and everything. We got to stop this like right now. They made it a secure sealing the stone and setting the guard.

So this one was being guarded just to prove that wrong. Well, then we find out the futility of all that because Jesus was who he said he was. He was the son of God. He was the spotless lamb of God that on the third day he would rise from the dead. And he was not the victim. He is the victor. And then we get this glorious account with some very special words. And again, Matthew helps us with all of this with the women coming to the tomb. Verse two, and behold, there’s that word again. Matthew loves this word. Behold, there was a great earthquake. And then the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it and so forth. And we see this, and then those soldiers dropped, became like dead men. They just fainted out cold. Well, then we get the account of the women And angels answered and said to the women, do not be afraid for I know you seek Jesus who was crucified. He’s not here for he is risen.

Now that’s important. He’s not here because he’s risen. They didn’t say he’s not here because the disciples came and stole his body. Or that he really wasn’t dead and now he’s decided to get up and to go. He is risen from the dead, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay and go quickly and tell the disciples. What are we to do with the resurrection story that we have today? Come see, go tell. That he is risen from the dead, indeed. He is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him. Behold, I have told you.

So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to bring his disciples word. And as they went while they were going to tell his disciples, behold, there was a lot of excitement. By the way, the singing today was like totally awesome. both of the men’s group, but just of the congregation and of the orchestra and just everything. The music was awesome because behold, he is risen. He is risen indeed. We have something to sing about. So behold. And this is very exciting as this is going on. And as they went to tell the disciples, Jesus rejoiced and met them saying, rejoice. And so they held him by the feet and they worshiped him. Then he said to them, do not be afraid. Go and tell my brethren, go into Galilee and there they will see me.

Well, so the women are gone. Probably the angel went back. They finally woke up from fainting and now Matthew wants to go back to the soldiers. One wonders, I even read one account where one commentator said, one wonders of Matthew’s fixation on Judas, because we’re gonna go back and look and go backwards and look at the account in the weeks ahead. But here he brings up the soldiers again. And so it says, now while they were going, behold, You see, he doesn’t want you to miss it. Now, the other beholdings were kind of like really major stuff. But notice that while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

Now, did they know the truth? They knew the truth. They knew that they saw the angel, they saw the empty tomb, they knew that none of this, you know, that none of what they were gonna be soon told to say, none of that was true. They knew the truth. But just knowing the truth is not enough. They were not committed to the truth. It is interesting that it does say, while they were behold, some of the guard came into the city. I wonder why some did not. Is it because they believed and repented?

Well, now the text doesn’t say, I would like to believe that because they were there, they saw. But we do have the account. Some of the guard came into the city and they reported to the chief priest the truth of all things that had happened. And when they assembled with the elders and consulted together, that’s always dangerous. These people had such hatred. Of Christ. They would do anything. To take away from the resurrection of the dead. They gathered together, no doubt talking, and then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers.

Now, the text doesn’t say how much, it’s just a large amount. It’s interesting that we know how much Jesus was worth to them with respect to Judas, 30 pieces of silver. Of course, that was prophesied and fulfilled. But this one, hmm. All we know is a large sum of money. The words that are used in the original language are in reference to and usually was used in reference to silver.

So again, this was a precious metal worth a lot of money that they were taken out of the treasury. They were afraid of losing their power. They would do, as I said, anything to deflect and to take away from the resurrection. saying, tell them, meaning the people that would come and ask, tell them his disciples came at night and stole him away while we slept.

Now again, on the surface, this is really kind of odd because. Even if guards would have gone to sleep, Not all of them. In this case, they all would have gone to sleep. But then there’s a problem. They were able to give an account of what actually happened. You see, this is one of those things that just on the surface, it makes sense, but if you really just take two breaths and meditate like two seconds, it doesn’t make sense. I was asleep, but I do know that they came and stole his body.

Well, how would you know they came and stole his body if you were asleep? Just odd. But you see, people in unbelief will do anything to unbelieve. That’s probably not really good English, but you know what I mean. To stay in the state of unbelief, they’ll believe anything. And there was a trick here used, deflect, do anything you can, to put in the way from anyone understanding what the resurrection is really all about. But it’s interesting that, you know, we’re really close to the end of Matthew now. And so Matthew knows that this is he’s drawing the conclusion and he wants us to see something.

