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The Mark Study
Page 5: A Look at the Resurrection

Let's now jump ahead toward the end of the book of Mark. We are going to look ahead, past Jesus' death by crucifixion and his burial in a sealed tomb. It is now two days after Jesus has been buried, and some women are coming to the tomb to see if they can be let into the tomb in order to honor their dead friend Jesus by anointing his body with some spices. Read Mark 16:1-6.

Were the women expecting Jesus' body to be in the tomb?

Was Jesus' body still in the tomb?

What does the person they meet (an angel) tell them?

Jesus raised from the dead (resurrected)!!! Why is this such an important event? Because if he really rose from the dead, then he demonstrated that he has power over the one thing that is inevitable for all humanity. If you are a human and nothing more, it is inevitable that you will die. Nobody can deny that. Jesus was dead, and on the third day afterwards, he was alive again. Instances where a person's heart stops beating for a minute or two, and then starts beating again, do not even compare to this. Jesus' body was dead, as dead as one can get, dead cold. How can we explain that his tomb was empty on the third day? Let's look at some evidences:


Most all historians and scholars, whether believers or non-believers, agree on the following three points:

  1. Jesus was crucified.
  2. His body was put into a tomb with guards to protect it. About the guards: these were Roman guards, probably between 4 and 16 of them to watch the tomb. The penalty for a Roman guard to fail his assignment (e.g., if someone got into the tomb while he was guarding it) was immediate execution of the guard -- this was Roman policy.
  3. On the third day, the tomb was empty.


1. Jesus' disciples stole the body?

  • But history records that this was precisely the concern of Jesus' opponents, and thus after his death, the Jewish authorities opposed to Jesus took careful steps to seal the tomb. This involved placing a seal on or over the stone covering the entrance to the tomb, as well as placing the aforementioned group of Roman guards to keep careful watch. This is recorded in Matthew 27:62-66.
  • In Matthew 28:11-15, we read how the Jewish authorities bribed the guards to say that they had been asleep and that the disciples had come and taken the body while they were sleeping. First of all, history records that this is a bribe and a lie. Second, even if the guards were asleep, how could sleeping men know what is going on around them, and how could they have known it was the disciples who were responsible if they were asleep? Third, who could believe that all of these strictly trained Roman soldiers were sleeping at once? And how could their sleep not be disturbed by the commotion of a group of people trying to roll away the stone (between 1 and 2 tons) that covered the entrance of this rock tomb?

2. The Jews stole Jesus' body?

  • Why in the world would they? Such an action would have been completely contrary to their own statement of intent. It was their goal to prove that Jesus was dead, and not a risen "Savior"! So why would they take the body and make it appear that he was back alive?
  • And if they had taken it, they certainly would have brought it back out to show to all and stop this Christianity thing once and for all.

3. Jesus never died, he just passed out and then revived later inside the tomb?

  • Absolutely no historical evidence for this.
  • Historical evidence shows that Jesus was beaten, bruised, whipped, and a spear was driven into his side. After hours of hanging on the cross, he died, and a Roman centurion confirmed that he was dead on the spot (Mark 15:44-45).
  • His body was taken from the cross in the presence of the Romans and Jews, and wrapped in cloths by friends of Jesus. If Jesus were still alive, his friends would have noticed, and done anything they could to revive him there (most did not understand yet that he was to be raised again).
  • He was wrapped in linen cloths in traditional Jewish custom, which is a mummy-like fashion, with wrappings going around his body from toe to head, and his face covered with a cloth.
  • He would have had to revive after being beaten to the point of death, and then go for three days without food or water, and probably without being able to breathe. Come on!
  • How could he have unwrapped himself?
  • How could he remove the stone from the entrance to his tomb (in healthy condition, let alone in that condition)?
  • Once outside (having presumably moved the stone, which is noisy), how could he get past the guards?
  • As you can see, this is only a recent theory from people who want to find some other explanation for the resurrection, and it is terribly unreasonable.

4. Grave robbers stole Jesus' body?

  • Grave robbers (then and now) steal valuables buried with bodies, not the bodies themselves.
  • The guards.

5. The women went to the wrong tomb?

  • This is a pretty silly theory too.
  • Other disciples later came to the same tomb. They would have known which one was correct.
  • The Jewish authorities would have simply pointed out the correct grave and put an end to it all.

If the disciples couldn't (and wouldn't) take the body, and the Jews would have had no reason to, and Jesus was definitely dead, and nobody else stole the body, and the women were at the right grave... Then what in the world happened?


Note that there are still more evidences for the resurrection not even touched upon in this brief summary. You can read more indepth about these elsewhere on knowtruth, but the evidence we've just looked at is simple enough.

Do you believe that Jesus raised from the dead?

3 Questions:

  • What could men do with Jesus' death and dead body?
  • What did Jesus do about it?
  • Who then is this, that even HIS OWN death obeys him?

So many people are scared to death of dying. After we die, we will have no control over what happens to our souls. But we have some control now! We have the control of choice... We can choose to reject God and His offer of eternal life in Jesus Christ, or we can choose to accept God at His word and faithfully obey Him. And after we die, when nobody else can help... Jesus can help!

Listen to Him -->

 Article info: 
Need help? Have a question or comment on this study? Email Robert Hindman
This study was originally arranged by Rex Boyles, with adaptations by Kris Smith and Rob Hindman.

 This Series: 
1 Jesus Can Help - Introduction
2 Calming the Storm and Sea
3 Casting Out the Demons
4 Jairus's Daughter and the Bleeding Woman
5 A Look at the Resurrection
6 Listen to Him
7 Why Listen?
8 Care for a Leper
9 Disrespected and Misunderstood
10 Betrayed and Used
11 Curses and Lies
12 Sin Separates
13 The Bad News
14 The Good News
15 Let's Get Personal
16 The Moment of Salvation
17 The Conversion of Saul
18 The Conversion of the Crowd in Acts 2
19 Your Choice

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