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:
WHAT IS KNOWN:
Most all historians and scholars, whether
believers or non-believers, agree on the following three points:
- Jesus was crucified.
- 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.
- On the third day, the tomb was empty.
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BODY?
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
4. Grave robbers stole Jesus' body?
- Grave robbers (then and now) steal valuables buried with bodies, not the
- 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?
JESUS IS ALIVE!
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
Do you believe that Jesus raised from the dead?
- 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!