So they tell them that his disciples came at night, stole him away while we slept. But of course, we know they stole him, but we were sleeping, but whatever. And if it comes to the governor’s ears, well, because they were afraid of that, and if you’re a soldier and you’re sleeping when you’re supposed to be awake, that’s your certain death. We will appease him and make you secure. How wicked, how wicked can this be? The greatest lie ever told. I know Jesus rose from the dead. I was there. I saw it. But I’m going to tell you. Oh no. His disciples came.

The greatest lie ever told. But if you tell a lie, why does one tell a lie? It’s because you want others to believe it. And that’s exactly what we have. But then Matthew puts a time frame in it. So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And I’ll notice these last words. And this saying that his disciples came and stole his body away. This saying is commonly, commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Now, until what day? Until the day that Matthew has written this gospel, until the day of the writing of this gospel, which was sometime in the middle of the first century, after Jesus had already ascended up into heaven. The lie, the greatest lie ever told was being perpetuated and being passed down over and over and over again. The apostle Paul mentioned something that I always thought was kind of interesting in the book of 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 15. And he is talking about the. Talking about the resurrection, and this is where we’re going to go on the fact of why is the resurrection so important? Well, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, there’s a lot about resurrection. But Paul writes this. Listen, verse 12.

Now, if Christ is preached that he has been raised from the dead, In other words, Paul was preaching, the other disciples were preaching. You can go back to the book of Acts, chapter three and on, they’re preaching the resurrection. This same Jesus that you have taken and you have killed, God hath raised from the dead. It was the theme, it was the resurrection. the sum and substance of the power of the gospel preaching in the very beginning of the book of Acts and on.

And so he says, now Christ has preached that he has been raised from the dead. How, how on earth could it be that, how do some of among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? And then he goes on and explains it. Because if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. But it was commonly understood that his disciples came and stole his Bible, stole his Bible, stole his body away. You see, lies, the destructiveness and the spread but it was also believed and known to be true. And so Paul goes on to write, and if, but he builds this and there’s a lot of if clauses here. If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is empty also. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ whom he did not rise up. If in fact the dead do not rise, Because you see, that’s what everybody believed, and you’re still believing probably that lie that was being passed around in the first century. And for if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen, and if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile. You are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable.

But then the conjunction, not a behold, but a conjunction word but another be. But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those that slept. The greatest lie ever told. Just lie about the resurrection. Do anything to deflect, to downplay, to get the concept of this day of resurrection. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life, had the perfect prophesied death, made atonement for sin, and came alive again is the first fruits of those who believe and that has impact for everyone who is all of his followers. But just tell everybody his disciples his friends came and stole his body away. The resurrection of Jesus Christ has been called. the cornerstone of Christian doctrine, the rock of Gibraltar of Christ’s evidence, the waterloo of infidelity. My brethren, it was an empty tomb because he walked out of it. It was an empty tomb because he was in it and he left it and then he met with his followers because he was dead and he rose from the dead, just as he said.

Now, the deflections continue to this very day. I remember in high school, I’m talking about at a skating party, and on a Saturday, the Saturday before Easter, and the guy announced and he says, hey everybody, they canceled Easter, they found the body. I wanted to go over and smack him, but I didn’t think it was probably the Christian thing to do. They still want to deny he rose from the dead because if, using the phraseology of the Apostle Paul, if Jesus rose from the dead, then he’s alive, and you and I must have dealings with him. And people don’t want to do that.

What’s been kind of a heartbreak, and I’m sure that you have heard about some of this stuff, but the greatest truth, this rock of Gibraltar, solid truth of Christianity, has been attacked on not only do his disciples, his disciples came and did that, but it is downplayed. It has been hijacked. Some Christians don’t even like to use the word Easter, and I get that. Dr. Al Mohler on the briefing went into that on Friday, the idea of Easter, and that ties it to the fertility rights of the paganism that’s related to this day. But he also kind of gave a clear indication that today our society just doesn’t really get it. They don’t understand about that pagan, all of that pagan ideology and so forth.

And yet, we had a previous president of the United States of America that said these words, quote, while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all. Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers, non-believers alike. Easter begins and the Passover comes and to a close and let us be remindful, ever mindful of the unity of purpose, the common bond of love of you and of me for which they sacrificed all that they had as a previous generations and for which so many others have sacrificed so much. Is that what Easter is about? No. Is this their sense of unity among all of those? Do all of those faiths and religions believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? No.

