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April 3, 2014 / BTM

The Case for the Resurrection Egg #3

soldier2

If you did the Minimal Facts Resurrection Bible Study that I posted last week, you may have been surprised to discover that the account of the guards posted in front of the tomb was only recorded in Matthew.  This is part of why the guards are not included in the Minimal Facts.  I include them in The Case for the Resurrection Eggs because it is still an opportunity to teach young children to think critically about the account and if it is possible that the disciples could have made up the story about Jesus’ resurrection.

EGG #3 THE SOLDIER

OPEN EGG #3.  WHAT DO YOU FIND INSIDE?  A SOLDIER

After Jesus had been crucified and put into the tomb, the chief priests wanted to make sure that the disciples didn’t come to steal Jesus’ body and pretend that He had risen from the dead.  Soldiers were posted to guard the tomb, and a seal was put on the stone that would show if anyone tried to move the stone in front of the tomb. (Matthew 27:62-66)

What happened to those guards?  On the morning of the third day, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, the Bible tells us:

There was a powerful earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven. The angel went to the tomb. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. His body shone like lightning. His clothes were as white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. (Matthew 28:1-4, NIrV)

The guards heard the angel say that Jesus had been raised from the dead and that the tomb was empty.  In those days, if a soldier didn’t do his job properly, he could be killed.  These soldiers were afraid that they would be blamed for Jesus’ missing body.  So, some of the guards when into the city to tell the chief priests what had happened at the tomb.

When the chief priests met with the elders, they came up with a plan.  They gave the soldiers a large amount of money.  They told the soldiers, “We want you to say, ‘His disciples came during the night.  They stole his body while we were sleeping.’  If the governor hears this report, we will pay him off.  That will keep you out of trouble.”  So the soldiers took the money and did as they were told.  This story has spread all around among the Jews to this very day.  (Matthew 28:11-15, NIrV)

The stone in front of the tomb was extremely heavy.  The disciples would not have been able to move it.  Plus, the tomb was guarded by soldiers who would be killed if they didn’t keep proper watch of it.  Still, some people say that the disciples stole Jesus’ body out of the tomb and pretended that He had risen from the dead.  Do you think this could have happened?

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