Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

Scan 131350001mironositeleACCOUNTING FOR THE EMPTY TOMB.

1. The earliest explanation circulated was that the disciples stole the boby.  In Matthew 28:11-15 we have the record of the reaction of the chief priests and the elders when the guards gave them the infuriating and mysterious news that the body was gone. These religious leaders gave the soldiers  money and told them to say the disciples had come at night and stolen the body. This story was so obviously false Matthew didn't even bother to refute it!  There is a psychological and ethical imposibility - stealing the body of Christ is something totally foreign to the caracter of the disciples. Every one of the disciples faced the test of torture, and all but the apostle John were maryred for their teachings and beliefs. And if the disciples had taken the body and Christ were still dead, how would we explain the problem of His alleged appearances?

2. A second hypothesis is that the authorities, Jewish or Roman, moved the body. But why? Having put special Roman guards at the tomb, what would the Romans gain by moving the body? The convincing answer for this thesis is the silence of these authorities in the face of the apostles' bold preaching in Jerusalem about the resurection. The ecclesiastic leaders did everything possible to prevent the spread of this message and to suppress it (Act 4). For either the Jewish or Roman authorities, there was a very simple solution to their problem - if either of them had Christ's body, they could have paraded it through the streets of Jerusalem.

3. The wrong tomb theory suggests the distraught women, overcome with grief, missed their way in the dimness of the morning.  If the women went to the wrong tomb, why did the high priests and other enemies of the faith not go to the right tomb and produce the body? Certainly Joseph of Arimathea, owner of the tomb would have solved the problem.

4. The swoon theory ( Jesus was only unconscious and later revived). In this view, Christ did not actually die - He was mistakenly reported to be dead but had swooned from exhaustion, pain and loss of blood. When he was laid on the coolness of the tomb, he revived.  This is a theory of modern construction at the end of 18th century - no sugestion of this kind has come down from antiquity among all the violent attacks that have been made on Christianity. It is impossible to believe that Jesus survived three days in a damp tomb without food or water or atteention of any kind. Would he have survived being wound in 75 pounds of spice-laden graveclothes? Would he have the strength to extricate himself from the graveclothes, push the heavy stone away, overcome the Roman guards and walk miles on feet that had been pierced with spikes? Than, at that point, would He have the strength to present himself as a glorioue and majestic God to be worshiped?

5. Large stone moved.

 UP AND INCLINE. On that Sunday morning, the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of that 2-tone stone. In Matthew 27 it is said that a "large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb" ( here the Greek word used is kulio = to roll). In Mark 16, to explain the position of the stone after the resurection, the author added the preposition ana, which means "up or upward". So anakulion  can mean to roll something up a slope or an incline.

AWAY FROM. In fact, that stone was so far "up a slope" that Luke used "apokulio" - to role one object away or "a distance" from the doorway of the tomb.

6. GRAVECLOTHES.  In a literal sense, the tomb was not actually empy. Peter looked over the place where the body of Jesus had lain. There were graveclothes, in the form of a body, slighthy caved in and emply - like the empty chrysalis of a catepillar's cocoon. That was enough to make a believer out of anybody! Peter never did get over it! The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the emply tomb - but the empty graveclothes, undisturbed in their form and position.

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