Today I was visited by a Christian who calls himself a “Messianic Jew.” After an hour of study about the resurrection, he got impatient with my lack of faith, and before he left he challenged me to produce the body if I couldn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection. That’s what inspired me to share with you this topic for discussion.
Now, if we put ourselves together, and then put together whatever we can from reading the NT about the resurrection of Jesus, we will see that he did not resurrect. I would like to bring to your attention some points about that tale. Tale! Yes, and the term is not mine. I am borrowing it from Jesus’ own disciples who went even further by adding the adjective “idle.” Idle tale, they said. (Luke 24:11)
The women had reported the words of the “angel” that Jesus had resurrected. The disciples probably had never heard of such a thing. They had no choice but to discard their report as an idle tale. Now, think: If those who lived daily with Jesus, listening daily to his words, could not believe the report, how can we be expected to, after almost two thousand years of listening to a tale that just won’t get less idle?
When did the disciples ever change their minds about that idle tale? I wonder because about 30 years later, when Paul showed up in Jerusalem preaching that Jesus had resurrected, he almost got killed. Why? Was not the Sect of the Nazarenes
headquartered in Jerusalem? Yes, but that Jesus had resurrected was not in their agenda. The whole thing had been made up by Paul. Yes, all according to his gospel as he himself revealed it to his disciple Timothy. (II Tim. 2:8) Obviously, Paul needed that tale to promote his Cause, which turned out to be Christianity.
The resurrection of Jesus, therefore, can be accepted only and exclusively by faith because there is no evidence to substantiate the event. An empty tomb is no proof of resurrection. And the refusal at the time to produce the body does not diminish from the fact that the body was indeed removed from there. And the guards can never be taken as evidence of anything whatsoever, because they were set at the tomb area only late Saturday morning. The disciple who removed Jesus’ body from that tomb, most probably Joseph of Arimathea, had the whole night of Friday, and all for himself to act without any disturbance. And he did it because he had enough reasons to believe that, by not doing it, even during the hours of that Sabbath, Mary Magdalene would have done it instead, as she herself declared she would. (John 20:15) So, I wish the preachers of the resurrection would at least give Paul the credit that’s due him. (II Tim. 2:8)