And then, of course, as we have heard yesterday, we now have heard about the Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, 2024. Supposedly was stated before, but this is a proclamation that was given for today. And we were told, I mean, I have the whole transcript if you wanna see it. But our president has said, quote, I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up today the transgender and the rest of the LGBTQ community. Is that what the Resurrection Sunday is about? Does that have anything to do with the Christian message?

Now, granted, it isn’t, well, his disciples came and stole his body, but it is something to deflect, something to downplay. And as Christians, that should enrage us. Now, not to violence, but for prayer. and to realize this world is no friend to grace. This world will strip Christianity of the absolute necessity of believing and trusting. I serve a risen savior. He’s in the world today. He’s living out his purposes through me. And one day I will be as he is. He is the first fruits of them that slept. Anything that downplays, especially when it goes into that kind of blasphemy. Today, Christians declare the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We lift our voices and we did in song. of a risen Savior. Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior. Up from the grave he arose. Praise God. That’s what this day is about. It’s not trying to recognize people and gender dysphoria. It’s not trying to help people that want to recognize more than male and female as genders. It’s not about, I’m picking phrases out of the declaration, the proclamation, that we need to have a voice and raise the voice that we should be able to love whoever and whatever we want and be married to them. It is about the Son of God who was sent of the Father, died on a cross for sinners, and we must repent of sins and trust Christ and be born again or spend an eternity underneath the wrath of God in the eternal lake of fire.

So when we come to this idea, the empty tomb is really, really important. Well, the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 27 There’s the burial, there was the security of the guards that were sent, the resurrection, the angels, the women. And then there was this, the greatest lie ever told. If we are to believe the truth, well, what is the truth and why should we believe it? Well, first of all, the fact they did everything they did or could to kill it and it didn’t work. There was a Roman guard, there was the stone, there were grave clothes that were accounted for, there was the empty tomb. All they had to do was produce a body and they could have really shut everybody up. They couldn’t produce a body because he was risen. There was no body to be found because the body was alive. And then there were the appearances.

Now, there has been other lies that have been told down through the ages. Well, you know, he never really died or he never really lived, that it was really the spirit of Jesus. And it was his spirit and the kindness and things like that. And that Jesus rose and now he lives in our hearts. Isn’t that sweet? Or was there a real resurrection? Well, he appeared. to Mary Magdalene John chapter 20 verses 11 through 18. The other Mary Salome and Joanna and at least other women in Matthew 28 1 Mark 16 Luke 24. He appeared unto Peter Luke chapter 24 verse 34. He appeared unto Cleopas and other disciple on the road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24. The 11 disciples minus Thomas, and then the 12, or then minus Thomas in Luke 24. The 11 disciples and John 21, all of them in the upper room, or in that room. He appeared unto seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. To the disciples at the Mount of Galilee, Matthew 28. We’ll see that in a couple of weeks. He appeared unto Paul. He appeared unto James. He appeared unto his disciples in Jerusalem. He appeared unto 500. Oh, but they were all mistaken. What’s the evidence say? But yet people want to believe a lie, and it was commonly reported, and they still questioned it.

In the New Testament, there were even Christians that still doubted, according to the church there in Corinth. Graham Scroggie wrote this. He said, the resurrection is not denied because the evidence is regarded as insufficient. There’s plenty. of evidences, you know, proofs that demand a verdict. There’s a lot of those things when it comes to the resurrection. But the evidence is rejected and repudiated because the resurrection is denied first. They don’t want it. They will not believe it. The arrogance of the rejection of supernaturalism. It can’t happen, doesn’t happen, therefore didn’t happen.

Well, the Apostle Paul picked that up in 1 Corinthians 11, and he said, and if that’s true, then your faith is dead, Christ is dead, and you’re gonna die in your sins, and all your loved ones who have died in Christ, they as well. They as well are dead. Why is the resurrection, so what is the purpose, the satanic, the satanic motivation to go after this doctrine so much that at the very beginning they’re worried about the truth of the resurrection before it happened. They’re worried about it and they try to correct it immediately after it happened. They tell lies and the whole first century trying to get away Church history shows that unbelievers will still raise all kinds of questions. Why? Well, there’s a reason for it. Because of the significance of the resurrection. Let’s just go through several things that the resurrection, why is it so important?

