Guards which had been posted by the grave of Jesus by Governor Pontius Pilate sated that the body of Jesus had been stolen by followersof the condemned man.
Close questioning by reporters revealed that this story had been suggested to them by the chief priests who did not want to admit that there might have been a resurrection. One of the guards admitted that considerable money had been given to them to circulate this rumor.
Although most of the guards were reluctant to discuss the events, all agreed that there had been a sharp earthquake and that there seemed to have been the appearance of a supernatural being. Experts have scoffed at the possibility of such beings.
The guards had been placed on watch on request of the chief priests who remembered that Jesus had claimed he would rise on the third day. The guards showed considerable embarrassment in telling how a group of simple fishermen had succeeded in stealing the body. Although the followers are known to be in the city, they have not been accused of theft, nor has the body been recovered.
Mary Magdalene, one of the women who reported to the disciples that the tomb was empty, was unable to comprehend that anyone could rise from the dead. Returning to the garden where the tomb was located, she saw a man whom she supposed was the gardener.
"Sir," she said, "if you have carried him off, tell me where you have put him."
"Mary!" the supposed gardener said. Mary knew at once that it was Jesus.
Jesus, 33, native of Nazareth of Galilee, who was crucified along with two other criminals last Friday at Golgotha just outside our city, has apparently rise from the dead.
Three of the friends of Jesus were thyefirst to discover the resurrection. they had gone to the tomb with spices, expecting to prepare the body for proper burial. This had not been done Friday afternoon due to the approach of our Sabbath.
The three women relturned immediately to Jerusalem to tell Jesus' followers that they had found the tomb empty. the disciples refused to believe the highly improbable story.
the ten disciples reported that Jesus proved to them that he had physically risen from the dead by showing them the nail holes in his hands and feet and by eating a piece of broiled fish in front of them. Thomas stated that unless he could put his finger into the prints of the nails and his hand into the hold in Jesus' side, he would not believe it.
When the stranger asked why they were so sorrowful, they explained the recent events of the crucifixion of Jesus. The stranger did not identify himself but showed from our Jewish Scriptures that all these things had been prophesied long ago.
The two men invited the stranger to eat their evening meal with them. As he asked the blessing on the food, they recognized him as Jeus. At once Jesus vanished out of their sight.
The two men returned immediately to Jerusalem.
In spite of many evidences of a resurrection, most followers of the crucified religious leader found it very difficult to believe.
His disciples reported that Jesus had appeared tot hem while they were eating and upbraided them for not believing those who had seen him.
He then told them that they should go into all the world and tell thegood news to everyone. He said that those who believe on him shall be saved and those who do not believe will be damned.
Two comments are in order.
First, we should remember that our prophets in centuries gone by have predicted that our Messiah would rise from the dead. You recall that our great king David said in his sixteenthy psalm, "For thou wilt not leave my7 soul in Sheol; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Since David did not escape corruption, these words could not apply to him. Our scholars agree that these words apply to the Messiah.
Secondly, we shyould remember that this Jesus on many occasions openly stated that he would rise the third day after his death. Our chief priests apparently were the only ones who took his words seriously.
Our religious leaders urged the death of Jesus on the ground of blasphemy--that he had said he was equal to God. It hardly seems likely that Jehovah would honor a blasphemer by allowing him to rise from the dead. And there have been too many witnesses to doubt his resurrection.
Thhe only logical conclusion is that Jesus is our promised Messiah.
To acknowledge this lowly Galilean as the son of God and our Redeemer will be very difficult to do. We looked for a conquering king. Yet we can see in Jesus the fulfilment of the ceremonies that we have observed ibn our temple for thousands of years.
Some of our leaders have now publicly stated that they are believers. Nicodemus, one of our honored rulers, openly aided idn the burial of jesus.
It will be a serious indictment on us if we stubbornly refuse to admit the fact of the resurrection, or if we admit the fact and do not accept all that it implies.
--To Order: No. 216, The Tract League, Grand Rapids, MI 49544-1390