Saturday, March 26, 2016

His Enemies Supported the Truth

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’  Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”  Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.  (Mt 27:62-66)

Everywhere deceit recoils upon itself, and against its will supports the truth.  And observe, it was necessary for it to be believed that He died, and that He rose again, and that He was buried, and all these things are brought to pass by His enemies.  See, at any rate, these words bearing witness to every one of these facts. … So then the proof of His resurrection has become incontrovertible by what you have put forward.  For because it was sealed, there was no unfair dealing.  But if there was no unfair dealing, and the tomb was found empty, it is evident that He is risen, plainly and incontrovertibly.  Do you see how even against their will they contend for the proof of the truth? … What then did Pilate say?  “You have a guard; make it as secure as you can.  And they made it secure, sealing the tomb and setting the guard.”  He does not allow the soldiers alone to seal, for having learned the things concerning Christ, he was no longer willing to cooperate with them.  But in order to be rid of them, he endures this also and says, “Seal it as you will, that you may not have it in your power to blame others.”  For if the soldiers only had sealed, they might have said (although the saying would have been improbable and false, yet nevertheless as in the rest they cast aside shame, so in this too they might have been able to say), that the soldiers, having given up the body to be stolen, gave His disciples opportunity to feign the history concerning His resurrection, but now having themselves made it secure, they are not able to say so much as this.

See how they labor for the truth against their will?  For they themselves came to Pilate, themselves asked, themselves sealed, setting the watch, so as to be accusers and refuters of one another.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 89.1

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