The hardness of heart that the priests and Pharisees had is simply unbelievable to me. Despite all their efforts, the tomb was empty. That is one thing even they did not dispute.
They had the testimony of the guard who told them that there was an earthquake, and then an angel rolled away the stone.
More, they had to have heard of all the people that had died who were suddenly now living again (Matthew 27:52-53).
But with all this evidence before them, they still didn’t believe Jesus was the Christ, and went out of their way to bribe the guards so that they would spread a false rumor that the disciples had stolen the body. And these were people that prided themselves in keeping God’s law.
It just goes to prove what Jesus said in his story about Lazarus,
If [people] do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:31)
Jesus rose from the dead and so did many others. But the Pharisees and priests refused to believe.
And there are many people like that today. You can throw out all the evidence there is for God; you can answer all their questions about the Bible and Jesus. They may even see things they can’t explain, people healed of cancer or other terminal illnesses. Yet they still won’t believe.
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that there are people who simply will not believe. It’s not that they can’t believe. They choose not to. And apart from God’s grace, they never will.
So what am I saying? Pray. For only God can open the eyes of such people. The apostle Paul tells us,
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (II Corinthians 4:3-4)
What do we pray? That God would make his light shine in their hearts to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)
Indeed, that was what saved Paul. In his blindness and rejection of the truth, God shined his light upon Paul both literally and figuratively and it changed his life.
Are you discouraged by the hardness of heart in the people you love? You cannot change their hearts. No matter what you say or do, you don’t have the power to change a heart. But God does. So don’t give up. Pray. Fervantly. And by his grace, God will bring his light of salvation to them.