One day there will be a great reversal. As is often the case in this life because of sin and the commitment that men and women have to unbelief, that unbelief is rewarded and the truth is punished. That's happened before, and it will happen again. But, nevertheless, God is on his throne. The day is coming when all of that will be overturned. Unbelief will be judged, sin will be punished, and those who stand with the Lord Jesus Christ will hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord."

But now I want you to look at something else. I want you to turn from thinking about those enemies of Christ, who are exemplified by the soldiers and the priests on that first Easter Sunday, and instead I want you to focus on Christ's friends, those who learned of the resurrection and who met with Jesus Christ following his resurrection. Consider people like the women who came to the tomb, or Peter and John, who ran there because of the women's report, or James or any of the others who saw Jesus later. 

Let me give another example of where unbelief is rewarded, this one more recent. A number of years ago, a British scholar by the name of Hugh Schonfield published a book with the title, The Passover Plot...Here's a case, which like so many others, shows us a man who proposes a theory to explain away the reality of the resurrection. And instead of being rebuffed or forgotten, as Schofield and his book should have been, he is rewarded. It's a case of rewards instead of punishments.

The soldiers had left their post, and the tomb was empty. They must have been terrified, wondering what was going to happen to them. After the religious leaders met together, they did not seek to have the soldiers punished. Instead, the guards were told to lie about what had happened. They were to go out and say nothing about angels or a stone being rolled away, but simply to say that while they were asleep, his disciples came and stole the body. This is the way the text says it: “When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And if this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’”

Each year at Easter time, when I turn to these stories of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I find myself wondering what I'm going to find new to preach on. When you've been doing this as many years as I have now, you begin to have the feeling that you have preached just about everything you can, given the rather limited corpus of material. And yet, each year as I turn to these stories, I find that there's something there I never saw before.