Happy Mother’s Day!

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life . . . Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” —Proverbs 31:10-31, ESV

This Mother’s Day, don’t forget to take the time to thank the moms you know—including your own!—for all that they do.

Identify the Proverbs 31 women in your life—maybe it’s the busy mother, a soon-to-be mother, a new mom, or maybe it’s the woman who acts like a mother to you who supports you. Whoever she is, she demonstrates true beauty and value through her love for the Lord and those around her.

Watch and share this encouraging video with those you love and the women in your life:

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Free Ebook: Incomparable

Incomparable by Andrew Wilson

Daily we strive to grow in our walk with the Lord, and daily we can be overwhelmed by the amazing love and incredible grace of God. Andrew Wilson took time to study the Word and began to explore the being of God, the names of God, God’s trinitarian nature, and the attributes of God, resulting in his ebook, Incomparable: Explorations in the Character of God.

For a limited time you can get Incomparable: Explorations in the Character of God for free!

There are so many names and characteristics for God, often times making it difficult to fully comprehend who God is and how his characteristics all work together. Wilson takes time to fully navigate each name, each attribute, each characteristic in order to help us more fully comprehend who God is and what that means for us.

 

Wilson writes in Incomparable, on God’s unchanging nature:

“Almost everything about you is changing right now, even as you sit completely still. Your body is changing, as every second you produce twenty-five million cells, and your brain processes one hundred million new pieces of information. Your location is changing at a rate of sixty-six thousand miles per hour, along with the rest of the large lump of rock we call the earth. This rock is itself changing all the time, with the earth’s crust moving continuously, continents changing shape, and Mount Everest growing five centimeters every year. The sun, probably the largest and most steady object you know anything about, is changing rather more dramatically: It is now fifty million tons lighter than it was when you started reading this paragraph. Everything changes. Except God.[Click to Tweet!]”

Continue on your great journey of growing in your faith and discovering more about the extraordinary character of God by adding this free ebook to your library. You’ll be able to explore 60 names and descriptions of our creator, find profound Biblical insights that will enrich your faith, and connect truth to your daily life.

Get Incomparable for free through tomorrow, May 5. Once you buy this great ebook, you’ll be able to open and read it right out of your Vyrso app!

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Interview: Lysa Terkeurst on Faithlife Today and The Best Yes

Managing our time, stress levels, and spiritual health usually can be boiled down to two words—”yes” and “no.” So how do we make wise decisions on a daily basis? Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explores this question and how to find “space for our souls” in her ebook, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

Check out this episode of Faithlife Today and hear from Lysa Terkeurst on her ministry and her new ebook, The Best Yes:

In this interview, Terkeurst imparts a small, but effective, piece of wisdom on how to spend quality time with God on a daily basis—“Give God, who should be first, the first five minutes of our day.” [Click to tweet!] Terkeurst illustrates this with her morning routine—when her alarm goes off in the morning, she spends the first five minutes of her day reading the Bible rather than scrolling through social media on her phone.

Terkeurst’s new release, The Best Yes, is all about “learning to find and play the role God wants most for you to play, not the ones you feel pressured into playing for the sake of others or even our sense of accomplishment and worth.”

How can you start giving God the first five minutes of you day? How can you begin to combat “busy” and spend more time with God? Check out Lysa Terkeurst’s The Best Yes on Vyrso!

***

See more interviews and lectures with authors, speakers, and scholars on Faithlife Today, a new video series showcasing powerful insights, biblical inspiration, exclusive interviews, and more—all from your friends at Faithlife.

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A Salute to Dads Who Choose Not to Rage by Jay Payleitner

The Dad Book

Today’s guest post is from Jay Payleitner, an event speaker and the author of over a dozen books on family relationships, including the bestseller, 52 Things Kids Needs from a Dad. Don’t miss his latest title, The Dad Book, now on Vyrso. To connect with Jay, visit his website is jaypayleitner.com

About five years ago, I finally replaced our faded and flawed garage door.  It cost me $1,200 and made all the difference in the world when you pulled up to our home.  That new door was crisp, clean, and flawless.  I was confident it would stay that way because–even though my sons played driveway stickball—I had specifically selected a heavy-duty door so the wiffle balls wouldn’t leave a dent.

