Blessed… As Secure As You Know How

62 The next day, which was the day after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate. 63 They said, “Sir, we remember that while that deceiver was still alive he said, ‘After three days I will arise.’ 64 Therefore, order the grave to be sealed until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people, ‘He’s been raised from the dead.’ This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 Pilate replied, “You have soldiers for guard duty. Go and make it as secure as you know how.” 66 Then they went and secured the tomb by sealing the stone and posting the guard (Matthew 27:62-65, Common English Bible).

My father always told me, “A lock is only meant to keep an honest person honest.” I always knew it wasn’t something original to him. My father was a smart man but words and writing were not really his wheelhouse.

I went in search of who actually coined the phrase. I found one attribute to fantasy author Robin Hobb. She apparently used a form of the phrase in one of her books.

The best I could find was, again, a form of the phrase saying, “A lock is meant only for honest men,” a Yiddish proverb and a similar Jewish proverb, “Locks keep out only the honest.”

Though I still don’t know who first said it, I am also pretty sure I don’t know what the proverb says about God who went past a sealed and guarded tomb to bring about the resurrection.

Of course, I say that tongue and cheek. The truth is, this passage says a great deal about the power and the will of God. God’s will cannot be thwarted or checked by human efforts unless God allows, through human free-will, the divine will be subverted.

In his classic book, The Will of God, the late British theologian Leslie Weatherhead explains that there are three wills of God. They are, first, the intentional will of God, what God wills to happen in the world. The second is, the circumstantial will of God, what God allows to happen through free will. The third is the ultimate will of God, in other words, in the end, God’s will shall shine through.

(My explanation of Weatherhead’s book is by necessity very abbreviated. I am not going to try to explain a book, short though it may be, in one paragraph. I strongly recommend reading the book. It is short and doesn’t take a great deal of time to read through the ideas can cause a great deal of thought, contemplation, and prayer)

God’s ultimate will was the resurrected Christ. The Jews wanted nothing of the sort. Truth to tell, though he acted like he didn’t care, Pilate most likely wasn’t particularly interested in a resurrection hoax circulating the region. Seals and guards were put in place.

Seals and guards were put in place. Seals and guards failed. Seals and guards failed because nothing can or will succeed when pitted against the ultimate will of God.

People may seek to stop each other from doing this or that. Still, if a person is determined, there is a strong possibility they will accomplish the goal they seek. If we, who are finite beings limited in power, can accomplish big things in spite of difficulty, how much more can an infinite God with unlimited power accomplish even against seemingly impossible odds?

As we shall see when we turn the page to chapter 28 tomorrow, Pilate could not stop God. The Jews could not stop God. Stones, seals, and guards could not stop the ultimate will of God.

It seems to me that we need to pray that God will reveal the Divine ultimate will to us. May we always be found living in the will of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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