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Rewards Instead of Punishment

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 4, 2021 8:00 am

Rewards Instead of Punishment

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 4, 2021 8:00 am

In this world, truth is punished, and lies are rewarded. Such was the case with Christ’s resurrection. Despite their best efforts, the religious leaders’ worst nightmare had come true. Join Dr. James Boice next time on The Bible Study Hour as he investigates one of history’s greatest coverups: the lie of the empty tomb.

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It's a hard fact of life that in this world. Truth is often punished. While lies are often rewarded. It was the same in Jesus day as the religious leaders of Israel rushed to conceal the evidence of his resurrection and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically their worst nightmare come true. As the soldiers knocked at their door with the news that Jesus body had disappeared. The tomb was empty. What would the religious elites do now listen as Dr. Boyce reveals one of history's greatest coverups. The lie of the empty tomb each year at Easter time. When I turned to these stories of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I find myself wondering what I'm going to find new preach on yet each year as I turned to the stories I find sometimes to my surprise, though I shouldn't be surprised there's something there. I never saw before.

I was impressed me this year as I've reread these accounts is that the enemies of Jesus Christ learned about the resurrection before his friends did is really striking. We would expect it to be the other way around. And I suppose most people assume it was the other way around. Yet when we read these accounts carefully, particularly the 28th chapter of Matthew, we find that the resurrection had taken place before dawn on what we call Easter Sunday morning. We know that because the women were the first ones to the tomb and when they arrived they found their surprise that the stone it already been rolled away and that the body of Jesus was gone and this means that sometime before dawn. The resurrection took place and those who were present at the tomb on that occasion where the guards and they were the first ones to know about it told that the angel appears and for fear of the angel. They began to shake and as Matthew quickly puts it, they became like dead men. And then not only were these soldiers the first to know about it, but they immediately did what they had to do. They left the tomb. There wasn't any point guarding it anymore and they made their way into the city to tell those who had hired them and commissioned them that job.

Namely, the high priest of the other religious leaders of the people and so at the very time the women were arriving at the tomb and were about to hear the angel tell them he is not here he is risen as he said go tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. The soldiers already been reporting the same facts to the high priests. I wonder how they had been sleeping that night. I suppose they could've been sleeping well because the thing that they had most tried to accomplish. They had succeeded it, they were trying to get rid of Jesus and they had, he was dead, crucified, they knew that Barry yes back to and yet I wonder if they were really sleeping peacefully using a new audience said Jesus had said that he was going to rise again on the third day. That's why they posted their guards because they were afraid that something would happen. All they said yes. Maybe the disciples will come and steal him away. They were really afraid of was the resurrection of that was the case, I suspect they were having nightmares about it. Then suddenly in the middle of the night, their worst nightmares are confirmed to say, wrapping on their door knock knock knock. Who's there, don't you know it's 1/4 watch of the night, why are you knocking on my door this hour mock not long is it soldiers soldiers want soldiers soldiers were supposed to guard the tomb and why aren't you guarding the tomb guarding the tone because he is fair what you mean he isn't there.

Well, angels came rolled the stone away when the stone was rolled away body of Jesus was God. I got the door open in a hurry like all the men held a council went around and they woke up the other priests and scribes and the Pharisees and they said what are we going to do.

So they went off and they held their meeting, and while they held their meeting here where the soldiers left behind. I suppose in the anteroom. These men must've been afraid they were terrified by the angel.

First of all middle of the night. They had this terrifying experience and furthermore now they face the very real wrath and retribution of the priests is a very serious matter and those times were a soldier to fail in his duty are to leave his post in the Roman army. If a sentry left his post door if he fell asleep at his post, he would be killed for that and moreover, these soldiers had been hired by these very hostile, very shrewd man who had hated Jesus and had to impress upon them the necessity of guarding that to all cost must be any mistakes about this.

They had said that too must be guarded because that imposter said that on the third day was going to rise again on the first day comes I body a better be there for your lives on the line so they stood there. I think it must been shaking terrified. At least they were going to be beaten, and perhaps they would lose their lives in the door open and the priest came in and they detected it once that this was not going to be a case of punishment, but rather that they were being spoken to in a conspiratorial tone they were being asks to make up a story to lie as a matter fact, the story already been made up for the they were to go out and say nothing about angels or stones, but simply to say that while they were asleep. His disciples came in stole the body away. This is the way the text says it.

When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan they gave the 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 to sleep. This report gets to the governor.

We will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble. Interesting is instead of punishments, which they had every right to expect these men receive rewards so determined or these enemies of Jesus Christ to suppress the truth. The concern, the resurrection, of course, it was a very foolish story. The soldiers themselves must've see how foolish it was. They were to go out and say well we were asleep. And while we were asleep.

