Might the disciples have stolen the body after all?April 22, 2014
I’m not ready to move past the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s consider one of the objections we often hear from critics, anti-supernaturalists, and atheists, namely, that the disciples actually stole the body of Jesus out of the tomb. Continue reading . . .
I’m not ready to move past the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s consider one of the objections we often hear from critics, anti-supernaturalists, and atheists, namely, that the disciples actually stole the body of Jesus out of the tomb.
What is it that makes this theory implausible? Several things should be considered.
First, the disciples were terrified out of their minds following the events in Gethsemane. It is quite a stretch to envision them having regained their wits and mustered up the courage to conspire to steal his body. After all, they had never understood our Lord’s prediction of his resurrection while he was alive. Are we now asked to believe that in their distraught, demented condition that they all of a sudden figure it out and hatch a plot to steal the body and thus pretend that it had come true?
Second, are we to believe that they would then be willing to suffer horrific persecution, imprisonment and martyrdom for something they knew was a complete fabrication?
Third, they had fled to Bethany after Gethsemane. Being pious Jews they would not have defiled themselves and the Sabbath by traveling to Jerusalem and robbing a grave!
Fourth, there is no evidence of such dishonesty and deceit on their part that would have led them to theft. The only dishonest one among them was Judas, and he was already dead.
Fifth, even if they had decided to steal the body, they could hardly have overpowered armed soldiers.
Sixth, and finally, molesting graves was itself a capital crime, punishable by death. Would these timid and fearful disciples have mustered sufficient courage to rob the grave of Jesus? And if they had, why didn’t the Jewish authorities prosecute them for it?
The best explanation is precisely the one that non-believers can’t bring themselves to embrace, namely, that God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, actually and factually raised Jesus to newness of a glorified life.