Eight days later, I pulled up to a driveway of four college boys playing stickball.  My eyes went straight to three gashes in my new $1,200 garage door.  As I had planned, there were no wiffle ball dents.  But it turns out that once in a while on the backswing a stickball bat—which is really just a broom handle wrapped with athletic tape—will strike the garage door with enough force to leave a noticeable crease in the surface.  Did I mention that door had cost me $1,200?

So, what did this dad do? Did I rage?

Claiming a small victory for dads everywhere, I’m proud to say I did not rage.  (Yes, I can hear your applause.) Now, it helped that my son, Isaac, jogged out to the street to meet me with a sincere apology.  But just as important, my mind quickly calculated what was going on.  There were no beer cans scattered on the lawn.  No police squad cars were pulling up with bad news. No creepy video games were crashing and slashing in a dark basement. My son and three of his life-long friends had chosen to hang out in my front yard and compete in the time-honored game of stickball.  What kind of investment does that require? Broom handle: $3. Wiffle balls: $6. A garage door with stickball bruises: priceless. (Marked down from $1,200.)

Gentlemen, hear me.  Please don’t stress out every time a floor gets scuffed, a table gets scratched, or a door gets dented.  After all, it’s just stuff. And stuff doesn’t last. Relationships are the one thing that we can take with us into eternity. [Click to tweet!] That’s why you want your home to be a place where unconditional love and overflowing grace reside. You want kids from near and far to feel welcome and comfortable.  As a bonus, you’ll always know where your own kids are and who they’re with.

There’s a story told by Harmon Killebrew, the great power hitter for the Minnesota Twins, during his induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame. He recalled how one day he and his brother were roughhousing in the front yard. His mother stepped out of the screen door and called out, “You’re tearing up the grass.” Harmon’s dad happened to be within earshot and reminded his wife, “We’re not raising grass. We’re raising boys.”

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Your kids will grow up so fast.  They’ll be gone before you know it.  After that, you’ll have plenty of time to re-sod, re-paint, re-screen, re-carpet, and relax.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”  Colossians 3:21 (NASB)

Check out Jay Payleitner’s, The Dad Book, now on Vyrso, for inspiration, ideas, and encouragement for dads to engage with their kids and connect them with God.

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Continuing in Relationship because of Christ

Everyday Grace

Today’s guest post is written by Jessica Thompson,  author of Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus, and co-author of Give Them Grace. She has been married for 18 years and has three kids, ranging from nine to fourteen years old.

“If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. It’s a simple practice that works.”

Seemingly good advice for the one looking for relationship. I would venture to say everyone would agree with that statement. I know I have said something very similar to my children as they have bemoaned the fact that they don’t have many friends. I have preached that to my own heart. And yet, there is a man who wrecks that entire paradigm.

This man lived unselfishly every single day of his life. He always chose to love others, perfectly. He also chose to serve others, completely. He never thought about what was best for him. He lived to please his Father. He considered himself a servant to all. There was no task too dirty or too menial for him. He was known to wash the feet of those who were about to betray and deny him. He gave to those he knew would show no gratitude. He loved without ever thinking of what would be given in return. He truly understood all that others went through without ever being understood. He gave love unceasingly and was met with hate and mistrust. I am sure you have guessed at this point that I am talking about our Redeemer, our sweet Savior, our Christ.

We are all sinners and bound to hurt and to be hurt, and, because of this, we desire to protect ourselves. I don’t want to be hurt and I hate hurting others. It makes me think the easiest thing is just to hide myself away, lock my heart up, never get close enough to anybody to hurt them or to let them hurt me.

But then I look at what lengths God has gone to be in relationship with me. I look at Christ living every single day of his life in relationship without ever sinning and yet constantly being sinned against, and my heart is broken. My self-protective tendencies are shattered. For in Christ, I have all the relationship I need and all the relationship I have ever longed for. [Click to tweet!]