Well, number one, the resurrection validates who Jesus Christ really is. and all of his claims. Romans 1.4 points to that, but just to think about that. Jesus said, how many times already here in the Gospel of Matthew that we’ve already looked at? If he didn’t get this one right, then how can you trust him on anything else? If Jesus isn’t alive today, or if he’s only alive in our hearts, aw, sweet, then maybe we’re just self-deceived. I have warm thoughts in my heart about my mom, but my mom isn’t alive, and she hasn’t been resurrected yet. And so, you see, it was absolutely necessary. The scribes, the Pharisee, the hypocrites, and the way he laid them low in chapter 23 and 24, if he was gonna validate his words, he had from the dead. It also validates the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ into the fact that He was able to save to the uttermost.

The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die and after the judgment. That’s because he is in sin. But Jesus said during the trial, who convinces me of sin? He was the perfect Lamb of God. He was sent of God to die. The reason why Jesus died was because our sins were placed upon him. That’s why he died for my sin, for your sin. And so it validates the whole atoning work. It validates the future resurrection of all believers. That’s what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15. If there is no resurrection, then Christ didn’t rise. and your faith is in vain. But Christ did rise from the dead, he’s the first fruits of them that sleep. But if he didn’t rise from the dead, then guess what? You’re gonna die, literally, go back to dirt, and that’s it. And there are people who believe that today. And they start from the presupposition, the starting point, there is no resurrection for me, therefore there was no resurrection for him, therefore there is no resurrection.

So it validates the future resurrection of believers. What happened? Do you plan to be resurrected one day? You want to see loved ones? You want to meet Christ and be with him face to face? It’s intrinsic into the very fabric of Christianity. Christ rose from the dead and he guarantees he will cause us to rise from the dead as well. It validates the future and final judgment, Acts chapter 17, verses 30 through 33. It validates all the promises of the Old and New Testament, and it gives hope and confidence to the believer.

Is there any way that we will survive death? Yeah. Why? Because we have a Savior who conquered it. He took death, suffered the consequences of sin, not his, but our sins placed upon him, and he died. Even as he cried out in the gospel according to Matthew in those words, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But then he committed his spirit unto his father, He lowered his head, and he died. And the proof that the Father accepted the atonement was the resurrection of the dead, just as he said. Do you understand the importance of what it really means that Christ rose from the dead?

My brethren, What does it mean to you? Well, in the New Testament. They met it with compassion. They met it with terror right there in verse two of chapter 28. Behold, there was a great earthquake and there was terror at this. It was met with some confusion, doubt, some belief, amazement. Worship. They went to his feet and they grabbed on hope. for what would be, that he would go on to Galilee in verse 10 of here of chapter 28. How do you respond? He is risen. I hope he’s risen. No. He is risen.

Are you sure? I mean, people have said there’s a lot of people. Statistically, there’s more people that don’t believe it than believe it. And if we run a statistical analysis, you know, do we determine our morality or do we determine truth by statistics? No. Because the Bible is clear. He is risen. He is risen. Indeed. and we don’t budge. And I’m not gonna deflect on the day we declare that, specifically, set it aside. We worship, we recognize this every Lord’s Day, but we’re not gonna set it aside to raise the voice for a bunch of sinners that wanna continue in their sin. It’s all a deflection, the satanic deflection. to take away from the glory of Christ. My brethren, he is risen and that’s good enough.

For me to raise my voice on this day, I hope it is for you, for you as well, let’s pray. Our father in heaven. We stand amazed at how much the sinful mind wants to fight against the truths and the truths of the word of God. And this particular doctrine and declaration, there’s no wiggle room. He is risen and he is risen indeed. It is true whether people want to believe it or not. It is true and worthy of all acceptance and all of our attention this day, and all things that come alongside to deflect and to take away the glory of our God from the resurrection. Father, help us to understand and know that’s exactly what they are, and it’s the mastermind, the deceitful strategies of Satan himself. So Father, today, as we remember. May we, in the words of that old spiritual song, were you there when they crucified the Lord Jesus? But that last stanza, were you there when he rose up from the dead? And we shout glory. Glory. We believe He is risen. He is risen indeed. We trust. Though people lie about it, people make fun of it, people try to explain it away. Father, it’s the greatest lie ever told about the greatest truth that has ever been. Father, we declare This is the day we remember, resurrection. Bless, we ask, in Jesus’ name, amen.

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