Jun 20

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Jesus of Nazareth stood before Pilate and heard him say: “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matt. 27:24). “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matt. 27:27-31). Here Jesus died!
It was Joseph, a counsellor of Arimathaes, a city of the Jews; who went unto Pilate, “and begged the body of Jesus he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid” (Luke 23:50-53). Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, joined Joseph in this burial (John 19:39). As these two men buried Jesus there were women who followed them in order to know where the body of Jesus was buried (Luke 23:55). The reason for their action was that they planned to return to the sepulchre on the first day of the week with “prepared spices and ointments” (Luke 23:56). Therefore, these women made their way to the sepulchre as it was yet dark, but light was seen coming up “upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning” (Luke 24:1). As they walked toward the Sepulchre they talked among themselves as to how the large stone covering the entry way into the sepulchre would be rolled away (Mark 16:3). To their amazement, as they reached the sepulchre, the women saw the stone was already rolled away; so they entered “into the sepulchre” and “saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted” (Mark 16:5). The body of Jesus was not there! Matthew informs us the “young man” was an angel (Matt. 28:5) and he said: “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6). It is with these words that the challenge to the apostles of Christ begins!
Did the apostles know that Jesus of Nazerath was not really resurrected? But that his body had been taken away. This was the story put forth by the Jews at the time: “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. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day” (Matt. 28:12-15).
Let us look at the words, “if this come to the governor’s ears.” What is the subject of these words? The subject is, “while we slept.” If word reached the governor’s ears that the soldiers fell asleep while on guard duty, a penalty would have to be paid by the soldiers. Whatever the penalty would have been, the Jews said they “will persuade him;” meaning, persuade him not to take action against them! Now, we must understand, the body of Jesus was missing; it was missing while the guards were on duty; it was missing while the guards were not asleep, as this was to be their excuse for it being stolen. So, what happened to the body of Jesus? Did the apostles of Christ know it had actually been stolen?
Never mind for the moment, how the body was stolen with guards on duty, and a false story had to be concocted up by the elders of the Jews. Answer this question: Why would the apostles, who did not believe Jesus was going to be resurrected and who did not go to Galilee as Jesus had told them to do; at the last moment determine to fake a resurrection? Then, these same men would for the rest of their lives, put their lives in danger, indeed, tradition says, they were put to death (James was put to death in Acts 12) for preaching the resurrected Christ; while all the time knowing that it was all false!
People will die for what they believe, but how many will willingly die knowing what they are teaching is a lie?

– Frank R. Williams

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