Even as I type this on a dreary Monday morning, I can look back at the three hours I have been awake and I can see that I have sinned against everyone with whom I have come in contact. They may not have known what was in my heart, but if they did they would have been devastated. If I stay with that thought I can become increasingly inward focused and fall back into self-preservation. But then the Holy Spirit lifts my eyes, and I see my Perfect Righteousness sitting at the right hand of the Father. I see the Father lovingly looking at his Son, and I know that look is for me as well because I am in Christ by faith. All the love and acceptance that Jesus earned is now mine. I am a relationship screw-up, and yet he has forgiven me.
Beloved, because of this forgiveness, because of this Messiah who knows the hurt of relationship, because of this God who would suffer when the relationship with his Son was broken, because of the Holy Spirit who reminds us of our Father’s steadfast love for us, we can continue in relationship.

We can love out of the overflow of love that has been bestowed on us. We can forgive out of the forgiveness that has washed our lives completely. We can give when it feels like there is nothing left to give. When there is no desire to give, we can remember that we have already been given all that we need.

Perhaps the quote at the beginning should read, “If you want love, remember you have it. If you want friends, remember your position in Christ. If you would like to feel understood, see Christ your High Priest sympathizing with you in every weakness. It’s a difficult practice, but you have help.”

 

Don’t miss Jessica Thompson’s new ebook, Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus, for more on navigating relationships with the love of Christ!

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The Two Cliffs of Sin and Legalism

The Two Cliffs of Sin and Legalism

Today’s excerpt is from Radically Normal: You Don’t Have to Live Crazy to Follow Jesus by Josh Kelley, on sale for $1.99 April 13 through April 17. The book is a call away from both obsessive and complacent Christianity and towards radical devotion lived out in surprisingly normal ways.  Josh has been a pastor for 15 years and holds a BA in biblical studies from Pacific Life College.

Years ago, my friend Jason went hiking in the mountains of   Tajikistan along the border of Afghanistan. Americans weren’t particularly popular in that part of the world, so he admits it wasn’t one of the brighter things he’s done. He said the trip up the mountain was hard enough, but coming down was a nightmare. His party was thousands of feet above the valley, making its way down what could be called a path only in the most generous sense of the word. It ran along a narrow ridge and was covered with jagged, loose gravel. Because the decline was so steep on each side, he didn’t actually walk down the path—he slid.

“The trickiest part was staying on the ridge with only a couple feet of leeway on either side,” Jason said. “If you focused too much on the dangers of one side, you naturally overcompensated and started to slide down the other side. The whole way down we had to constantly adjust our slide to avoid going too far off either side to a rather painful end.”

Jason survived and went on to get married, have kids, and take up safer activities, including raising poison dart frogs (he assures me they lose their poison in captivity) and being a missionary in Bolivia.

Picture yourself on that same path, but make it narrower and the drop-off steeper than whatever you imagined. Add fierce winds howling around you, nearly pushing you off one side and then the other. Now imagine a rope anchored every 20 feet and running the entire length of the path. Only when you’re grasping the rope do you dare to look up and enjoy the stunning view before you.

That path describes your Christian journey. The cliff to the left is destructive disobedience. This is complacent Christianity. The cliff to the right is legalism, trying to earn God’s favor by doing all the right things and being a good person. This is obsessive Christianity. Fall off either cliff, and you’ll end up in slavery.

The apostle Paul wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). He wrote “burdened again” because the Galatians had been saved from slavery to idols and sin, and now they were on the verge of being enslaved to legalism. Jesus had saved them from one cliff, and they were getting ready to cannonball off the other.

What does this have to do with grace? Grace is the rope that keeps you on the path. God’s grace, secured by Christ’s death, got us on the path in the first place. Grasping onto his grace is the only way we can stay on the path and enjoy the journey. And only by his grace can we safely make it home. No matter how many times we fall off the path, Jesus is ready to pull us back up by his grace. [Click to tweet!]

