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,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved