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Myths and Legends About the Resurrection of Christ

Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies

The tomb is empty

The tomb is empty

The Body was stolen

There are many opinions regarding what happened to the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. One is called the stolen body hypothesis and acknowledges that the tomb was empty. This theory suggests that that Christ did not rise from the dead but the disciples or others took the body away from its final resting place. Those who promote this line of thinking believe the reason the first Christians believed in the resurrection is that the body of Jesus was stolen. This line of thinking has been in existence since the early days of Christianity. The Bible says in Matthew chapter 28 that the guards at the tomb were witnesses to the resurrection and immediately told the religious leaders. Matthew says the elders and chief priests paid the soldiers to say the body had been stolen. It's hard to believe that anyone witnessing an earthquake and a huge glowing angel and the rolling away of the stone would be able to keep this secret for long. I guess it's true that people will do anything for money.

He is not here He is risen.

He is not here He is risen.

Matthew's version

Matthew's account of the resurrection is the only one to mention the details regarding the angel and the guards. Matthew emphasizes that the Pharisees recalled Jesus saying he would return in three days. They had the tomb sealed and guarded to prevent this from happening. They were afraid His disciples would steal the body to make it appear that he has risen from the grave. Scripture tells how the women went to the tomb early in the morning and witnessed an earthquake and saw the angel roll away the stone, then set on top of it. The angels told the women to spread the word that He was alive and at the same time the guards were being paid to lie.




the guard

the guard

Additional theories

So now we have Mary and the disciples going through the city saying that He is Risen, while others have concocted their own versions of what took place. Another variation of the stolen body theory says that some of the disciples removed the body of Jesus so they could bury him themselves, in order to fake a resurrection. Those who push this theory say the disciples wanted to restore the Lord's good name because He was crucified as a criminal. In the “pious deceit hypothesis“ the motive is said to be that if people believed God the Father had taken the body of Jesus to heaven, this would "prove" that He had been a true holy man and His name would be vindicated. According to proponents of this hypothesis, the fact that Matthew raises the issue makes it likely that such an anti-Christian narrative already existed at the time. The followers of Jesus may have been at least as many as seventy (the Seventy Disciples), so it is not improbable to consider that at least one or two of them might have been willing to try to make the resurrection seem real.

Another theory comes from Hermann Samuel Reimarus, who wrote the following, sometime in 1700s. He said that Jesus himself never imagined a religion like Christianity, and that Christ as well as His followers had been revolutionaries who were working to build an earthly Kingdom of God. This was supposed to take place by overthrowing the rule of the Romans. Reimarus said that after the crucifixion, the devastated disciples changed the message of Jesus from a political statement into one of a spiritual nature. It is alleged that the disciples had been expecting to rule with Jesus after the Romans were no longer in power and devised a plan to gain respect for themselves. They thought they would achieve fame and acclaim in saying they were the followers of a man who was raised from the dead.


Transformed lives


Church tradition, Christian apologists, and Eusebius point to the fact that many apostles were martyred for their belief in Christ. For this reason it unlikely that they would take part in a conspiracy, turn around and preach the gospel, and ultimately die for their faith if it was not real. J.N.D. Anderson, is a Christian apologist and also the dean of the faculty of law at the University of London. He has been quoted as saying that the stolen body theory would be completely contrary to what is known about the lives of the Apostles, based on. their moral teachings and the quality of the lives they lived. Anderson added that lying about the resurrection would not begin to explain the dramatic transformation of these men from "dejected and dispirited escapists into witnesses whom no opposition could muzzle." In other words, something supernatural must have taken place to transform these men and SomeOne supernatural did. His Name is Jesus and all who encounter Him have their lives altered forever. It does not matter how many theories, hypotheses, or myths come forth to refute the resurrection. True believers know the tomb is empty and He is risen indeed.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston

Comments

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on April 03, 2020:

He indeed Rose. Good work.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 03, 2020:

I believe the Bible exactly as written This is a good article as Easter is almost here and. I will be watching church on the computer again.

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