Now I want you to imagine staying on that path without the rope. Does it sound difficult? Actually, it’s not difficult—it’s impossible. The winds of selfishness, lust, bitterness, and a host of other sinful desires threaten to blow us over the left cliff of destructive sin. As soon as we get control over those desires, we begin to feel pretty good about ourselves, and we’re hit by winds of pride and self-righteousness, pushing us toward the right cliff of legalism. Our only hope, every step of the way, is desperate dependence on God’s grace.

To be radically normal is to stay on the path and avoid both cliffs, completely dependent on grace.

The problem with the analogy is that it doesn’t convey how joy-filled the journey is. Try to imagine experiencing some of your happiest moments while walking along that narrow path—seeing your newborn child, going to Disneyland, enjoying your favorite meal. . . .

Now we’re getting closer.

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5 Ways to Help Support a Couple in Crisis: Advice from Kathi Lipp

Happy Habits for Every Couple

Today’s guest post is written by Kathi Lipp, a national speaker and author of Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplify Your SpaceThe Husband Project, and many others. Kathi and her husband, Roger, have co-authored the new ebook Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship, a 21-day plan to help couples put love and laughter back into their marriages. 

Even before we wrote a marriage book, Roger and I had, what we felt was, more than an average number of people come to one or both of us and say, “My marriage is in trouble.”

From, “I think my husband is having an affair,” to “We just don’t like spending time together anymore,” the pleas were along different lines, but always heartbreaking. I can’t think of many things harder than when someone you love is in a hurting marriage.

But then comes the really practical questions of what can I do? How do I support my friend, but also support their marriage?

It would be easy to just agree, “Yep—he’s a dog!” or “I don’t know how you stay with her after the way she’s behaved.” But as someone who has gone through the pain of divorce, I know that there is very little relief to be found in breaking up a marriage. Our goal, always, should be reconciliation.

Here are a few guidelines that we’ve come up with as a couple to support our friends during the hardest parts of marriage:

1. Don’t Take Sides—yet. It is so easy to jump on someone’s bandwagon— especially when they are hurting. But after too many times of listening to the other side of the story and realizing that maybe I didn’t have all the facts, I now hold back judgement. It’s very hard to back pedal when you’ve already declared sides.

2. Meet and meet again. One of the main things your friend needs from you is the ministry of presence.  When marriage is hard, one of the overwhelming feelings most people have is loneliness. Just by being present, going to coffee, and talking about some normal things that are not so painful, you can love them and help restore their equilibrium.

3. Pray. Pray with them. Pray on your own. And let them know that you are praying for them. Even if your friend can’t find it within themselves to pray, you can be a powerful, strong stretcher-bearer in the gap.

4. Encourage healthy habits. She doesn’t feel like being nice. He doesn’t feel like bringing her flowers. She doesn’t want to be intimate. He doesn’t want to visit her mom. Challenge them to do it anyway. Your friend will never regret trying too hard.

5. Counseling is not a last resort. I used to recommend counseling when nothing else worked. Now, I’ve got a quick trigger finger when it comes to recommending professional counseling. The early intervention of a trained professional can save a couple from a lot of unnecessary, hurtful words, as well as wasted time.

And finally, let me say thank you. When marriage gets hard, lots of people don’t know what to do, so they stop showing up in their friend’s lives. Thank you, as someone who had been in that hard place and needed the support of people who knew how to share God’s love in tangible ways.

Don’t miss Kathi and Roger Lipp’s latest release, Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship, on Vyrso now!

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5 Inspirational Quotes from Women in Ministry (Free Ebook!)

You won’t want to miss What I Wish I’d Known, a brand-new, free ebook only found on Vyrso. This ebook is packed with decades of wisdom and insight from women like Kay Arthur, June Hunt, Elyse Fitzpatrick, and many others.

Here are five inspirational quotes you’ll find while reading What I Wish I’d Known:

What I Wish I'd Known

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Download What I Wish I’d Known for free, only on Vyrso.com.

