Others say that Jesus never made it to the tomb, but orchestrated an elaborate plan to make it appear as though He died and rose again. Perhaps He had a twin; perhaps they substituted Judas; perhaps the sponge filled with sour wine given to Jesus on the cross was really a sedative that made Him sleep; perhaps the soldiers were paid off to lie about His death. Perhaps…

People who don’t want to believe that Jesus is the Son of God will conjecture anything to try to disprove His death and resurrection.

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The enemies of Jesus, however, proved that He really died. They verified His death. A crowd of people witnessed the entire ordeal (John 19:20). A Roman soldier pierced His side on the cross, causing water and blood to come out (verse 34). The blood had started to separate, signifying that physical death had already occurred. A centurion, a man well acquainted with the signs of death, verified that Jesus was dead (Luke 23:47). There was no doubt in the executioners’ minds that Jesus was dead.

The friends of Jesus agreed. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial; they knew He had died. Disciples who didn’t want to believe He was gone were absolutely convinced He had died.

Jesus was crucified…and He died on the cross.

JESUS WAS BURIED

After Jesus died, He was quickly prepared for burial and then laid in the tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60).

Some concede this fact, but then argue that His disciples stole the body of Jesus and propagated the myth of resurrection.

But again, His enemies ensured that this couldn’t happen. The body of Jesus was placed in a tomb that was then closed off with a huge rock and sealed by Roman soldiers. The seal was a cord placed across the tomb with wax over the cord. The Roman seal was imprinted in the wax, and Roman soldiers were placed by the tomb to guarantee that nobody stole the body. They knew it was predicted that Jesus would rise after three days, and they didn’t want His disciples to steal the body and cause an uprising (Matthew 27:63-66). The enemies of Jesus ensured that Jesus would stay in the tomb and that nobody was going to take away the body.

They did a good job; nobody stole Jesus’ body from the tomb.

THE EMPTY TOMB

Jesus died and was buried, yet three days later His tomb was empty. Not many argue this point. Everyone recognizes that something happened to the body. For on the Sunday after Passover, some women went to put spices in the tomb and found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Jesus wasn’t there. But they didn’t understand what had happened and surmised that somebody had taken the body (John 20:2).

These women were “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them” (Luke 24:10). They went back and reported to the disciples what they had seen. The disciples were also startled and couldn’t believe the body was gone. They had to see this for themselves.

Peter and John ran to the tomb. Inside they saw the linen burial clothes—not ripped open or stolen away with the body, but lying there in an orderly manner (John 20:6-7). The body had not been stolen but had passed through the clothes… and was alive.

If the physical evidence wasn’t enough, God sent angels to explain it (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:12). So the resurrection was confirmed not only by physical evidence but also by divine messengers.