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 ere asleep. If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. (Matthew 28:12-15)
I do love a good conspiracy theory. As I’m studying a postgraduate degree in criminal investigation, I’m very keen on having many hypothesis and theories when researching a case that has multiple conclusions, so that each can be eliminated to find the right answer. What about the events of 9/11 or the disappearance of Madeleine McCann? Does the Illuminati actually exist? The whole Flat Earth Theory? The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370? How about the one where Jesus’ body was stolen from the tomb?
The Bible itself contains the first mention of the Stolen Body myth. After the Resurrection, some of the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb reported to the chief priests what had happened. The chief priests bribed them to say the body had been stolen while they slept.
Some people today still imagine that the disciples played a game of hide-and-seek with Jesus’ body. But a load of facts make this conspiracy theory impossible to believe. The stone, for example, that sealed the tomb wasn’t the kind of stone you can skip across a pond. According to textual information and the calculations of two Georgia Tech engineering professors, it might have been a five foot high circular stone weighing around two tons. When the tomb was first prepared, a team of labourers likely would have set the stone in place, using a wedge to keep the stone from rolling down a trench that sloped down to the opening of the tomb. When Jesus was buried, the wedge was removed and gravity did the rest, sealing the tomb so it could only be reopened by a gang of noisy, grunting, strong men. That’s why the women, on the way to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, wondered who could roll the stone away.
Mark 16:1-3 says,” When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
As well as this, the chief priests requested a detachment of soldiers from Pilate, the Roman governor, to guard the tomb. The Roman guard unit could have numbered as many as sixteen highly trained soldiers. Those who entertain the Stolen Body myth suppose that a scared little group of disciples confronted a guard of heavily armed, battle-trained soldiers. The disciples either overpowered the soldiers or snuck past them in their sleep to heave a two-ton stone up an incline without waking a single man. Then, so the theory goes, the disciples carted off Jesus’ body, hid it and – over the next several decades – endured torture, ridicule and martyrdom to spread what they knew to be a lie!
This is hilariously ridiculous! I was reading an article this week about the research of a Harvard Law professor called Simon Greenleaf. He lectured for several years on how to break down testimony and to determine if a witness was lying. He said, “It was… impossible that [the disciples] could have persisted in affirming the truths they narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.”
What Does This Means To Me?
As Easter Sunday is tomorrow where we remember Jesus’ resurrection, I find it incredible how one man can be raised from the dead. This cements itself in my mind that Jesus WAS and IS the Son of God, the reason for my existence and the purpose of my life. Like the first Christians who saw that open tomb with their very eyes, I can have complete confidence that my Christian faith is based on the solid, historical fact of the empty tomb and the risen Christ… and that is why I believe in the right answer!
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