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By Alfred Edersheim. After successfully sending Jesus to the cross, the members of the Sanhedrin feared that His disciples would sneak in and steal the body. They asked for and received soldiers to guard the tomb. Although they didn’t believe such a thing could happen, they took Jesus’s claim that He would rise again in three days in a literal sense. But His disciples, on the other hand, don’t seem to have shared the same conviction, despite Christ’s promise.

On the day of the resurrection, two of them set off toward the village of Emmaus and away from the tomb (Luke 24:13). Instead of expressing hope that Jesus had risen or would rise, they showed their disappointment that He had not fulfilled their hopes of a present Messianic kingdom (Luke 24:21). Even news of His missing body simply confused them. Jesus had given them plenty of warning about His impending death and—to a lesser extent—His resurrection. But it wasn’t a bodily resurrection they expected.

Given their background and beliefs, the disciples had no real motive to steal the body. They might have expected a spiritual resurrection—that is, a continuation of His work and ministry or His vindication after death. At most, they might have believed Him to have meant a ghostly appearance, since most Jews believed the soul continued after death. However, they had no real foundation for expecting the body to physically return to life and, thus, no need to do what the leaders in Israel feared.

In fact, the disciples’ radical change concerning their belief about the resurrection—not to mention the transformation from fearful hiding to bold proclamation—proves that, at the least, they themselves became convinced that Jesus rose from the dead. Although faced with scorn from Jews and Greeks alike, they preached not just a continuation of Jesus’s work, but a Savior who lived again.

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  1. Brother Rolf July 2, 2012 at 6:30

    This is strong evidence of the resurrection but unbelievers are not interested in evidence, they already have their minds made up.

  2. If only someone would inform my theological professors at Pretoria University – they don’t know He has risen yet. One of them is under the impression that He never rose at all, another one believes that He rose “metaphorically,” but refuses to explain what he means by that. A theological student tried to charge them with heresy, but their respective classe’s (what’s the plural of classis?) found them innocent and the student got kicked out of the university.
    Many other students now know: you don’t argue with a heretic, otherwise they kick you out of their synagogue…

  3. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses went to the sepulchre or tomb to see the place where Jesus was buried. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. And for fear of him the keepers (guards) did shake, and became as dead men” (Matthew 27:56; 28:1-2, 4). And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above 500 brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also (Paul), as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). It only takes two witnesses for a person to be condemned to death. Here Paul tells us the names of some that saw Jesus after he was resurrected from the tomb, along with himself and more than 500 (Christian) brethren. None of the ungodly, including Herod, Pilate, the Sadducees and Pharisees were permitted to see Jesus after his resurrection.

  4. The Resurrection is the focal point of Christanity. Anyone with any Biblical background knows this. Our belief is based on faith and we read our Bibles, knowing in faith, it is the true Word of God. Anything less is blasphemy.

  5. I believe he walks with me everyday. I find it difficult to believe that many do not believe, but if they ever read the Bible in its entirety and compared it to what is happening in the world today, I don’t think they would doubt the Biblical text.

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