Over the last two weeks at church we have been using our detective skills to see what is the most plausible explanation for the disappearance of the body of Jesus on the first Easter Day.
The plot to the mystery goes something like this. On Friday, a man who claimed to be the Son of God was executed. He was considered a dangerous rabble-rouser by both the ruling authorities and the religious leaders. He was certified dead by competent executioners who stuck a spear into him just to prove a point. The separated blood and fluids that poured out of him confirms he was really dead. He was buried in the tomb of a wealthy nobleman.
Those who followed Jesus had fled the scene, some had left town all together but to prevent anyone stealing his body a guard was mounted to prevent interference from either friend or foe.
Those who desired his death relaxed… it had been a long term desire to get rid of him and it seems that they had finally succeeded.
But then it happened. The body was gone. Whodunit?
The religious leaders had a crisis meeting and they agreed to bribe the soldiers to say that the disciples had stolen the body whilst they were asleep. (this was a crime normally punishable by death). Notice that both friends of Jesus and those who planned his death recognised the fact that the body was gone. How plausible is it that the disciples stole the body?
If those who desired his death had taken the body all they would need to do to stop any thinking he had come back to life would be to produce the dead body. The dead body would kill any thinking of a miraculous resurrection. But there was no body to produce.
Did the friends steal the body to foster the thinking that he had risen and to promote their cause? As a detective you would need to look at the facts and these facts rule out this as a possibility.
Their morale was gone. Some had run home, others were in hiding in fear they would be next. They were not even equipped or skilled to steal a body from an elite army unit.
If we look at their motivation for stealing the dead body the facts quash this sort of thinking immediately. It is unbelievable that a bunch of people would steal a dead body and then all be prepared to die for a lie they had perpetrated. All they had to do was admit that that he had not come back to life but they had stolen the body and they would have lived … but no one did? Would you be willing to die for a lie that you knew to be a lie?
And it was not as if they would gain anything. To carry out a such a deception went against everything they taught as far as morality was concerned. To claim a resurrection was not a great money spinner, it would cost them everything. They would have to run for their lives, they would be ostracised, tortured and they would face death. (To be continued)