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victims of fraud

The next day (Jerusalem, Passover, AD 30), that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that fraudster himself said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore, order the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. 
Are you a victim of fraud? Last month the media reported that Jersey folk had been defrauded of £350,000 recently through what are known as “romance frauds”. Fraudsters using fictitious identities had met them on the internet and romantically persuaded them to give money or bank account details.

Those dear people had been victims of fraud. But my question is different. It’s in the present tense: Are you a victim of fraud? Now. Today. At this moment. 

Fraud always involves deceit and lies. A recent cartoon in a national newspaper showed four well-known UK politicians participating in the TV show “Would I lie to you?” All four were portrayed as lying in different ways. Who are their victims? Separately, are our children victims of fraud when physiological facts and social data are buried in order to bring about “equality” illusions? And are not many Americans now convinced that they have all been victims of electoral fraud.

‘The ability to lie is always a liability.’ (Anon.) 
All of these things remind me about the grave of Jesus – Joseph of Arimathea’s own tomb hewn out from the rock for him and sealed by him with a great stone after he had placed Jesus’ body in it. How so?

Well, the chief priests and the Pharisees (members of a leading politico-religious ruling party) had been preparing everything for the Passover. That didn’t stop them preparing other things so that they themselves would not be victims of a fraud. What they did was of great value.

Their words to Pilate (as recorded by Matthew, Jesus’ first-century biographer) began with the respectful “Sir” (kyrios - usually translated “Lord”). They continued, “we remember something that liar said while he was still alive. He claimed, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order to make the tomb secure until the third day. If you don’t, his disciples might come and steal the body. Then they will tell the people that Jesus has been raised from the dead. This last lie will be worse than the first.” 

‘A clean glove often hides a dirty hand.’ (Anon.) 
That liar? Matthew recorded this incident (one of many) about Jesus speaking and doing only truth: “A man who had a skin disease came and got down on his knees in front of Jesus. He said, “Lord, if you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing to do it,” he said. “Be ‘clean’!” Right away the man was healed of his skin disease.”

What would Pilate do? Interestingly he states that they have a guard of soldiers and that they should use that guard to guard against grave-robbers. What guard of soldiers did they have?

Historians tell us that the holy ceremonial robes of the high priest were kept in one of the four guard towers of the Antonia Fortress (adjacent to the Jerusalem Temple) and were worn only on Passover and other important religious feast days. The Romans had realized the tremendous power of the office of the high priest and had taken custody of the garments as a precautionary measure.

It seems that, because those ceremonial robes had been released for the high priest to wear at Passover, the guard of soldiers was therefore available for other duties. “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”

Do you admire Pilate’s leadership? Folk come to him with their concerns. He makes them responsible for dealing with those concerns thereby ensuring that the job would be done to their complete satisfaction. If not, it’ll be their fault.

Incidentally, the high priest will have been wearing those powerful robes whilst Jesus was being divested of everything he had.

There was no doubt about it. The chief priests and Pharisees would not allow themselves or others to become the victims of fraud. Jesus must stay dead in that grave. “They went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.”

Sinner Syvret

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