Summary: There are a lot of crazy "theories" as to why the tomb is empty. This is a simple look at them
• What a wonderful day! Today we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!
• Over the last three weeks we have looked at the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is the only way to God; and that He died for you.
• If we let the story end right there, we would then fit in with all the other religions in the world that are based on a personality, our leader would be dead. In his book, “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” author Josh McDowell states the following: “All but four of the major world religions are based on mere philosophical propositions. Of the four that are based on personalities, rather that on a philosophical system, only Christianity claims an empty tomb for its founder. Abraham, the father of Judaism, died about 1900 B.C., but no resurrection was ever claimed for him.”
• Further we know that Mohammed died on June 8, 632 A.D. at the age of 61 in Medina. His tomb is visited by thousands of his faithful followers each year.
• If we have a tomb with a dead savior in it, what use would he be to us?
• The foundation of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus. Critics of the faith will try to discredit the resurrection because they too understand that Christianity rises and falls with it.
• Listen to what the apostle Paul writes concerning the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. READ
• Is Jesus alive? Are there any other credible theories concerning what happened on that wonderful Sunday morning after the crucifixion? There have been people throughout time who have set out to prove the resurrection did not happen, only to give their lives to Jesus after they studied the evidence. One was Frank Morison who was an English lawyer. He wrote a book called, “Who Moved The Stone.” As he did the research for the book, he was convinced enough about the evidence of the resurrection that he became a follower of Jesus.
• I want us to look at five explanations that could answer the question, ‘Why was the empty tomb.”
• I hope as we answer these questions, that you will walk away from here convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, who is the only way to heaven who died for you and rose on the third day for you.
• One conceivable theory concerning why the tomb was empty is that someone stole the body of Jesus.
• Let’s read John 20:1-2 and verses 12-15. READ
• Mary’s initial thought was someone took the body. She did not expect a resurrection.
• Let’s look at Matthew 28:11-15 also. When the guards reported to the chief priests what happened, the priest paid the guards off to lie and say the disciples stole the body from them.
• It is interesting that the priests did not dispute the testimony of the Roman soldiers. Plus if you remember the religious leaders had the guard posted to keep the disciples from taking the body and saying Jesus was alive.
• The problem here is that the religious leaders had more faith that Jesus was be resurrected than His own disciples did. Listen to John 20:3-9. READ
• Jesus closest disciples did not expect a resurrection to happen.
• Could the body have been stolen? Possibly. But listen to this. Who took it?
• Within a few weeks of the empty tomb the church was gaining all kinds of momentum. If the Jewish leaders took Him they would have paraded His body around Jerusalem to stop the church in its tracks.
• The disciples as I said did not expect Him to be raised, plus they had too many obstacles in the way of stealing Him. Professional soldiers, the rock, the seal, plus their own fear.
• The disciples were also honest men who most likely would not do something so dishonest. These men left Jesus in fear for their lives when He was arrested. (Matthew 26:56)
• The Romans had nothing to gain by stealing the body; the last thing they wanted was an uprising to occur.
• One other thing to consider concerning the disciples. If they stole the body, how do we account for there transformation from cowards to bolding proclaiming Jesus in the streets of Jerusalem with no fear of losing their life?
• If they stole the body, do you think that a lie would embolden them to do what they did?
• People will die for something they believe in, but not for a lie.
• The last point. How does a stolen dead body make over 15 recorded appearances to people, one of the appearances was to over 500 at one time. (1 Corinthians 15)