And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers,
Read Chapter 28
George Leo Haydock
Gave a great sum of money. These princes of the Jewish nation still persisting in their malice, refused to turn to their Creator by hearty repentance, and wished to persuade the world that Jesus was not risen, sacrificing that money to falsehood, which was given for the use of the temple. For as they offered Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray his Master, so now they offer a great sum of money to suppress a truth so useful and so necessary for man. (St. Jerome)
Further, for what motive might these poor disciples have stolen the body? That they might feign the doctrine of the resurrection? On what premise might it have entered into their minds to pretend such a thing? These were men were hiding out to simply stay alive. And how could they have removed the huge stone that had made the burial secure? Even if they had somehow moved it, how could they have escaped the observation of so many? The premise is implausible. They would not have attempted such a desperate move. Such a venture would have proved fruitless. In fact, the disciples were themselves quite afraid; they were far from bold. The evidence shows that they had all rushed away from Jesus the moment they saw him seized. If then at that time they did not dare so much as to stand their ground when they saw him alive, how when he was dead could they have had the courage to withstand such a number of soldiers? Do you think they might have escaped notice? How could they have burst through th...
How could they have stolen him? O most foolish of all men! They can’t even lie plausibly! The conspicuousness of the truth highlights their falsehood. For indeed what they said after the bribe was extremely farfetched. Their falsehood did not even have the ring of plausibility. For how, I ask, could the disciples have stolen him? They were poor and unlearned. They were hiding out at this time, not even venturing to show themselves. Remember that a mandated seal had been placed upon the tomb. How could it be ignored that there were many watchmen, soldiers and Jewish authorities stationed around the sepulcher? These very authorities were already suspicious of just such a thing happening! They themselves had sought to prevent this very contingency! They were anxious to avoid just this! The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
Some of these signs were displayed publicly to the world, others privately to those present on the spot. Some of these events were displayed publicly for the world that was in darkness. Some were displayed privately, as the appearance of the angel. So truth shines forth, proclaimed even by its adversaries. For when the guards came forward to attest these actual events, the priests gave them money, so that they might pretend that a fraud had occurred. “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ ” The Gospel of Matthew, Homily