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Common Facts Surrounding the Resurrection
Fact 5 - On the Third Day the Tomb Was Found Empty, the Stone Moved

The mere fact that the Jewish leaders bribed the guards to say the body was stolen implies that the body was missing. The tomb was empty and the guards sought relief from punishment when this fact was revealed. This brings me to another interesting sidebar. What happened to the stone? Who moved the stone? We tend to underestimate this point, yet placing ourselves at the scene, this movement must have been peculiar, even amazing.

We know from the text that the size of the stone was substantial. According to Mark 16:1-2 there was at least three women who knew they could not move it--even though it could be rolled--because it was extremely large. How much did it weigh? We don't know exactly, but I'm sure it was near 1½ tons.

Considering that 108 cubic inches of granite weighs about 15 pounds (7.2ci per pound) we can easily estimate the weight. The size of the opening was low enough that the disciples had to stoop down, but big enough to easily get the body in--probably about three feet. Allowing for the stone to overlap the opening by six inches on each side it then measures 48 inches across, or a 24-inch radius. It must have also been thick enough so as not to tip over--minimum of 12 inches, perhaps more. The formula for calculating volume would then be πr2w--in this case 21714.68. Using the weight factor above (7.2) we can see that the stone probably weighed more than 3,000 pounds.

Keep this in mind as you read some of the alternate theories to the resurrection. Would not the soldiers have heard such a massive object being moved if they were asleep? Would a weakened Jesus, beaten and stabbed, be able to summon the strength to move it if he was not dead? Further, the position of the stone after its movement was even more interesting. Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the Greek word "apokulio"--meaning to roll away--to describe the movement of the stone. This word would indicate that the stone had been rolled away from the opening, not slightly moved. John, however, is a little more specific. In John 20:1 he uses the word "airo"--meaning to pick up and carry away--to describe the movement of the stone. This heavy rock was not moved slightly back from the opening, but rather relocated away from the opening.

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