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Easter Sunday: He is Risen!

He is Risen

Today’s guest post is by Andreas J. Köstenberger, the senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

The disciples had not understood what Jesus meant when he said he would suffer, die, and be raised on the third day (Matt. 16:21–23; 17:22–23; 20:17–19).

The Pharisees and religious leaders didn’t understand either, but they were concerned enough with Jesus’ predictions that they posted guards at his tomb (Matt. 27:62–66).

Indeed, how could Jesus be expected to be raised from the dead? He had died a criminal’s death. More than that, he had died like a traitor or blasphemer, as one cursed by God according to the Scriptures (Deut. 21:22–23). It would be natural to think that the Gospels should end after Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19. There were others before Jesus who had claimed to be the Messiah, and they, too, had died, and their corpses were rotting away in their graves. But Jesus’ story didn’t end in a tomb or conform to the stories of false Messiahs. The Gospels carry the narrative further to its glorious climax: an empty tomb and a risen Lord.

The evangelists include a number of different events that take place during the course of Easter Sunday. The day begins with a group of women discovering the empty tomb in the early morning. Having gone near dawn to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, they instead come to an empty tomb whose stone has been rolled away by an angel and are told by angels that the Jesus they seek is no longer in the tomb but has risen as he said. The women are then sent to the disciples and told they will see him in Galilee (Matt. 28:1–7; Mark 16:1–7; Luke 24:1–7; John 20:1–2).

At this the women depart, afraid at first (Mark 16:8), but they eventually make their way to the disciples in order to tell them what has happened (Luke 24:8–11; John 20:2). As they are traveling, they are met by the risen Lord himself who instructs them to go tell the disciples to go ahead to Galilee where they will meet him (Matt. 28:8–10). After receiving the report from the women, the disciples’ initial response is to think that the women are telling an “idle tale” (Luke 24:11), but nonetheless Peter and John decide to investigate. Running to the tomb, they find that it is indeed empty (Luke 24:12; John 20:3–5). Not only this, but the cloths used to wrap Jesus’ body are folded up and separated from the cloth used to bind his face (John 20:5–7), indicating that the body hadn’t been stolen but raised from the dead. John sees the linen cloth and believes, even though he didn’t yet fully understand that Jesus must rise from the dead according to the Scriptures. Then Peter and John return home (John 20:8–10).

Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene is making her way back to the tomb after reporting the news to the disciples. Weeping, she looks into the tomb where she sees angels. They question her about her weeping, but instead of receiving a comforting word from the angels, Mary encounters Jesus. She doesn’t recognize him at first, mistaking him for the gardener (further proof that Jesus’ followers didn’t expect him to rise from the dead, despite his repeated predictions). He then reveals himself to her and sends her back to the disciples to tell them that he will soon be ascending back to God, his and their Father. Mary returns, bringing a vastly different message than she had declared earlier that morning (John 20:11–18).

As the day goes on, two disciples are walking on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about seven miles to the northwest. Jesus comes and falls in step with them, though, like Mary, they don’t recognize him. Jesus asks what they’ve been talking about, and they proceed to tell him about the grievous events of the crucifixion and the perplexing occurrences that had taken place earlier that morning (Luke 24:13–24). While they journey on, Jesus rebukes them for their slowness to believe the Scriptures and then explains to them from the Scriptures all the things concerning himself. When they approach Emmaus, Jesus joins them at their request. As he gives thanks for the food, their eyes are opened to recognize Jesus, and he disappears. They immediately set out to return to Jerusalem and tell the disciples what has happened (Luke 24:25–35). That same evening, Jesus appears in the midst of a locked room to all the disciples who are gathered, though Thomas is absent for some unknown reason.

