Daily Reading: (Matthew 28:1-4):
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.”After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
Matthew 28:5-6,“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where He lay.” The stone wasn’t rolled away for Jesus to come out from the tomb. It was so that the disciples could see that the tomb was empty.
Now just before this moment of time, the Roman leaders were very worried about this very event happening. They know what was prophesied about the Messiah and they think that perhaps the disciples will try and steal the body of Jesus to make others believe that He is the Son of God. The Romans have a plan to prevent this from happening.
“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order that the tomb be secured until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal Him away and tell the people He has risen from the dead. And this last deception would be worse than the first.” “You have a guard,” Pilate said. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how” (Matthew 27:63-65).
So, did the disciples steal the body? Skeptics can’t argue that the tomb wasn’t empty. You can’t say this was all just a dream. If it were a dream, you’d go and the tomb would still have a body. No body means something happened, and so skeptics will try and use the argument that somehow Jesus’ disciples who were afraid and scattered at the crucifixion stole the body from a sealed tomb posted with Roman guards.
Not only is the tomb empty, but the angel says, you can see Jesus, He’ll be in Galilee (Matthew 28:7). If ever there was some kind of conspiracy happening, you aren’t going to tell people that you can see Jesus alive in Galilee. And also let’s not forget that she is talking to an angel.
“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” He said” (Matthew 28:8-9). We have eyewitnesses of the empty tomb and Jesus will converse with meeting many other people as well as eat food with them later before ascending into Heaven.
The story continues, “While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day (Matthew 28:11-15).
This historical event happened, there is no body because Christ is risen indeed. If the Pharisees had stolen the body, the fastest way to stop the preaching of the disciples would be to produce Jesus’ dead corpse. But they did not and could not produce it.
According to Roman law, the body of a condemned criminal belonged to the state. That is why Joseph of Arimathea had to ask for Jesus’ body. To steal a body was a serious offense and it is odd that neither the Romans, nor the Jews, did anything to substantiate the charges if the body had been stolen. The disciples were never prosecuted for this alleged crime. Why? The fact is that the authorities did not really believe that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body. Otherwise, they would have immediately arrested them when these same disciples publicly proclaimed in the same city of Jerusalem that Christ had risen. They didn’t want to bring more attention to the real truth of what had really happened.
So, the question becomes do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? Do you believe He rose from the grave so that all who believe Him will be given everlasting life? I have presented just a little bit of evidence from Scripture, recorded in history, and the evidence is overwhelming, declaring that Jesus is the Son of God.