While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. – Matthew 28:11-15 (NLT)
Faced with the overwhelming evidence that Jesus was resurrected, the chief priests came up with a plan to keep their social and political power in place by convincing the guards to lie to the people about the events they had witnessed. The guards were facing severe penalties if they did not submit to the wishes of the Jewish leaders. Having no body and a hard to believe story about angels and earthquakes, they were likely going to be executed for dereliction of duty. At least by agreeing to spread the story of the disciples taking the body, they would be somewhat protected by the religious leaders if word got back to Pilate about the missing body of Jesus. This is the great lie of the enemy. He wants us to live for the present, to protect what we have right now. If we truly believe in the resurrection, we will live for the future.
How have you seen yourself protecting the people or things you have now instead of seeking God with all of your heart? How can you make Jesus so important to you that you would choose him over everything else?