Did the resurrection really happen? Part 2
Part 2: Was the body stolen, or did they go to the wrong tomb?
Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Once you disprove it, you disprove Christianity. But what if we have all been tricked? What if Jesus died, but the disciples stole the body and made the whole story up?
The Bible itself contains the first mention of the Stolen Body myth in Matthew 28:12-15.
However it is very unlikely to explain what happened to Jesus body for the following reasons.
1. The stone that sealed Jesus’ tomb was massive and weighed tons. It would not have been that easy to toss it aside and grab the body.
2. To make matters worse the stone was guarded by a large group of Roman soldiers. These guys were fully trained, fully resourced and licensed to kill.
Those who think that Jesus’ body was stolen suppose that the disciples, who days earlier had run away in fear from soldiers and a servant girl, confronted heavily armed, battle-trained Roman soldiers. They either overpowered them or snuck past them to break the Roman seal and move a two-tonne stone up an incline. Then the disciples carted off Jesus’ body, having removed the strips of linen and burial cloth and taking the time to neatly fold them up, hid it somewhere and, over the course of the next several decades, endured ridicule, torture and martyrdom to spread a lie that they knew was a lie, throughout the known world.
What if the disciples went to the wrong tomb? What if the empty tomb wasn’t Jesus’ tomb and Jesus is still in a tomb somewhere else?
Jesus was buried in the tomb that belonged to a rich, prominent man named Joseph of Arimathea. Being a rich man, one would guess that his tomb site would have been slightly distinctive and somewhat well known (Mark 15:42-46). When Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid (Mark 15:47).
These same women were the first to discover the empty tomb (Mark 16:4). If they went to the wrong tomb, then so did the angel or young man dressed in a white robe, who was sitting in the empty tomb (Mark 16:5). He was the one who announced that Jesus was risen and that the women should tell the blokes (Mark 16:6-7).
Mary Magdalene ran and found Peter and John. On hearing the report they too ran for the tomb. Maybe they went to the wrong tomb too, independent of the women. Unlikely, huh? They also found the tomb empty.
And what about the cheif priests and the guard? Don’t you think they knew which tomb was the right one? If Jesus’ disciples went to the wrong tomb, wouldn’t the guards have just gone to the right one and disproved the empty tomb claims?
It is interesting that the disciples first preached the resurrection and made many converts to Christ in Jerusalem, not far from where Jesus was buried. Any one of their hostile hearers could have visited the tomb to check out and discredit the claim, if the disciples had merely gone to the wrong tomb.
What do you think?