Evidence of The Resurrection

Was Jesus' Body Stolen?


Skeptics claim that the apostles could have stolen the body of Jesus.

Here are reasons why that's not true:

1. Grave robbers would receive the death penalty.

Remember the tight control Rome had over situations like these. To break the seal placed on the stone covering the tomb by removing the stone was punishable by death.

2. There were guards at the tomb guarding Jesus' body with their lives.

For the disciples to steal the body, they would have had to remove the huge stone from the entrance of the tomb without the soldiers noticing. They would have risked waking the soldiers up in order to carry the body out. if the soldiers had fallen asleep on guard, they would have been punished by death!

Even if the disciples had wanted to steal the body, the Roman guards would have stood in their way. Again, for the Roman guards it was a matter of life and death whether they were faithful to their charge of guarding the body and keeping it from being stolen.

3. If the disciples stole the body, why were the intact grave clothes left behind?

Here's something to think about. There was something oddly unusual about the grave wrappings themselves. They were not unwrapped -- but just collapsed. Christ's body had passed right through leaving an empty cocoon of grave clothes. If Jesus' body had been stolen, why didn't the robbers take the grave clothes too?

The Bible says that the grave clothes were left behind like a cocoon with a separate linen napkin around his head. So if they stole his body, why did they leave the wrappings intact but collapsed? Why would they have bothered to neatly remove the burial cloth that was wound around Jesus's body and then rewrap it after they removed His corpse? Speed would have been of the essence!

As far as the grave clothes go, why would anyone choose to carry around an unwrapped decomposing corpse? If there were grave robbers, they would have been in a big hurry and certainly wouldn't have bothered to remove the grave clothes.

4. What was the motivation for the disciples to steal Christ's body?

What benefit would the disciples have from managing to steal the body? What good would it have done them? You have to remember that they were scared to death! They were hiding behind closed doors. Why would they have stuck their necks out to steal the body and for what reason? Why wouldn't they want the body to remain buried?

When you read the Gospel accounts, you'll notice that all the disciples were terrified of the Jews and of what could happen to them too. What was the point of risking death so they could steal Jesus' body?

5. Consider the state of mind of the disciples at that time.

The disciples at that point were not courageous men, but were afraid of being killed too. The leader of the group of disciples, Peter, had even denied that he knew Jesus three times when confronted by a servant girl. He swore vehemently that he didn't even know Him. Does this sound like someone who would want to risk his life by stealing the body of Jesus?

The disciples were broken and despairing men. Why would they receive renewed hope when they knew they had stolen the body of their leader? And why would they be willing to be martyrs -- especially since they knew they had lied about Christ rising from the dead?

6. Consider the transformation of the apostles.

But the apostles were willing to be martyred, beaten and suffer financial loss -- no matter what. Would a stolen body of their leader have inspired this kind of devotion to a cause that they knew was a lie?

The answer to these questions is obvious. Jesus's body was not stolen! He really did rise from the dead! The resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ is a historical fact! The disciples actually experienced the risen Christ!

The meaning of resurrection is  life-changing. It could be yours! The question is -- have you met this risen Christ yet?

1 Corinthians 15:1-10

  1. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
  2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
  3. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
  4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
  5. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
  6. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
  7. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
  8. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
  9. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
  10. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.