4/3/15 The Enemy is Listening
After Jesus’ body was taken from the cross, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man who had become a following, asked Pilate if the body of Jesus could be given to him. Pilate allowed it, so Joseph took Jesus’ body, “wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his [own] new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock” Matthew 27:59-60 (NKJ).
It is very interesting what happened the next day. We talk a lot about the day Jesus died, and we talk a lot about the day He rose, but what about that middle day. What happened on that middle day?
A very key thing happened on that middle day that concerned Jesus’ enemies. Matthew 27:62-66 tells us a conversation took place between Pilate—the same guy who had just given the body of the Lord to Joseph—and the crooked religious leaders who had been the impetus in Jesus’ assassination. The passage says:
On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by nightand steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
How intriguing to realize that all of Jesus’ disciples and other close followers had totally missed every reference Jesus made to His resurrection, but His enemies had not missed that vital piece of information. Over and over again, Jesus had declared that he would be killed, but He would rise again. He even told them when: on the third day. Wouldn’t you think that if you had been one of the disciples, you would have been eagerly awaiting that third day to come around? If you had really listened to what Jesus had been saying, wouldn’t you have been sitting outside that garden tomb with great expectation for the dawning of that third day? Everything else Jesus said was always on point; why would this saying have been any different?
But no, the disciples weren’t expecting Him to live again. They were in hiding. Joseph of Arimathea didn’t expect Him to live again. He was probably thinking about the work that would go into digging out another cave in which he would be buried when he died. The women didn’t expect Him to live again. They had watched where His body was laid so they could return the next day and further prepare It properly for a decent burial. No one considered the real possibility except His enemies. Why? They had been really listening to His every word. Their reason for listening so attentively was to catch Him in a web of His own words, but their evil intention led to their eager attention. And unwittingly, they actually became the first ones to repeat the proclamation, and thereby share the news of Jesus’ resurrection.
Keep up the good work of proclaiming the truth of the gospel whenever the opportunity presents itself. They may not act like it, but your children your co-workers, your extended family members, your friends, your neighbors, and even strangers are hearing and they are listening. It was necessary for someone from the enemy’s camp to be a witness to the Resurrection. And it is necessary for those around us today who are antagonistic to the gospel to hear it anyway. Just as nothing can be erased from the mind of a jury, God’s word cannot be erased from hearts. That’s why Satan tries so hard to snatch it away, choke it out, and smother it up (see Matthew 13:3-9 and 13:18-23). Isaiah 55:11 clearly states God’s declaration about His word. “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (NKJ).
So tell it! The enemy is listening!
©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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