The Question of the Empty Tomb

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empty_tomb11The Resurrection is the pivotal event in Christianity. If the Resurrection didn’t happen, generic cialis then Christianity is false and Scripture says we are to be pitied above all men (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). However, the Resurrection DID happen and that is not dependent upon whether a person believes it or not. The Resurrection is a historical FACT.

Many do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead but the simple fact of the matter is that each person has to answer the question of the empty tomb. If Jesus’ tomb had a body in it after three days, then Christianity would have died right then and there. All the Pharisees had to do was to produce the body of Jesus and Christianity would have died out immediately.

Why didn’t they?

Some say disciples stole the body

Many say the disciples stole Jesus’ body, hid the body, and then made up a lie that He rose again. This answer makes no sense. First, the Scripture says that two armed Roman soldiers guarded the tomb in which Jesus laid. While Jesus was alive, the 12 disciples were barely able to get along but now with their leader gone and one from their own ranks to blame for betraying Him, the disciples were in no condition to mount a rescue mission for a dead body attempting to overcome two well-trained soldiers who would have been well-armed. Additionally, 10 of those disciples who were left died for their faith and confession that Jesus rose from the dead and 1 was exiled to a remote island to die. Eleven men would not have all died to preserve a lie. However, the only answer to the empty tomb critics could give for the first 400 years of the Church was that the disciples stole the body.

Some say the disciples went to the wrong tomb

Another response to the empty tomb some have is that when the disciples came to see the tomb of Jesus, they went to the wrong tomb, saw that it was empty, and then made the mistaken thought that Jesus had risen from the dead. This does not seem to be believable either. First, a few women and a couple of men had put Jesus in the tomb and knew where that tomb was at. Much like when we lay a beloved family member in the ground, we remember where they are at in the cemetery. But even if they did not remember, the Roman government had two guards placed at the right tomb. There were not several tombs that were guarded that night – who needs to guard a tomb? – but there was one tomb which had two guards and those guards were directed to the right tomb by the Jewish leaders and they sealed it (Matthew 27:65-66). Finally, if the disciples did, indeed, go to the wrong tomb, then all the Pharisees would have had to do was go to the right tomb and produce Jesus’ body. Christianity as a movement would have stopped before it began. But the Pharisees did not produce the body because the tomb was empty.

Some say Jesus resuscitated in the tomb

Some say that Jesus did not really die but just was close to death, then was put into the tomb and eventually resuscitated in the tomb. This shows a gross misunderstanding of what the crucifixion was really like. This excellent article tells the suffering Jesus endured and what the crucifixion entailed. In short, the Romans soldiers were experts in making sure that those who endured this punishment died. Additionally, a cold, dark tomb is not a place where a body so badly beaten and enduring so much punished could recover. After Jesus was flogged and crucified, He died and was put in the tomb but by Sunday the tomb was empty.

The critic of the Resurrection must answer the question, “If Jesus did not raise from the dead, then why was there an empty tomb.” I encourage you to think about that this week. As we approach Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, have you answered the question of the empty tomb?