Does the theft theory explain the Resurrection? (Part 2)

Exploring the theft theory to explain the Resurrection yields other interesting developments. For instance, this theory states that the disciples stole the body while the Roman guards slept.

This doesn’t make sense because to actually fall asleep while on watch meant the death penalty for Roman soldiers. That’s why the chief priests and elders devised a plan and gave the soldiers a bribe to say that they were asleep. “‘If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble’” (Matthew 28:14). If the guards had actually been negligent in their duty, they should have been executed; instead, they took hush money to say they slept while the disciples snuck past them and took the corpse that they were guarding, which was their sole mission.

What also makes the theft theory unbelievable is the actions of the disciples. When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark 14:50 says the disciples “deserted him and fled” because of the “crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders” (Mark 14:43). At Jesus’ trial, only Peter and John were nearby (John 18:15-16). During the crucifixion, all the apostles except John have hidden for fear of arrest and possible punishment.

Contrast these actions with the theft theory: bold and daring disciples face enormous odds to steal their beloved Master’s body from a heavily guarded tomb. Yet imagine for a moment that the disciples did sneak past sleeping guards, roll away the stone without awakening anyone, and absconded with Jesus’ remains. The disciples would go on to preach lies about the resurrection of Jesus, and later, each of the apostles with the exception of John, would die a martyr’s death. For example, Peter was crucified upside down. Bartholomew was skinned alive and crucified. If the resurrection wasn’t true, this suffering does not make any sense. Professor Paul Little, says, “Men will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false: They do not, however, die for what they know is a lie.”

In the end, the empty tomb of Jesus has only two explanations: it was either the work of humans or God. If Jesus’ body was removed by humans, His enemies would not have done it; they would have had no motive to remove His body and say that He was alive. Jesus’ friends would not have done it for reasons listed above—why die for a lie? The most logical explanation is that Jesus’ empty tomb was the work of God.

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