While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.”
Let us put aside for a moment the notion that these ideas were added at a later date and were not part of the original Resurrection narrative. Let us also put aside the notion that these words are there to divide Christian from Jew. Let us rather look at what the underlying truth of these verses could be.
In those words there are two clues as to how the news of Jesus’ resurrection was greeted by those who had not been Jesus’ followers. Those who had guarded the tomb told a convincing enough story to give the Jewish authorities enough reason to believe them, or at least think others would believe them, enough reason to make them want to stop the story going any further. Secondly, like with Judas, the authorities think money will buy them what they want, they think it will ensure things will remain as they want them to remain, that even now they have the proof they so desperately wanted they don’t really want it at all for this proof shows they were mistaken.
Power and wealth have always been used to hide and disguise, there is nothing new going on here, sadly it still happens. What is saddest of all however is the lack of belief in the reality that the truth will out. The Good News was not going to be silenced with a large sum of money, it was not going to be silenced with all the money and wealth in the world. The truth will out, be it a child pinching a sibling or a politician fiddling their expenses. Power, wealth and influence might be able to hide it, disguise it, detract onlookers from the truth for a season but in the end all will be revealed.