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Matthew 28:13

ESV and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’
NIV telling them, 'You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'
NASB and said, 'You are to say, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were asleep.’
CSB and told them, "Say this, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him while we were sleeping.'
NLT They told the soldiers, 'You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’
KJV Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

What does Matthew 28:13 mean?

From the first moments following Jesus' resurrection, two competing stories started to circulate about what really happened. The truth came from lips of the women who had seen the angel, then encountered Jesus alive and even touched His feet. They were the first to report that Jesus had been raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1–10).

The other story begins here. The Roman soldiers, too, had seen the angel. They had seen him roll away the stone. They had felt the earthquake. They knew the body was gone and that something truly epic was going on. However, the Jewish religious leaders have bribed them to spread a different story. Their claim is to be that Jesus' disciples came in the dead of night, while the soldiers were sleeping, and took the body away.

Of course, this story is itself hard to believe. Jesus' body was not sitting on a piece of wood, in the open, waiting to be easily snatched away. It had been placed into a rocky cave, with a boulder for a door, sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:59–66).

Versions of these two stories still compete in our world today. Christians say Jesus, the Son of God, was raised from the dead on the third day. Unbelievers claim the body of Jesus, the imposter Messiah, died and never drew breath again.

The soldiers will agree to take the money to tell the false version of the story, but they will do so at some risk to themselves. Roman soldiers could be executed for falling asleep while on guard duty. These men will claim to have been so asleep that men could break a seal, move a boulder, and then escape with a dead man. The chief priests will have an answer for that.
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