And while they were on their way, some of the sentries went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. They got together with the elders, and after consultation gave the soldiers a considerable sum of money and told them, “Your story must be that his disciples came after dark, and stole him away while you were asleep. If by any chance this reaches the governor’s ears, we will put it right with him and see that you do not suffer for it.” So they took the money and obeyed their instructions. The story was spread and is current among the Jews to this day.
Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, “His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping.” They assured them, “If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around.
The guards took the bribe and spread the story around town—and indeed, you can still find people today who will tell you that Jesus did not really rise from the dead, that it was a trick, some sort of sleight of hand.
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