Was Jesus’ body stolen by the disciples?

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To disprove the Resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders claimed that Jesus’ body was stolen by the disciples from the tomb that was sealed by Pilate and guarded by Roman guards. To confirm this lie, the religious leaders asked the Roman guards to, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep” (Matthew 28:13).

Had this charge been true, the religious leaders would have been the first to demand the deadly punishment for the Roman soldiers that were guarding the tomb for their negligence on duty. For it was the religious leaders that demanded from Pilate to set the Roman guard to protect the tomb in the first place. They said to Pilate, “order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first” (Matthew 27:64).

Instead, the religious leaders “gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers” (v. 12) that they may keep silent to the truth of the resurrection which they have witnessed firsthand (v.11) and not tell the truth about it. Death was the Roman penalty for permitting a prisoner to escape. Knowing this, It was impossible for the Roman guards to be found asleep. Furthermore, How could all the Roman guards fall asleep during the moving of the huge stone and stealing of the body of Jesus from the tomb without being seen, heard, or detected.

Further, it was clear to all that the disciples themselves didn’t believe the reports of the resurrection (Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11; John 20:24, 25) which proves that they had no plan to take the body of Jesus and proclaim that their Lord had risen. In addition, the fear and panic that seized them at the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:56), and Peter’s fear of being exposed at the trial of Jesus (vs. 69–74), show clearly that it was impossible for any of them to have the courage to pass the Roman guards (even though sleeping), break the Roman seal, roll away the huge stone, and carry away the body of their Master.

Finally, if the soldiers had been asleep when the body was removed, how could they have known who removed it? Thus, the story that the Jewish religious leaders made is faced with impossible problems. This story is unreasonable and no one in his right mind can believe it.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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