“This last deception will be worse than the first.” – Matthew 27:64 (Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42)
Soon as tha Son give up his ghost, Joseph from Arimathea, a rich man, offered ter take tha body of tha Son and bury it. By that point Joseph be a disciple of tha Son, but only in secret ’cause he feared tha Jews. Nicodemus whar also a disciple by then, only like Joseph, he also feared tha Jews. Besides which, both fellers be members of tha Ruling Council, tha Sanhedrin, so they stood ter lose thar positions of power and prominence if thar faith in tha Son be found out. Also, as members of tha Council, they had heard tha Son say, ‘After three days I will rise again.’
Now tha writers covering tha death of tha Son called Joseph a good and upright feller. But think on this a wee little bit. What if he whar not? What if he and Nicodemus be lying, conniving, scheming rascals?
Both had protested tha decision and actions of tha Ruling Council and Joe whar waiting fer tha kingdom of God ter come. If word got ’round that tha Son had come out of tha grave, then folks might turn on them Council members who had put tha Son ter death. Could be Joe and Nick would be put in charge of tha Council and be able ter help usher in Skip’s kingdom.
Old Joe went ter Pilate and boldly ask fer tha Son’s body, got permission, and took it down off tha cross. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds worth, and anointed tha Son’s body. Then tha pair wrapped it in a linen shroud and swaddled tha body in strips of linen.
Near tha place whar tha Son be crucified thar whar a garden and in that garden Joe had a new tomb, one ne’er used, cut in ter a rock. With tha sun going down, they placed tha body in Joe’s tomb and tha pair rolled a big stone in front of tha entrance. Then they left. Mary Magdalene and Mary tha mother of Joses whar sitting opposite tha tomb watching all this.
Tha next day tha cheif priests and tha Pharisees went ter Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 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.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made tha tomb secure by putting a seal on tha stone and posting tha guard.
Only tha next morning word began ter spread that tha tomb be empty.
Tha guards looked and seen it whar so. Right then some of ’em went in ter tha city and reported ter tha chief priests ’bout how tha body of Jesus be gone missing and how angels showed up and how an earthquake rolled back tha stone over tha tomb entrance. After tha chief priests met with tha elders they devised a plan ter keep tha rumors of tha Son rising from tha dead from gaining credibility among folks.
They gave tha soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
So tha soldiers took tha money and did as they whar instructed. Ter this very day this tale be widely circulated among tha Jews.
Only think on this a wee little bit: if tha chief priests and tha Pharisees wanted ter pass off a lie it would be a good deal easier ter claim that thar ne’er whar a body in tha tomb.
Joe and Nick went ter tha tomb near dusk alone—or so they claimed. Mary Magdalene, a woman who once had seven demons in her, and Mary tha mother of Joses, seen ’em put that body in tha tomb—or so they claimed. Any good barrister could fire so many holes in ter thar accounts as ter sink tha tale.
Which be easier ter believe?
That some disciples showed up in tha dark of night at that tomb, rolled back a large stone which took two fellers to put in place, snuck inside, undressed a dead man, folded his shroud and linen wraps and placed ’em neatly on tha slab (what sort of thief cleans up after a caper?), hoisted up tha body of a man, and marched out without waking up Roman guards who be trained ter, ay know, guard stuff?
Or . . .
That two fellers ne’re put a body in that tomb, but said they did, and paid Mary Magdalene and tha other Mary some money ter swear they seen tha Son’s body placed in that tomb?
Or . . .
That tha Holy Ghost of Truth raised tha Son on tha third day like he claimed would happen?
All this be a great mystery or a great deception or a real event. How ya come down on such a tale ‘ill no doubt determine if yer body stays in tha grave or sits up and flies out when tha Son calls ya by name on tha great day of judgement.