His disciples came and stole him away, but if they were asleep how they know it was the disciples yes I well maybe one of them was awake. One of them saw the disciples perhaps a post of the guard will if I had one was a white, why didn't he call the others, and why didn't he drive off the disciples the idea that ragtag bag of Galilean peasants which is what the disciples really were put out with door overcome a band of determined and experienced soldiers was absolutely ludicrous. Well you say maybe it wasn't anything to suspected the disciples will if that's the case why didn't they go round them up when the been hard to find the disciples they work really and hiding. I could've found them easily and have expose the deception and have recovered body if I could have been done. They certainly would've done it case, we understand that these men failing to believe in the resurrection and the lack of evidence. On the contrary was quite the other way around. These men repriced the evidence because they were determined in advance not to believe in the resurrection.

These men receive the greater witness to the resurrection that anybody could possibly have received this was the sign of Jonah which Jesus and spoken about Jesus was raised and they received the testimony to the resurrection from the most unimpeachable source. Common said Jesus was raised from the dead, they say, well of course you want to believe that you are one of his disciples, but here the testimony had been brought by the soldiers. The soldiers had nothing to gain and everything to lose from that kind of a story. Obviously it happened but these men didn't want to face what happened. They hated the truth and so instead they substituted a lie and meted out rewards quite unexpectedly instead of punishments. What I want to suggest is that it is always that way in the world.

Unbelief is always rewarded.

Faith is always punished and that is for the same reason.

Reason is that women are not open to truth but have a pre-commitment lie. Jesus is raised from the dead and Jesus is God and he is the king and he is the Lord and he is one we must follow.

He has a claim on us because we don't want to acknowledge the claim we say well that never happened and we reward anybody who can give any reason. However, unreliable and unbelievable. It may be as long as they give a reason that will substantiate our unbelief is happened in the 19th century, and I think to give just one example of that French scholar whose name was earnestly not. He was born in a rather obscure province of France.

Raton. He was educated as a priest and became a priest.

He had a conservative upbringing but became enamored of the philosophy of George Friedrich Hegel and of Immanuel Kant, and fed by their rationalism, he began to look at the Gospels, in particular within that naturalistic framework. His whole career was one of explaining away the miraculous elements of the Gospels, and finally he published a book called the life of Jesus, which gained him a great deal of fame. In it he explains away the resurrection by suggesting that it came about because of Mary Magdalene, who was unstable mentally and to was in love with Jesus and who, when she was there in the garden in her grief and saw the gardener just so that this was Jesus and so imagine that she heard Jesus call her name this man when he published his book on the life of Christ receive instant fame 60,000 copies of that book were sold just the first few months with his prodigious number for the 19th century became the darling of the Paris salon's. He was appointed an administrator of the prestigious college to France and he was even made a member of the French Legion of honor which was about the most prestigious thing that could happen to them. But I want to look at something else. I want you to turn thinking about those enemies of Christ, who are exemplified by the soldiers. The priests on that first Easter Sunday.

I want you to turn from them to Christ friends. Those who came and two learned of the resurrection men who met with Jesus Christ. Following the resurrection.

People like the women who came to the tomb or Peter and John who ran there because of the women's report or James or any of the other apostles who came later, many of them saw Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writing about it later as he does in first Corinthians says that Jesus appeared first to Peter and then to the other apostles and Jameson, last of all he said to me, and at one point he even appeared to 500 brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive. It died. Here's a case of men who actually saw Jesus and testified to it, we would sign all well if that were the case if there were men who actually had witnessed a person who had been raised from the dead was enormous good notes. There were men would go forth to a perishing world and say death is not the end Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead any promises new life to all united to him saving faith. This is salvation. This is glorious. This is the defeat of death. Yet we know how the world received these witnesses, they worked rewarded. They were punished for their faith and the rewards were given to the unbelievers. I think Peter and John, Peter and John were the first two of the disciples were present in the garden, Jesus appeared to them. Later they saw him in the flesh they went forth, and testified about that testified in Jerusalem very place where Jesus had been crucified and we know what happens. The authorities got disturbed as authorities well and they arrested them.

They brought the man they said, what is this that you're doing and they explained where witnesses to the fact of Jesus resurrection. They said what you're trying to do is bring the guilt of this plan. Upon our heads. Ironic that they would say that because at the trial.

They said let his blood be upon our heads. And of course that's exactly what was happening, but they didn't like it when it was happening and so were told that they threatened the disciples they said do not preach in the name of Jesus. Again, do not preach resurrection and they let them go. Peter and John went back to the courtyard of the temple and began to preach again. The news came that the authorities they rest of them a second time they put him in jail.

He said tomorrow can have a trial while they were in jail. God sent an angel open the doors of the prison they were out in the morning and the high priests convene for their trial. He said well, but under the jail bring the men up soldiers went down the came back that is not here.

I suppose it was a little resurrection in miniature, and while they were still reporting that the disciples were gone, somebody else came in and said we know where they are. But where are they either out in the temple courtyard preaching again and so they rested in the third time.

