The Body of Jesus
For the non-believer the missing body of Jesus presents an enormous problem. For the believer the missing body of Jesus is the ultimate proof for His claims to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4).
Jesus was crucified by a Roman execution squad. Trained. Experienced. They knew their grisly business; they knew about dying and death. When the request came to hurry the deaths of those on the crosses, they verified that Jesus was dead (John 19:32-34). When removed from the cross, His body was placed in a tomb (Matthew 27:57-60).
But the chief priests and Pharisees who had opposed Jesus were worried that His disciples would steal the body and proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead. So they asked Pilate for some soldiers to guard the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). Pilate granted their request. The tomb was sealed, and a guard posted. And they waited.
At this point, what are the possibilities?
1) That Jesus wasn’t really dead. That He had survived the the crucifixion. That He revived, rolled the stone back from inside the tomb and escaped past the guards. If you believe that, I have a genuine Rembrandt I’d love to sell you - at a reduced price, of course.
2) That Jesus’ disciples somehow overpowered these Roman soldiers, moved the stone and stole the body. These would be the same disciples who all ran when Jesus was arrested and later were hiding behind closed doors for fear of the authorities.
3) That the guards really did fall asleep (every last one of them) as in their concocted alibi (Matthew 28:11-16). Noting again that these were disciplined Roman soldiers who were under severe penalty (probably death) if they fell asleep on duty, one can see the absurdity of this tale.
4) What’s left? That Jesus was raised from the dead just as the scriptures tell us!! So where is His body now? Why, He’s living in it!! Doesn’t that just thrill you to the depth of your soul?!!