While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money. Matthew 28:11-12
The chief priests were given an eye witness account of the resurrection by unbiased, reliable witnesses and they still refused to believe. Instead, they paid the guards a bribe. They didn’t believe themselves and hindered others. Previously they had mocked Jesus and indicated they would believe in him if he gave them sufficient evidence.
“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him’” (Matthew 27:41-42).
Yet nothing would convince them—not evidence, not answers to intellectual questions, not fulfilled prophecy, not archaeological evidence and not historical data. There’s more going on here than people needing evidence.
Jesus said of the Jews, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
Jesus isn’t surprised that people don’t believe in him so perhaps we should be less surprised. Believing in Jesus makes us accountable, the way we live matters, it places us under conviction. Our selfishness and lack of compassion condemn us. Instinctively we know we don’t live a life pleasing to him.
However, our believing or not believing doesn’t alter his existence. We may convince ourselves but our opinion is of little importance, especially if we’re wrong.