Blessed… Truth For Sale

 

11 Now as the women were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 They met with the elders and decided to give a large sum of money to the soldiers. 13 They told them, “Say that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole his body while you were sleeping. 14 And if the governor hears about this, we will take care of it with him so you will have nothing to worry about.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told. And this report has spread throughout all Judea to this very day (Matthew 28:11-15, Common English Bible).

At some point, the money changing hands would have started bothering me a great deal. If I was the Jews, I am not sure if that point would have come when we paid Judas to lie in order that we might arrest Jesus. Or, perhaps, it would have come with the scene that is today’s lesson. If we are so sure that Jesus was lying, why would it be necessary to buy the story we wanted to be told. Why would we need to give a large sum of money to guards so they would lie for us?

If I am one of the guards in today’s lesson it would, I feel certain, start to weigh on me that I had sold my integrity so easily. By taking the leader’s money I was lying but equally important, I would also be guilty of not doing my job. I would be saying I was derelict in my duties. Further, from this point moving forward, I would be dependent on not only the Jews but also my fellow soldiers to maintain the lie. What if they had second thoughts and went back and told the governor the truth? That could play out badly for me. I doubt seriously the results would have met with my dreams for my life.

I can’t help but think I would be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. I would be like mob man who was caught a few years ago, living with his wife in plain sight in San Francisco. He had lived that way for years and yet never felt totally comfortable. He was attempting to hide from both the mob whom some said he had done wrong and from Federal authorities. Even hiding in plain sight, can be stressful and difficult.

Over time, some of the guards had to start sharing their experience. How else could  Matthew have known the story? If he didn’t have this part of the story, how could he share it with us?

The ones who had the real truth, Jesus’ disciples never wavered in their story. For the rest of their lives, they kept saying that Jesus had risen from the dead. They passed the story on to others and generation after generation shared the story and people in every age came to believe.

As for the eleven, they faced many trials. They were persecuted throughout their days. Still, these men continued to tell the story, and it was a story they would die for.

Here is a question I will leave you with today. Would the disciples have stuck to their story through persecution and torture and death if that story had been a lie? I can’t answer for you, but for me, I sincerely doubt it. Why would they die for a lie? Would you?

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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