Summary: How do explain the empty tomb?
• SHOW VIDEO CLIP
• SLIDE #1
• Over the last three weeks we have looked at three questions, “Is Jesus The Son of God”, “Is Jesus the Only Way To God”, and “Why Did Jesus Die.”
• 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 tomb was found empty on that blessed Sunday morning.
• 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.
• In 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Paul tells us that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then our faith is in VAIN and is worthless, he further states we would be the most pitied of all people because we would have believed a lie had Jesus not been raised.
• The tomb was empty! WHY???
• 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 explain why the tomb was found empty!
• Let us begin our quest to answer the question, WHY WAS THE TOMB EMPTY?
• SLIDE #2
I. THE STOLEN BODY THEORY
• One conceivable theory concerning why the tomb was empty is that someone stole the body of Jesus.
• As a matter of fact, when Mary first came to the tomb, this is what she thought had happened.
• SLIDE #3
• John 20:1-2(ESV) 1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
• In John 20:12-15 Mary tells the angels that someone took the body of Jesus.
• Mary’s initial thought was someone took the body. She did not expect a resurrection.
• In Matthew 28:11-15 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.
• 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.