Jesus greets them and calms their fears that he is a spirit by inviting them to touch him and by eating a piece of broiled fish (Luke 24:36–43; John 20:19–20). Jesus then commissions the disciples to proclaim the good news of forgiveness for those who receive their message and the accompanying message of judgment for those who reject him. He sends them as the Father sent him, and breathes on them, enacting the giving of the Holy Spirit that was about to be fulfilled at Pentecost (John 20:21–23; cf. Acts 2). Jesus teaches the disciples, opening their minds to understand what was written about him in the Scriptures (Luke 24:44–45), though the remainder of Luke’s account is a condensed account of what takes place over the next forty days, as Acts 1:3–4 indicates.

That day had begun with fear, but it ended with joy. [Click to tweet!] God’s wrath has been poured out on his Son; the price has been paid, and the work of salvation is finished. Death has been defeated. The tomb is empty. Christ is risen! And the glorious news of the risen Christ means that sinners can be saved. And having been saved, we’re now sent on mission by the risen Lord to bring the good news of the gospel to a lost and dying world. He is risen indeed!

 ————

Adapted from Andreas Köstenberger and Justin Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), 173–93.

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A Holy Saturday

A Holy Saturday

Today’s guest post is by Andreas J. Köstenberger, the senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

For good reason, the Gospels devote a great deal of space to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday and Friday of Passover week, as well as Jesus’ glorious resurrection on Sunday, the “Lord’s Day.” Yet little space is given in the Gospels to the day between “Good Friday” and Easter Sunday, sometimes known as “Holy Saturday.”

None of the Gospels record any of the activities of the disciples on the Sabbath after his burial and prior to his resurrection, except for Luke, who simply writes, “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56, ESV). However, this passing reference to the disciples’ Sabbath rest may veil the considerable inner turmoil they were likely experiencing.

It is probable that Jesus’ followers were doing on Saturday what they were doing on Sunday when Jesus appeared in their midst—meeting together behind closed doors for fear of the Jewish leaders. Their hopes and expectations had been crushed. The one they hoped was the Messiah had been killed as a criminal. They hadn’t understood Jesus’ predictions about suffering and dying before the crucifixion took place (Matt. 16:21–23; 17:22–23; 20:17–19 and parallels), and it would not be until Jesus appeared among them the following day as the risen victor and conqueror of death that they would begin to understand.

Most likely, they were concerned, if not anxious or even terrified, that what had happened to their leader would now happen to them as well.

Only Matthew gives any concrete details as to what took place that day behind the scenes while activity was limited due to the Sabbath. According to his account, it was on Saturday that the Pharisees and chief priests came to Pilate and asked for a guard to be posted at Jesus’ tomb, saying, “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,” (Matthew 27:63–64).

It seems that the disciples were not the only ones who were afraid! Perhaps the unusual circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death—darkness covering the land, an earthquake, the tearing of the temple curtain—gave the Jewish leaders reason to be concerned. The Pharisees were obviously aware of the predictions Jesus had made about his resurrection, although they were not necessarily inclined to think that his words may actually come true. In fact, their words show nothing but disdain for Jesus whom they call “that impostor” and “fraud.” Nevertheless, it is ironic that not only were the Jewish leaders aware of Jesus’ prediction that he would rise on the third day, they acted on it, which exhibits more “faith” than Jesus’ own followers were able to muster at that time.

Pilate’s response, “You have a guard of soldiers” (Matthew 27:65), is somewhat ambiguous. It may be that the Roman governor grants the Jewish leaders’ request and provides them with a detachment of Roman soldiers. Alternatively, he may simply be telling them, with thinly veiled antagonism, to use their own temple police to do the job. In either case, he grants them permission to guard the tomb, and they proceed to do so.

The Jewish authorities  were adamant that the body placed in the tomb and that it must stay there and not be removed. In the context of Matthew’s account, these activities on Holy Saturday serve as proof that the Romans and the Jewish authorities secured Jesus’ tomb, which makes it unlikely that grave robbers could have stolen the body or that it could have disappeared through some sort of foul play in another way. In this way, Matthew sets up the narrative perfectly for what is to ensue on Easter Sunday at the crack of dawn.

———

Adapted from Andreas Köstenberger and Justin Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), 169–71.

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