April 7, 2020

I know it’s only Tuesday, but our reading for today is Good Friday. If you want to wait until Friday to read this head over to our daily devotions page. Otherwise keep reading, as we continue our journey through Matthew.

A reflection on Matthew 27:32-66 by our Assistant Program Director, Angie Smith.

It was inevitable that our story would bring us to this point. The twenty-six chapters that we read before this set the stage for where we are now.

Today’s reflection is going to focus on what happens at the end of this chapter (v. 62-66). The chief priests and the Pharisees go to Pilate (even though he has publicly washed his hands of this situation) and ask him to put guards at the Jesus’ tomb so that none of the disciples can move his corpse. They secure the tomb by sealing the stone. While it might seem silly, because we know how the story ends, it’s one of the most human things that happens in this story. They’re afraid and they try to lessen their fears.

I’m not sure how much of the fear was that someone would move the body and how much of their fear was that Jesus would actually rise from the dead. Afterall, there was an earthquake, the curtain in the temple was ripped in two, and the dead were walking around (the dead were walking around!).

It should have been abundantly clear to them that they had crucified the Son of God and your solution is to seal up the stone in front of his tomb. It’s kind of like closing, but not locking a door to keep out an intruder. It’s not going to work, but you do it anyway for a false sense of security.

There’s been tension throughout Matthew between those in the temple and those outside the temple. Jesus is preaching a message of salvation for all people and everyone in the temple is trying to maintain what little power they have. Again, it’s a very human reaction to want to hold onto power (we saw the disciples do the same thing many times in this Gospel).

As we journey through Holy Week, I encourage us to think about the ways we hold onto power in our lives. One of the things that we’ve seen throughout Matthew is that power and privilege won’t get us anywhere in the Kingdom of Heaven. How can we transform our power and privilege into a sacrifice worth of the Kingdom of Heaven? And we even willing to do so?