Today’s Reading - Matthew 27:31-66
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. - Matthew 27:62-66
At the end of the day, Jesus was referred to by the religious crowd as a deceiver. And they thought they were right. A simple stone and a seal would keep the disciples from stealing the body they said. They had in their mind the claim Jesus made about resurrection would be his last and greatest, or worse, deception. What could be worse than thinking you would live and yet die. Turns out those who were pointing the finger of deception were the ones deceived by their own desire for position and power. Deceived by their conviction they were right and no one could change their mind. Deceived by their own character which included an unteachable spirit, an unwillingness to learn. Call it what you may, they were paralyzed by blinders, they were self-centered, they didn’t want to change, choose whatever roadblock you want to apply. The truth remains. Those claiming Jesus to be the deceiver were in fact the ones being deceived. It was their roadblock which caused them to miss the meaning of the crucifixion and miss the hope of the third day. When we miss the meaning of the crucifixion we rely on our own ability to save us from the consequences of behavior which breaks God’s heart. We have no ability to fix that position. We need the crucifixion to live into the hope of what is to come. Don’t be deceived by the true deceiver who wants us to live apart from God. Live into who Jesus is, the Savior of the world who died on a cross for the salvation of humanity and provides hope each and every day because of the third day.
Heavenly Father, when we live again the crucifixion we realize our need for a savior and pray we are not deceived by any other understanding of who Jesus is. We embrace the crucifixion so we can live into resurrection. Give us open minds and open hearts to the truth of the gospel message. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.