Without Jesus’ resurrection, Christianity crumbles. It’s the ultimate game-changer, that’s why so many atheists and doubters of Christianity want to explain away the empty tomb. And that’s why critics for centuries have been coming up with scenarios to minimize and play down the reality of the resurrection.
Theories abound: Did Jesus merely swoon? Here is how this unlikely scenario unfolds according to those who harbor this premise; Jesus was laid in the tomb where He revived Himself, even though He’d been without food or water for days, was dehydrated, severely beaten, nailed to the cross, and speared in the side to confirm His death. “. . . They will look on the one they have pierced” (John 19:37). Because they wanted to appease the Jewish leaders, the Roman soldiers removed Jesus’ body from the cross before the Jewish Sabbath began at sunset.
If for some unfathomable reason, Jesus had survived and everyone somehow missed it, Alex McFarland, a top defender of the Christian faith, laid out what this severely wounded Jesus faced. “There would have been these tightly-wound strips of cloth and 70 to 90 pounds of spices. And so in a way, He would have been so constricted and wrapped up, even if He had been alive—which He wasn’t—it would have been physically impossible for a man that severely wounded to have gotten out of the burial clothes, much less move a sealed, multi-ton stone.”
In this state, could Jesus have overcome Roman military guards who were in peak physical condition, and then walked to Jerusalem to regather His scattered disciples?
Another myth is the wrong tomb theory: Everyone just went to the wrong tomb—an empty one—and falsely assumed Christ had been resurrected.
This is followed by the empty tomb theory—His tomb was found empty not because He was resurrected, but because the body had been hidden somewhere else by the apostles or unknown persons. Apparently the tomb was empty, otherwise it wouldn’t have been necessary for the skeptics to make up a story about someone stealing the body.
Or my personal favorite: Was a look-alike crucified in the place of Christ? The book of Acts tells us the disciples where willing to suffer and die for their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. Would they have been willing to die for what they knew was a lie? “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33).”
The Gospel writers were committed to recording the events accurately. Hank Hanegraaff, known as the Bible Answer Man, writes, “The Gospel writers highlighted women as the heroes of their empty tomb accounts. . . females were routinely considered little more than chattel, the empty tomb accounts are powerful evidence that the Gospel writers valued truth over cultural correctness.” Matthew 28:5-6 testifies, “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay’.”
Christian writer Lee Strobel, once an atheist, declares, “Satan loves to spread the doubt virus, whenever and wherever he can.” Detractors want the world to believe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Historians from Jesus’ era, have accurately documented the crucifixion and resurrection. The Bible also records His appearances to His disciples and other individuals over a forty-day period after He arose from the dead. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ allows a look beyond the struggles of life. God has prepared a future for those who have trusted Him as their personal Savior. He brings new life, new hope, and a new perspective.
Christianity would have ended at the tomb if Jesus’ body was still there, but it wasn’t. If the Roman and Jewish officials would have gone to the tomb and viewed the corpse, our faith would be in vain. But on Easter Sunday over two thousand years ago, the tomb was indeed empty. Jesus’ victory over death, guarantees an eternity with Him. Hallelujah!
The Gospel PostScript