The thought for the day is a bit longer than usual but there’s a lot of good information in it so didn’t want to cut anything out. I hope it’s a blessing to you!
English Conversation Group and Oasis@Midweek POSTPONED!
Due to illness in a key person involved with Oasis@Midweek, we are postponing it a week. The new date is Wednesday April 20. The schedule will continue on with the next one on the 27th, as scheduled.
Thought for the Day: Who’s Got the Body? Part 2
…an examination of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.
On Thursday I began to share with you some thoughts and evidence for the resurrection. The resurrection is a critical element of our faith so having certainty of the validity for this is key. So, I wanted to expand a bit on the evidence we find for the truth of Jesus rising from the dead. Thanks to those who shared with me after Thursday that this was an encouragement. The other day I shared the number of respected scholars who believe it as well as the explosive growth of the early church. Let’s look at another:
The Changed Lives of the Disciples
After Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, most of the disciples were frightened. Peter, for instance, denied Christ three times. Yet 10 out of the 11 disciples were martyred for their faith. Peter was crucified, Thomas was skewered; John was boiled in oil but survived. Something had happened to revolutionize these men’s lives. Each believed he had seen the risen Christ. Here’s the point: no one dies for a lie.
How about this: the empty tomb itself. Jesus’ dead body was removed from the cross, wrapped in graveclothes like a mummy and placed in a tomb. An extremely large stone was rolled into a slightly depressed groove at the tomb’s entrance. Some have conservatively estimated the weight of the stone at one-and-a-half to two tons.
A guard of Roman soldiers was placed out front to guard the grave. The military discipline of the Romans was so strict that severe corporal and often capital punishment awaited the soldier who left his post or failed in his duty. Sunday morning, the stone was found rolled away, the body was gone, but the graveclothes were still in place.
Some say that Jesus’ friends stole the body. This means that either one of the women sweet-talked the guards while the other two moved the stone and tip-toed off with the body, or else guys like Peter (remember how brave he was) and Thomas (how easily convinced he was) overpowered the guards, stole the body, and fabricated a myth.
These theories hardly seem plausible. The guard was too powerful, the stone too heavy, and the disciples, not yet experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit were too spineless to attempt such a feat.
Others say that Jesus’ enemies stole the body. Yet if the religious leaders had the body, they would have exposed it publicly and Christianity would have died out. They didn’t and it didn’t. The Romans had no reason to steal it, so that doesn’t stand up either.
A popular alternative is called the “swoon theory.” In it, Jesus didn’t really die but was only unconscious. The expert Roman executioners merely thought He was dead. After a few days in the tomb, without food or medicine, the cool air revived Him. Then, according to this theory, He burst from the graveclothes, rolled away the stone with His nail-pierced hands, scared the daylights out of the Roman soldiers, walked kilometers on wounded feet, and convinced His disciples that He’d been raised from the dead. This one is harder to believe than the resurrection itself! As you’ve heard me say, I don’t have enough faith for that theory!
In other words, if Jesus was put to death, who’s got the body? All that we do have is an empty tomb. More to come Thursday as we prepare to remember what Jesus did!
In His grip,