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Passion Week

The Guard's Report

Scripture

Matthew 28:11-15

Commentary

As strange as it seems, some people to this day believe that the disciples stole Jesus' body rather than believe in the resurrection.

There are a few major problems with this story.  Even if the soldiers had fallen asleep and the disciples had a plan to steal Jesus' body, they could hardly do so without waking the guards.  If nothing else, the stone in front of the entrance could not easily, nor quietly, be moved away and surely would have woken the guards.

For a guard to lose a prisoner was a serious offense.  It meant that the guard was executed.  This occurs a few times in the book of Acts, with one guard readying himself to fall on his sword rather than be executed by his commanders.  The soldiers willingly allow the story of their negligence to be repeated for an undisclosed large sum of money.  Even with the assurance that the chief priests would satisfy the governor to prevent their execution, this seems like a large gamble with one's life.  Unless of course, the truth was worse, that they had absolutely no explanation for how Jesus disappeared which was the case.

Finally, if the disciples stole Jesus' body, they are absolute fools.  Aside from the fact that the gospels record that the disciples don't understand that Jesus would rise from the dead, it would be foolish to create such a hoax.  The disciples may steal the body of Jesus to keep from looking foolish for following Him but they wouldn't carry the story too far.  If they actually did it, they would fade into obscurity, never to be heard from again after their deed to save face.  Instead, if the guards' story is true, they continue to perpetuate something they know is a lie.  They devote their entire life to something they know is a lie.  And almost all of the disciples would die for something they know is a lie.  Certainly the disciples did not steal Jesus' body and then give up their lives for something they knew wasn't true.

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