This is good advice. Evidently some people didn't take it.
For reasons I cannot fathom, the hierarchy at the time was very afraid.
"...some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them: "You are to say, `his disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.'"...and the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day."Well, duh!
I wish I could find commentator William Barclay's words on this passage, but I can't. So you'll have to do with mine.
This story has circulated, not just among the Jews but among all non-believers to this present day. Why? Why is such a ridiculous story given any credibility at all?
I believe the answer is fear. But why people, some people, are afraid to face the fact of the Messiah's birth, death, resurrection, and, most of all, the salvation he gave us is beyond me.
I've heard a number of theories about Jesus. That he was a "nice guy." A "healer." A "kind person," and even a "prophet."
But none of these theories square if his resurrection is denied! And if his resurrection isn't true, then Jesus wasn't a "nice guy" at all—he was a liar, and liars are not "nice guys."
Resurrexit sicut dixit!
Jesus said, over and over again, that he would rise from the dead. And he did. Obviously. Sleeping guards normally don't get rewarded...they get punished. The whole sham about the "stolen body" is so transparent a blind person could see it, so why do people, some people, believe it?
What are they afraid of?
Sometimes, I guess, it's scary to live like a follower of Christ. When things get tough, it may seem easier to deny, not just the cross, but the resurrection. Because here on earth, there is a price to be paid for following Jesus.
Pay it. It's worth it. And don't be afraid!
Tell everyone you know the truth: He Has Risen! Jesus, the Messiah, God made Man, has come to us as a human, lived among us, taken up our crosses, suffered for us, died for us, conquered death itself, saved us!
Do not be afraid.
Don't be afraid to tell the truth. Tell it humbly, tell it joyfully: He has risen! God be praised, we are saved!