This time they did hold the trial in Peter and John answered correctly. They said whether it's right to listen the matter to God. You have to judge but we cannot help but be witnesses to that which we have both seen and heard and so they were furious and they did the only thing they could think of the beat them were told that having been beaten when they were let go, Peter, John, and the apostles went back and began to preach again counting in honor to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ little further on in the book of act. You have the story of Stephen who received such an even harsher penalty. Stephen was one of the first deacons and apparently was a good preacher because a good sermon of his recorded in acts he was placed on trial, and he used it as an occasion to testify to these men on the basis of the entire history of Israel he said, citing what it happened down through Israel's history that it had been the case again and again that those in power and resisted the work of the Holy Spirit through the prophets and he said you're doing the same thing. Now God is spoken. Finally in Jesus Christ you're resisting this truth and then while he was speaking, God gave him a vision and he looked up and he said I see Jesus sitting on the right hand of God the father and the glory, and this made them so angry that they dragged him out without even completing the trial and they stoned him outside the walls of Jerusalem or I think of Paul. Paul began on the side of Christ's enemies. He was one who had a vested interest in unbelief. He didn't want to lose his traditions. He didn't want to have to change his life.

He didn't want to have to turn his back on all that he had achieved in Judaism so we did everything in his power to stamp out the sect of the Nazarene God intervened. God called when God spoke on the occasion of that call to Ananias, who was instrumental in Paul's receiving his site back again. God said to Ananias, I'm going to show him what things he must suffer for my sake and suffer. Paul did. Paul wrote about it in second Corinthians. He says I work much harder. I've been in prison more frequently. I have been flogged more severely, I've been exposed to death again and again five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes -13 times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night in the day in the open sea. I've been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, endangering the city, in danger in the country in danger at sea and in danger from false brothers.

I have labored and toiled and often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst, and have often gone without food. I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for the churches that was the apostle Paul speaking someone look at that and would say if ever there was a case of a man receiving punishment instead of rewards.

It was the apostle Paul and so has it been all will been faithful witnesses to Christ resurrection.

I think at that point got a stop and say I wonder if it's worth it all here. You are a man who had great talents and certainly had a great position in Judaism, everybody looked up to go. You have a lot to lose. How about you Peter, John, John, you ended up in prison on the Isle of Patmos Peter, you were martyred without really worth it. In order to be a witness for Jesus would have been better to do what the soldiers did soldiers know how to move with the time they saw how things were going so they said the powerful people of their day will go along with that.

Just give us money, so they took the money and kept quiet and lost their souls keep quiet quiet about Jesus quiet about the resurrection. Any one of those men who were witnesses would say to us that it was absolutely worth it because this is not a case you see of merely talking about a human philosophy. Some ideas that one person likes another person doesn't like this is a matter of philosophy as a matter of ideas is a matter of history, the resurrection is a fact and they wanted to stand with the facts.

They wanted to stand with truth and there's this as well. That really is the truth.

Jesus really did rise from the dead as they claimed he did. Having seen him in Jesus is alive and Jesus is the truth. And this means the truth These are men who said it doesn't much matter to see in the long run.

What happens in this life. Weather were scorned or persecuted or killed for our belief what we believe is the truth and the truth will last because Jesus rains and Jesus last forever or over, you see, one day there will be a great reversal is often the case in this life because of sin, and because some of the commitment that men and women have to unbelief that unbelief is rewarded and the truth is punished. That's happened before it will happen again. God is on his throne day is coming. All of that will be overturned.

Unbelief will be judged. Sin will be punished. Those who stand with the Lord Jesus Christ will hear him say well done good and faithful servant. Witness of my enter into the joy of your living Lord's prayer our father. We know what kind of a world it is in which we live. It's whole world that killed our master yet we know something else we know that's this world is your world and that what happens here evil as it may be, will never be the final word, and so we stand with him who is risen him who is the king here who is the Lord of lords, and was the Savior and we saved all the world. On this day, and on every day. Jesus is King Jesus is risen. We call men and women of faith in him. God give us grace to be faithful in that great task, regardless of what the cost may be, for Jesus sake listing to the Bible study you.

Featuring the teaching of Dr. James four. Would you like to learn more about the fascinating topic of the empty tomb and its significance to our faith. If so, we'd like to offer you a free CD from Dr. Boyce entitled the not quite empty tomb. This free offer is our way of saying thanks to receive your CD.

Call us at 1-800-488-1888 and we be happy to send your message. The not quite empty to that number again is 1-800-488-1888, would you consider becoming a monthly supporter of the Bible study our perhaps you consider sharing a special Easter season gift to help keep Dr. Boyce's messages on the air and online.

You can do so by calling us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or visit us online at the Bible study our God to work. Another option, mail a check to 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you for understanding the need and responding with your prayers and financial gifts. Dr. Boyce's impact reached far beyond his local pulpit are Bible teacher was a prolific author and articulate spokesman for the reformed faith around the world, audio, and print materials from Dr. Boyce's special event Bible teaching and writing ministries are available@reformedresources.org that's reformed resources.org hi Mark Daniels, and I wonder is Jesus sermon on the mount at her puzzled you have you wondered about its purpose wasn't a set of ethics. The world is to live by your standard for legalism in the church joined Dr. James points as he examines Jesus great sermon in the Galilee.

Next time one Bible study our hearing you to think and act biblically


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