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Grace Bible Chapel of Springfield, Illinois
|APRIL 7, 2019
TIM VAN RYN
|APRIL 14, 2019
|APRIL 21, 2019
|APRIL 28, 2019
|MAY 5, 2019
“And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. “(Matt. 28:12, 13)
The Lord Jesus had no sooner risen from the dead when His enemies began to fabricate an alibi to explain away the
miracle. The best falsehood that they could concoct at that time was that the disciples came by night and stole the
body. (The swoon theory, suggesting that Jesus did not really die but only swooned, didn’t surface till centuries
later.) Unfortunately for the theft theory, as for all the other theories, it raises more questions than it answers. For
Why didn’t the chief priests and elders question the original report of the guards concerning the empty tomb? They
accepted it as true and hastened to devise an explanation as to how it had happened.
Why were the soldiers sleeping when they should have been on watch? The Roman penalty for sleeping on duty
was death. Yet they were promised immunity from punishment. Why?
How could all the soldiers have fallen asleep at the same time? It taxes credulity to think they would all have risked
death for a time of sleep.
How could the disciples have rolled the stone without waking the guards? The stone was large and could not be
How could the disciples have moved the stone at all? In a typical Herodian-style tomb, the stone was rolled till it fell
down into a lower slot. It was easier to seal such a tomb than it was to open it. Besides, the tomb had been made as
“sure” as the Roman authorities were able to make it.
Is it likely that the disciples, recently so fearful that they fled for their lives, would have the courage to face the
Roman guards and rob the sepulcher? They would know that such an offense was punishable by a severe sentence.
If the soldiers were all asleep, how did they know that the disciples had stolen the body?
If the disciples stole the body, why did they take time to remove the graveclothes and fold the napkin? (Luke 24:12;
John 20:6, 7). Why would the disciples want to steal the body?
There was no reason. Actually they were surprised and incredulous when they learned He had risen.
Finally, would the disciples, honorable men that they were, go forth and preach the resurrection at great personal
risk if they knew it was a lie? Paul Little said, “Men do not die for what they know is a lie.” They sincerely believed
that Jesus has risen. The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
Below is a meditation written, by Mr. William MacDonald. 1917-2007
RICHARD COOLEY will be our
speaker on April 21, 2019 at 11:00
a.m. Richard and his wife Nancy
have fellowshipped at Grace Bible
Chapel from childhood. They have
two adult children and three
grandchildren. Richard is a graduate
of Bob Jones University and a
retired art teacher. He teaches in
our adult Bible class that is currently
studying in the book of Hebrews.
Richard is also an avid golfer.