April 21, 2019

The Busy but Empty Tomb of Jesus

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

People who reject the truth of the Bible resort to various rescuing devices such as saying Scripture has errors, does not mean what it says so we need help from atheistic interpretations of science, and outright ridicule. How many of these owlhoots have seriously read it?


The best-attested fact of ancient history is the empty tomb of Jesus. That first Easter morning was very busy at the empty tomb.
Credit: Pixabay / Jeff Jacobs
Christians frequently hear atheists refer to the Bible as "fairy tales". (One of the most absurd remarks is the claim that the Bible was written by illiterate goat herders. Not only does this reveal bigotry and prejudicial conjecture about the writers of the Bible, but it is self-refuting: how do illiterate people write books?) The fairy tale aspect is easily dismissed by comparing actual fairy tales with the Bible. You will find detailed, accurate history in the Bible and see that it reads quite differently from fairy tales.

In a similar way, myths and legends are usually vague and unbelievable; I wonder if people actually believed the tales of the Sumerian, Greek, Scandinavian, or other gods. Compare the Epic of Gilgamesh with the Genesis Flood account, for instance. Dr. Ben Scripture has a radio show and podcast where he and Scott Kump did a three-part series comparing the creation myths with the Genesis narrative, and you can easily spot the differences.

Now we come to the Easter part of this article, what with it being that time of year and all. Some of these things came to mind when I was listening to a series by Dr. John MacArthur on "The Empty Tomb" (free to download, read, or listen online). All four Gospels record the Resurrection, but have different perspectives. When investigators question witnesses, a strong indication that a story is concocted is if there are too many matching details. The Gospel writers emphasized different aspects of the Resurrection. Luke was a historian, not a witness, but he obviously conducted thorough interviews (Luke 1:1-4).

It has been stated that the Bible has the "ring of truth". That is clearly true, because we see the flaws in the followers of Jesus. He told some blunt truths and people actually turned away (John 6:66 is one example). We know about Peter's denial (Matt. 26:75), the family of Jesus thought he was plumb loco (Mark 3:21), the doubt of Thomas (John 20:24-25), and Judas' betrayal (Mark 14:44), but there are other areas where his followers were less than enthusiastic. If you were going to make up a religion, would you write in doubt and betrayal on the part of followers and other people? Me, neither.

An old effort to deny the bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead was the claim that people went to the wrong tomb.



Let's see... we had Roman guards, the man who originally purchased it and provided it for Jesus' burial (great deal, he got the tomb back later!), the women who went there previously, and all sorts of things happening. This wrong tomb idea may have worked if there were only a few people in the early dawn, but the traffic continued. Even the Romans testified that the tomb was empty. Nobody disagreed that it was empty. Instead, they wanted to explain it away.

 Excerpted from Dr. John MacArthur's sermon, "Witnessing Women and Doubting Disciples"

Note that another ring of truth aspect is that the women were not expecting his Resurrection (John 20:2). Nobody was, even though he had told them repeatedly (Luke 18:34). God told the women through angels that Jesus had risen (Matt. 28:5-6). They were unlikely messengers, because women were not exactly held in high regard in that society.

God's Word has many authenticating factors. Jesus was crucified for our sins (Phil. 2:8, 1 Peter 2:24, Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23). He rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-8), and this is considered the best attested fact of ancient history. We can become children of the living God (John 1:12-13) by repenting and putting our faith in Christ alone (Luke 24:46-47). As Christians, we presuppose that the Bible is true, and it has many authenticating factors.

The tomb was empty. 

Unbelievers have to decide what they will do with Jesus, but everyone will stand before him — whether they like it or not (Phil. 2:9-11, Rev. 7:9-12, Rev. 20:11-15). You're reading this, so you still have time to repent and believe the good news, pilgrim.


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