As Jesus was taken from the cross and laid in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a guard was placed at the burial site to ensure that none of the followers of Christ would attempt to steal His body, hide it and create an elaborate scheme claiming Christ’s resurrection. Turns out, the guards were useless in their attempt to safeguard the tomb, because the resurrection was an “inside” job. The guards were forced to witness prophesy being fulfilled and were rendered helpless of power to change the inevitable. The Bible actually says they “shook with fear and became like dead men.” Their only option was to return to the high-ranking religious officials, now get this, carrying the TRUTH of what happened at the tomb, after all they had just witnessed it for themselves. Matthew says it like this, “some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.”
What happened next was just plain dirty politics, guided by the hand of the enemy. Matthew writes, ‘When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed;” By definition, what took place with these high-ranking officials negatively influencing the guards through money for their own gain, is called a bribe.
These men, who not only knew, but witnessed the truth, were bribed into trading the truth for deception, and living with it. This reeks of satan; lies, money, deception. Just as these men, post-resurrection, were bribed into giving up what they knew to be right and true, the enemy does the same to you with each day. I challenge you to be discerning, hold on to the truth and don’t take the bribe!
Two ways in which we are daily challenged with a bribe:
- You know God. You know what’s right, just and true; His word is clear. You have a testimony. You have witnessed what God has done in your life and the lives of those around you, but culture doesn’t want to hear that. So you’re bribed by culture, you’re bribed by media, you’re bribed by your environment; you’re pleasures and the lust of your flesh dangle opportunity in front of you; corporate and economic success throw in their cash; bad attitudes and selfishness make a play, all to keep you silent about the truth. They don’t want you talking about the God you know is real, the God you know is alive. Although you know the truth, you’ve experienced the truth, you’ll accept a bribe to not take a stand for what’s right, the precepts of God.
- You have promises of a plan from God for your life. You have incredible gifts, talents, abilities or at least the potential of these things, in order to fulfill the God-given dreams and plans for your life. You know what’s right. You know the truth about what God’s told you and led you to become, but it’s easier to take a bribe and quit. It’s easier to accept a bribe to stay put and give up, rather than pay the price to fulfill the dream. So many are taking bribes everyday, that keep them from pursuing their best life now, the life that God intended you to live; the purpose God intended for you to fulfill. You’ll accept a bribe of doubt, guilt; Bribes of laziness, bribes in the form of settling, a bribe that tells you that you’re too old or too young, a bribe that looks like ‘quit’ because it’s too hard. You’ll take a bribe to escape the trials of becoming something, even though there’s a truth in you that’s real and seeded by God.
Stop taking the bribes and live for what you know is true! I challenge you to reflect on self. Allow the Holy Spirit to examine you and expose to you the bribes that you’ve been accepting that are keeping you from standing for what’s right and/or investing in yourself to become all that God has called you out to become. Do not settle for a little upfront money to believe a lie that will keep you from Kingdom success. The resurrection brought life. Don’t take a bribe to remain in the company of the dead.