The Tomb is empty.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. Matthew 28:2-4 (KJV)
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. Matthew 28:1 (KJV)
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. Matthew 28:5-8 (KJV)
The testimony of the women would not be permitted in a court of law under the courts of that time.
What does this mean?
If the Apostles were making up the ressurection… they picked a mighty poor opener. That’s not the kind of detail you make up. If I was inventing the Ressurection, it would have been Peter who opened the tomb, and the Lord came forth.
The whole ressurection story has been examined by doctors, historians, judges and lawyers, scientists and laymen alike. Those who examine it for the purpose of finding the truth… find it. And many who examined it for the purpose of debunking it…. end up embracing it.
Josh McDowell. Lee Strobel. and many others, including some of the finest legal minds the world has known. Frank Morrison is one. They studied to scoff and disprove.
They bowed to the facts.
Historians and geographers studied the Gospels, and came to the conclusion that they are factual history.
11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Matthew 28:11-16 (KJV)
Within a couple of years, Rome’s Senate would pass a bill declaring grave robbing in Judea to be a capital crime. For Rome’s senate to make such a decision meant that the entire region was under unrest due to a missing body.
I wonder whose.
Here’s what really happened. Ready? Ready for the truth?
A Roman guard, a large number of men who took courses (shifts) standing watch, guarded the tomb. Somehow someone walked past a large number of men, rolled back a tomb stone (it’s pretty big and heavy) and carried off a body wtihout anyone noticing.
“Hey! You! What are you doing???”
Sound silly? Not buying it?
Of course not. it’s illogical.
Okay, here’s what really happened. The Roman Guard was standing watch on the Tomb. There was a massive earthquake, the door to the Tomb rolled backward by some unknown means, and the Lord walked out of the Tomb, magnificent and radiant, full of power, and very much alive.
The Roman Guard fell to the ground in terror, some of them apparently passing out.
They were arrested, brought to trial. The Rabbi’s gave them a large bribe. They told the cover story. The Procurator (an officer of the Legion acting as the judge) reminds them of the penalty (death) and asks them to tell the truth please.
They do. They tell the procurator, “look – either the dead man in the tomb came forth alive, whole, and glowing with power and holiness, as if the Son of God…. or we were asleep and they stole the body. That’s what the Jews want us to say. They paid us a lot of money. Now, we didn’t fall asleep. You decide what story you want the people to know.”
The Procurator would have thought about it… looked at the men, and knew they were not likely to have slept. He held out his hand for part of the money, and grunted…”Tell everyone you were asleep. Now give me some of the gold, and get out.”
That’s what happened.
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. Luke 24:13-35 (KJV)
The Lord is risen indeed.
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. Matthew 28:16-17 (KJV)
If they were making it up… the last part of verse 17 would never have been part of it.
So, He is risen.
What will you do with that knowledge?
Will you live for Him, who died for you?
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)