“Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.” (Matthew 28:11 NASB)
You have to ask yourself: just how depraved were these chief priests? The guard reported to them “all that had happened” — i.e., that the angel had appeared, etc. — didn’t they fear that this might really be a work of God? If Jesus could do this, was there any way that they could stop Him? And yet they schemed together (:12) and spread a lie about His body being stolen (:13-15) instead of repenting and believing in the Lord themselves.
There is an important lesson here: Those who have hardened their hearts will believe and do just about anything except turn to the Lord. They’ll believe ANY likely (or unlikely!) alternative; they’ll take any other course of action, to keep from humbling themselves and having to repent of the sin that they are clinging to instead.
But the response of these men is not our problem. We need to beware of any hardness of heart creeping into our own life. There is scriptural evidence (see Pharaoh) that when a person hardens their heart against obeying God, that soon it can grow hardened beyond repair, and destruction soon follows. Proverbs tells us this very thing: “He who hardens his neck after much reproof, will suddenly be broken — and that beyond remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1)
In light of these warnings:
— Don’t let a sin remain unrepented in your life
— Don’t let a bitterness against someone remain unforgiven
— Don’t let pride refuse to be humbled
— Don’t let an area of disobedience stand
Each time you do one of these things, you harden your heart against sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, and it is a dangerous thing to do. For before you know it, your heart will soon be as hardened as the hearts of these men who denied the Resurrection of Jesus in the face of eyewitnesses.