Jesus resurrected from the dead?
7) stolen by enemies?
is a gross answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers - at bottom merely
a gross prohibition for us: you shall not think!"
through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think
more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have
sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
5.7 Did enemies remove the body?
the Jewish authorities steal the body? The Jews had expressed concern
that Jesus' disciples might try to steal his body and then falsely claim
his resurrection. This is why Jewish authorities secured a guard unit from
Pilate. It is conceivable that those same authorities took the body in order
to prevent it from being stolen by anyone else. This would have eclipsed
any similar action on the part of those interested in faking a resurrection.
Yet there is one obvious fault to this explanation. If the Jews had stolen
the body, then they both could have and would have produced it. The fact
that the Jews did not do this indicates that they most likely could not.
PROBLEM: FOLLOW THE MONEY
only reason why Jewish authorities would not have produced the body if they
had it, antithetical to everything they publicly claimed, is suggested by
the old adage "follow the money". Perhaps the Jews stole the body in
order to extort money from the disciples. This would have been along
the lines of the Pharisees demanding, "Give us money or we'll produce the
body and end your resurrection hoax."
there exists no evidence of this scenario, is this a workable explanation
of the missing body given the fact that the disciples had some kind of treasury?
First, the love of money
is certainly a root of all kinds of evil, but it does not explain the facts
as we know them. Just as greed could have been a motivation for the Jews,
it definitely was a motivation for Judas. So it's highly likely that when
Judas, the disciple's treasurer, ran off and betrayed Jesus, whatever treasury
that existed also ran off with him:
Now he [Judas]
said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he
was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put
into it. (John 12:6 NASB)
said to him, "What you do, do quickly." For some were supposing, because
Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things
we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something
to the poor. (John 13:27b,29 NASB)
because the disciples likely had little or no money, any fortune the Pharisees
hoped to cash in on would have to be in the form of the disciples' future
revenues. If this was the case, then the Pharisees were hurting themselves
by the beating, ostracizing, and stoning the disciples and their converts.
if the Jewish authorities had been extorting money from the disciples over
Jesus' dead body, then the disciples would not have chosen to die in order
to maintain that Christ had bodily arose. Incontrovertibly, the Jewish authorities
were out to discredit the resurrection, and the best way for them to have
done that would have been to produce the body if they had it, which they
-- MORE SUSPECTS
the Romans steal the body? The Roman guard unit present at the tomb
had perhaps the single greatest opportunity to steal the body. At the same
time, they would have had the least motive. The guard unit made two mistakes
for which one or all of them were in danger of execution. They allowed the
body to be removed from the tomb and they left their post. Josh McDowell
writes of Roman justice in such a case: "If it was not apparent which soldier
had failed in duty, then lots were drawn to see who would be punished with
death for the guard unit's failure." 1
-- PROBLEM: RISK VS. REWARD
doubtful as the guards appear of body snatching, we might once again follow
the money and explore the possibility that the Roman guard was using the
stolen body for financial gain. The disciples were not being extorted by
the guards for the same reason they were not being extorted by the Jews:
too little to gain, and the disciples were utterly convinced of Jesus' return
the guards took the body, but were instead extorting the Jewish authorities.
The Jews did have money, and the disciples would only find a vacant tomb
and missing guards. But what seems to be shaping up as the best explanation
so far still falls apart for at least five reasons.
1.) The Jewish authorities
could have informed the Roman authorities and the guards would have been
executed. Remember that the Jews were the ones who assured the guards
they would protect them.
2.) The Jews claimed,
and still claim, that it was not the guards who stole the body, but the
3.) In AD 70 Rome
utterly destroyed Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. Rome could have
hurt them even further by exposing the Jews' role in the resurrection
scheme if the Jews truly had such involvement.
4.) Rome eventually
sought to destroy the church and could have best done so by making public
the extortion scheme with all details and producing the body.
5.) The secret of
the stolen body by whomever would have eventually leaked out and the body
been produced. But again, neither Rome nor anyone else ever produced a
the explanations reviewed so far disregard a great deal of the scriptural
accounts and assume many facts not in evidence. They each fail to explain
the provable facts of history as we know them. This leaves only two alternatives;
both of which fit more facts than any other belief. By divine power or
dumb luck, Jesus had to have removed himself from that tomb.
Was Jesus resurrected from the dead? - part eight
What do we know about Jesus from
Do miracles really happen?