Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tidbit Thursday-- Dealing with Doubt

I have a dear friend who is not a believer. She chuckles a bit under her breath every time I mention something pertaining to our small group Bible study and I can only imagine what she's thinking.... "Are you really that gullible? Raised from the DEAD? Are you crazy?".

Everyone deals with doubt on one level or another. The easiest and most common doubt, in my opinion, within the Christian faith is the resurrection. It's something we've never seen and according to the laws of nature, should be impossible.

But there is an empty tomb. The Christian faith is set apart from all other faiths by this simple fact. If He was not risen, where is the body of Jesus?

There are three common theories out there...

#1. He swooned on the cross. He wasn't really dead! After being mercilessly flogged and beaten and then hoisted vertically above the earth on a piece of wood with nails piercing his hands and feet for hours, he fainted. Then, three days later, he woke in his tomb. He got up, rolled the huge stone away from the opening of the tomb and walked out, appearing victorious to his disciples as a man who had beaten death.

There are a few obvious problems with this theory. Could you imagine enduring the suffering of Christ, then waking in a cold tomb three days later? He would have not had anything to eat or drink for over three days, his wounds would not have healed and he would still be greatly suffering the effects of the flogging and crucifixion he would have endured a mere three days earlier. He would not have appeared as a man who had beaten death, but a man in dire need of medical attention!

#2. The disciples stole his body while the Roman guard slept. When we think of a guard, we often think of a single man. However, the Roman guard designated to guard Christ's tomb would have consisted of multiple men, likely 3-4. The punishment for falling asleep at one's post was severe, a Temple guard who slept at his post often had his clothes burned off his back. Occasionally, a Roman guard would be put to death for such an offense. Yet, all 3-4 of these men feel asleep at the same time and didn't wake when the disciples broke the tomb seal, rolled away the large stone covering the opening and removed the body they were to be guarding. And while some non-Biblical sources support this theory, there is never any mention of the guards suffering any ill consequence as a result. (The opposing theory is that they were paid by Temple officials to support this theory by reporting they were sleeping when the body disappeared and, therefore, did not face any punishment as a result).

#3. The women went to the wrong tomb, which is why it was empty. Had they gone to the right tomb, they would have found the body of Jesus. One would think, had this been true, that the Roman officials would have happily showed the ladies to the correct tomb! And if they were unable to locate the tomb, surely Joesph of Arimathea, the owner of the tomb, could have showed them the way. Not to mention, the guards guarding it's entrance! We know that Roman officials deeply wanted the Christan movement squashed and could have done so by simply producing the remains of Jesus. And yet, the movement gained momentum that they were powerless to stop.

So, what happened to the body of Jesus? The answer is simple; HE HAS RISEN! :)

No comments: