I took a philosophy class the first semester after I became a believer. My professor was an Episcopalian priest, he was quirky, a bit of a challenge for me to dig into his approach to the subject matter.
At one point during the class, the subject turned to Christianity and how could people believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. The professor provided all the characters and settings of the Resurrection, but did nothing to defend nor tear apart the story. He asked the open ended questions necessary to bring our class into full discussion.
A group of jocks were in the class and made quick work of poking at anyone who said they believed. I was angry at the professor for not defending the faith he was supposed to be following. I boiled over one day and lashed out at the jocks, who were trying to argue that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body.
“The idea that the disciples stole His body is ridiculous,” I steamed! “That would be like saying you could go up against the defensive line of the Chicago Bears and win! There is just no way, they were terrified and in hiding because they thought they would be next! Gimme a break!”
They were surprised to hear my retort, I was surprised I even said it. My professor asked to speak with me after class. “Miss W—-, if you would like to defend your perspective I will allow you five minutes in class on Friday to do so.”
“Thank you, sir. I would like that,” I couldn’t believe it. I would be able to give Biblical truth in a secular setting and it would be a chance to defend the Truth of the Gospel. I went to my folks’ house to talk with my mom. “Mom, what should I do? How can I show the difference between the teaching in the Old Testament and the New Testament?”
We worked together for a few hours, finding verses in Deuteronomy and Leviticus that would show the Laws which were to be followed. I figured I would be able to explain the Gospel pretty easily.
Friday came and when I stood to present my side of things, I found I overwhelmed the class with minute details of Old Testament life, but not as much time was used to show the difference of Law versus Grace. My professor finally interrupted my “lecture” and thanked me for my time.
It’s been over twenty-five years since that class. I can see things more clearly now, the professor trying to give me the floor to speak words he was prevented from sharing in his position.
The question comes to this: Who robbed the grave?
Is it more plausible to believe that a group of former fishermen were able to overtake a Roman guard who were sent by Pilate, “‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.'” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard,” (Matthew 27:65-66 NIV)? The same Roman guards who would have been trained since boyhood to defend and protect whatever they were charged with by their commander. They would have been put to death for falling asleep or for abandoning their post.
Jesus’ disciples had been hiding in a locked room since He was buried, afraid they would be next. The women, who had followed Christ, were the first to find the tomb empty and abandoned by the soldiers. They ran to tell the disciples what they had found. Matthew 28:11-15 tells what the Roman guard did to cover their tracks. The chief priests 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 we you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
Jesus appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection. People who were still alive when the disciples were writing the Gospels and epistles. If the disciples had lied about Jesus’ rising from the dead the eyewitnesses would have called them out. Instead, the eyewitnesses confirmed the teaching of the disciples. The same men who would be tortured and put to death for their faith. Who would agree to be martyred for a lie? Some of the disciples were beheaded, crucified, drawn and quartered, run through with a spear, burned at the stake. I am not dying for a lie. Would you, Best Beloved?
I believe to the very depth of my soul, that God’s Holy Infinite power is what brought Christ back from the dead. He rose from the grave, appeared to over 500 people, continued to heal the broken and teach to the hopeless until He ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:1-11). I believe with all I am that Jesus was the only One who could die in our place to pay the debt of our sins. The payment of sin is death, according to the Old Testament. We are not sinless. Only Jesus was sinless. Only through His choice to give His life on our behalf would we be saved.
God robbed the grave on that third day. It was that action that turned all of history and all of the future upside down. We now have hope. We now have healing for our souls, the opportunity of redemption. The choice of Heaven for eternity.
Best Beloved, what will you choose to live for today? The decision is yours. My prayer is that you will choose Christ. That you will be able to say like Paul did, “I want to know Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead, (Philippians 3:10-11).