“And they took the money, and did as they had been instructed …” (Matthew 28:15 NASB)
What an interesting sentence: “and they took the money.” The guards in this story knew the truth; they had been at the tomb and felt the earthquake, and were terrified by the angel. They knew that something miraculous had happened — but they were offered “a large sum of money” (:12) to say otherwise, that “His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.” They compromised what they knew to be the truth, and “they took the money” instead.
None of us have ever been in the very position these guards were in, of denying the resurrection of Jesus, but the fact is that we face choices that are very similar to that all the time: will we do what we believe is best and right — or will we compromise the truth for the sake of money? Will we compromise our beliefs and Christian practices to get a good-paying job? Will we “cut the corner” or go along with the unethical practice at work, because after all, it will make us a lot of money? Will we refrain from making certain decisions and taking stands at church, because “it might hurt the offering”?
There are many ways in which the temptation may come, but the root issue is the same: will we be just like those guards in Matthew 28, compromising some area of truth, for the sake of material gain? Will it be said of us as we stand in judgment one day, that when we were faced with a choice of truth or treasure, that “they took the money”?