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While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After they had assembled with the elders and formed a plan, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came at night and stole his body while we were asleep.’ If this matter is heard before the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story is told among the Jews to this day.
In response to the "angel of the Lord and Jesus resurrection" events, the chief priests launch a cover-up operation. The guards that witnessed the miracle at the tomb are bribed to tell lies about what really happened. That's right, the same folks that made sure it was Jesus that was crucified are now doing everything they can to make sure nobody knows that He rose from the dead. At this moment, I wonder how they are feeling about crucifying Jesus? Probably not too great. But instead of repenting, they just keep on running the wrong direction.
And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
No person can hide from God. Satan cannot hide from God. No good or wicked deed is done without God seeing. My prayer today is that this truth would change the way we live, and change the way we make decisions on a daily basis. Lord God, you have made your home with us by sending your Holy Spirit through Christ to dwell within us. May we encounter the reality of your presence daily and “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” (Romans 12:1)
With regard to the collection for the saints, please follow the directions that I gave to the churches of Galatia: On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside some income and save it to the extent that God has blessed you, so that a collection will not have to be made when I come. Then, when I arrive, I will send those whom you approve with letters of explanation to carry your gift to Jerusalem.
There is an idea here of “first fruits”; and those fruits belong to God. It was like this when the law was given to Moses and Israel, it continues to be a solid biblical principal today. Specifically, what we give should be decided in our hearts. The idea of a “tithe” is just that – the first fruits given unto the Lord first. The tithe is not given after you already know you have enough, it’s given before you know that – and given even if you know you won’t make it to your next paycheck. This design reflects trust in a God who is faithful. God promises to provide. (Malachi 3:10)
My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. Just as it is written, “He has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.” Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God,
Giving is a heart issue whether you are talking about financial dollars, the attitude with which you give, your time; all of it is a matter of the heart. Verse 7 sums it up, “God loves a cheerful giver.” It is not wrong to pray for God to bless you and it is well within His means to do so. Blessing comes in various forms, and we do not always recognize how we have been blessed. It is God who supplies the means to give and it is God who “increases your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” (NIV). Be generous on every occasion and be enriched in every way.
Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you!” So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.”
In style, an angel of the Lord hits the scene and rolls away the stone that once covered Jesus' tomb. Jesus is not in the tomb though, He decided to "miracle" out of there before all that and go to Galilee - though He does make an appearance to Mary and Mary when they leave the tomb. That's right, the chains of death couldn't hold our Lord and Savior. They couldn't hold Him...and they can't hold those who believe in Him. The sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56) - and Jesus conquered both on this day in History. Jesus is alive and well. Amen!