"while you were sleeping"
"His disciples came during the night and stole him while we were asleep." —Matthew 28:13
The soldiers guarding the tomb were the first witnesses to the Resurrection. As they guarded the tomb of Jesus, "there was a mighty earthquake, as the angel of the Lord descended from heaven The guards grew paralyzed with fear of him and fell down like dead men" (Mt 28:2, 4). The chief priests instructed the soldiers to say that Jesus' disciples came during the night and stole him when they were asleep (Mt 28:13). If the soldiers were indeed asleep on the job, how could they know what happened while they were asleep? Since guards were often punished by death when they failed on their guard (e.g. see Acts 12:19; 16:27), their excuse that they were asleep is also weak, in that the next logical question would be: "Then why are you still alive?"
Additionally, if any of the soldier guards were asleep and did hear the supposed noise of the disciples rolling away the "huge" stone (Mk 16:4), that soldier would have roused his mates and stopped the attempt to steal Jesus' body. Moreover, the disciples spent their time immediately after the death of Jesus locked inside the upper room in fear. If the disciples did steal the body, they would have announced it to the world the day after Easter to publicize the Resurrection and gain an advantage in their cause rather than waiting fifty days to make it known. The entire excuse by the chief priests is so flimsy that it can be easily debunked.
The forces of evil cannot overcome the Resurrection of Jesus. No, Jesus is truly risen! The tomb is empty! The Resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. Repent of any unbelief in the Resurrection of Jesus, and live in the freedom of risen life.
Prayer: Jesus, may I live every day in risen, new life.
Promise: "This is the Jesus God has raised up." —Acts 2:32
Praise: Praise You, risen Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth. All creation gives You glory. Alleluia!
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 2016
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