The Empty Tomb

If one does not believe the Resurrection to be true, he must first explain the empty tomb. Where is the body of Christ? Why would the disciples steal the body? None of the disciples received wealth or political status for preaching the Resurrection of Christ. They all received torture, imprisonment, and/or death because of it. (2 Cor 11:22–25) Why would they die for a lie? Even the soldiers were paid to say that the disciples stole the body. (Matt 28:11–15)

“This involves men testifying about what happened while they slept!1

One cannot accept this as a valid testimony. Guards would have been put to death for losing a prisoner while sleeping (Acts 12:19; 16:27). Also if the body was stolen, why were the wrappings left and why was the headpiece left neatly rolled in the tomb? (John 20:7)

1. assessed in the Fall of 1996(?).

Did Jesus really die?

Trained Roman soldiers who crucified men for a living concluded that he was dead. As one of the soldiers went to break the legs of the three on the cross, he realized that Jesus was already dead. To make sure, he stuck his spear into Jesus’ chest cavity. This trained soldier concluded that Jesus was already dead. Also before the body of Christ would be released to Joseph of Arimathea, there would have been required a certificate of death by Pilate. 1

One proof that Jesus was dead is that Pilate allowed Joseph of Arimathea to take the body.

Some would like to believe that Jesus did not die on the cross. They would say that he was placed in the tomb still alive. There were testimonies from the Roman soldiers, the centurion, and disciples that embalmed Jesus that all said that he was dead. (John 19:32–34, 38–42; Mark 15:44, 45) Those who think that Jesus did not die but only appeared to be dead believe the “swoon theory”. They would claim that Jesus was revived in the cool tomb, but one must be reminded that:

Jesus had been scourged, crucified, and pierced by a spear. He was three days in the tomb without food, water, or medication. How could he revive, roll away the huge stone, evade the guards, walk the length of Palestine, and still appear healthy enough to convince the skeptical disciples that he was resurrected? This would be a miracle almost as great as the resurrection!2

A second proof is that you only bury dead people.

1. Will Durant, Caesar and Christ (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1944), 573.
2. assessed in the Fall of 1996(?).