Evidence From The Empty Tomb
I feel the resurrection is the supreme sign of Christianity. If Jesus was risen from the dead then he truly was the son of God and the Bible is the Word of God. Many men died on this planet, but only one has risen from the grave to become a savior to those who submit to him. Before we consider the empty tomb we will consider the above statement.
The resurrection proves that Jesus is the son of God. The resurrection is an obvious sign of deity. Mere men can not raise themselves from the dead. Jesus himself said the resurrection is a divine sign. Jn 2:18-21 Paul referred to the resurrection as a sign of Jesus' divine power. Rom 1:4 If Jesus was raised from the dead he is absolutely trustworthy and all his claims are to be held in the same manner.
The resurrection proves the Bible as the Word of God. Jesus told the apostles would be taught and guided by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26) This makes their writings the very words of God. 2Ti 3:16 Understanding that the resurrection proves the Bible to be the Word of God and Jesus to be deity will allow us to consider the empty tomb. We will try to figure out what happened to the body of Jesus. If someone can prove that Jesus never resurrected from the dead, he can be called a liar and the Bible will not be the infallible Word of God. However, if someone can not disprove the resurrection, Jesus must be considered Lord and the Bible as infallible. So what happened to the body of Jesus that was put into the tomb?
Since we know the body of Jesus was not in the tomb when people had arrived there, and we are attempting to reason with a person who is suspect of the resurrection, we will consider it to be stolen. So, who stole the body? If we cannot produce an acceptable culprit it must be believed that Jesus has resurrected from the dead.
Did the Jews take the body? Remember, they are the people who wanted to crucify Jesus. Why would they want anyone to think Jesus had resurrected? The fear Jesus would resurrect was the entire reason the tomb was guarded and sealed. Mt 27:62-66 Also, if the Jews had stolen the body, don't you think they would have silenced Peter in his sermon on Pentecost by producing the body? Therefore, it is reasonable to think the Jews did not take the body. They were, however, afraid Jesus disciples would take it.
Did the disciples take the body? The first question that arises is, how did they get past the guards? Remember, they were hiding from the Jews at this point. Jn 20:19 I ask another question, if the disciples did take the body would they die proclaiming a lie? Maybe one or even two might have that kind of characteristic, but all of them? Well, it must be added here that John is the only one to die not as a martyr. Would ten men be tortured and killed for a lie? If Jesus had not resurrected and the disciples had stolen the body it is reasonable to think one of the ten men would have spilled the beans under such extreme persecution of a lie! Therefore, it reasonable to believe they did not steal the body.
Did the Roman Government steal the body? It would seem that if they did steal the body they would have produced the dead body of Jesus to stop the friction between the Jews and the Christians. The reason they didn't do that is because they didn't have the body. If the Roman government had stolen the body there would have been a complete different response by Felix (Acts 24) and Agrippa (Acts 26). If the Roman government had stolen the body Agrippa would never had asked Paul if he was trying to persuade him to be a Christian. Acts 26:28 He would have told Paul he was a fool because the Roman government had taken the body from the tomb. That being said, it is reasonable to say the Roman government did not steal the body of Jesus.
Did the Roman guards steal the body? If they did the above scenario with Felix and Agrippa would come into play. If they did steal the body how would they explain it to their superiors who told them to watch the tomb in order to prevent someone from stealing the body? History says that if a prisoner escaped while under the guard of a Roman soldier that soldier was sentenced to death. That is why the jailer was going to kill himself in Acts 16:27 Can you bribe a man when his life is on the line? I don't think so! What guard really admits they fell asleep? What motive would the Roman guards have to steal the body? It would be against their orders and then sentenced to death. It is reasonable to think that the Roman guards did not steal the body.
Did a group of separate individuals steal the body? Again, what motive would a separate group of people have to steal the body? How would they get past the guards at the tomb entrance? It wold be reasonable to believe that if this group of people did such a thing they would have eventually produced the body to silence the many people who claimed to witness the resurrected Jesus. 1Co 15:5-8 Therefore, it is reasonable to think a group of separate people did not steal the body.
Maybe, no one stole the body and Jesus didn't really die on the cross. Considering the condition he would have been in after the beating he took, carrying the cross, then having his hands and feet pierced, and then hanging several hours on a cross by those pierced hands and feet. Would that man be strong enough to open a sealed tomb, fight off the guards, and walk away? NO WAY! Keep in mind, the disciples must not know about Jesus' escape because they died believing Jesus had resurrected. The Roman government could not have known about it, or either Felix or Agrippa would have told Paul about it. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that Jesus did die on the cross and he did not escape from the tomb.
The only logical reason to think why Jesus' body was not in that tomb is because he had risen! So what does this do for us? Well, the resurrection conditionally gives us hope of eternal life. 1Co 15:1-4 It allows us to live without fear. The bible says, "as I walk through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil." The wages of sin are death and the resurrection removes that fear of death! Jesus came to put to end the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8) and the resurrection tells us he did that very thing. The resurrection brings about change. It changed Peter fearful and following at a distance to a courageous preacher. It changed Saul the persecutor to Paul the preacher. It changed the Jewish remnant into the Church. It changed the Sabbath into the Lord's Day. Finally, it changed Thomas from an unbeliever to a believer. It can change people today just like it did in the past.
Today, share the life changing story of our risen savior, Jesus Christ. He is not in the tomb. He is preparing a place for those who are prepared to go with him. I have adopted this saying, "Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people." I tell you it is a fact that Jesus' body was not stolen from that tomb, rather he has risen from the dead. Now I ask you, are you prepared to go with him to the prepared place?
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22