Pastor David B. Curtis

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The Empty Tomb

John 20:1-10

Delivered 01/06/19

We ended our last study in John with Yeshua dead and buried. We looked at His excruciating death upon the cross, a death that was substitutional, He died for His elect. We also looked at His burial. The significance of the burial is that it served as a certificate of death. The burial signified a public notice that Yeshua of Nazareth was dead. This is where we ended in our study, Yeshua is now dead, in the tomb. Think of how His disciples must have felt. Think of their despair and hopelessness. We see this despair in:

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Luke 24:21 ESV

The one they believed to be the Messiah was arrested, tried, condemned and crucified without doing anything to try to stop it. Where were His power and His glory? Where was His claim of equality with God? What of His repeated statements about being the source of life? Death has taken Him. Was He, after all, just a man?

The sad thing here is that their despair and hopelessness was a product of their unbelief. Over and over Christ had told them that He would rise from the dead. And these men and women were all familiar with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures clearly taught that Christ would rise from the dead. Christ's death and burial and resurrection were all predicted in the "Feasts of Yahweh." These seven feasts were very familiar to all Jews, they represent and typify the sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Messiah's redemptive career.

The first feast was Passover: The first Passover was celebrated on the 14th of Nisan. And almost two thousand years later, Yeshua was crucified on the 14th of Nisan. While Israel was celebrating their Passover, Yeshua, the true Lamb of God, was being crucified. This feast pictured the Lord's death. Did His disciples not see this? Remember how John introduced Yeshua?

The next day he saw Yeshua coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV

God's Lamb died on Passover at the very time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered, why didn't they get this?

The second feast was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread: this took place on the fifteenth of the Hebrew month Nisan. It was to last for seven days. On the first night, and again on the seventh, there was to be a holy convocation; these were High Sabbaths. The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures deliverance.

Yeshua was buried on the same day He was killed, Passover. He was put in the earth before the sun set on the 14th of Nisan. Unleavened Bread starts on the 15th of Nisan and pictures deliverance. The children of Israel left Egypt on the first day of Unleavened Bread and had crossed the Red Sea by the end of the seven-day feast. Unleavened Bread is a seven-day feast picturing a perfect redemption.

The third feast was FIRST FRUITS, which pictures the RESURRECTION of the Messiah. Can you clearly see the Gospel in the feasts?

Let's look at this third feast "First Fruits," and see what it is that this feast should have taught His disciples:

"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. Leviticus 23:10-11 ESV

What date is this feast to take place on? Passover was to take place on the 14th of Nisan:

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD's Passover. Leviticus 23:5 ESV

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to take place on the 15th of Nisan:

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. Leviticus 23:6 ESV

What date is First Fruits?

and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. Leviticus 23:11 ESV

There is no date given. The inspired text says that this third feast occurs "…on the day after the Sabbath…" As to what exactly this meant was the subject of much discussion and argument between the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Most scholars say the Feast of First Fruits took place on the 16th of Nisan. They take the Sabbath here to be the Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread. But I believe that the Sabbath referred to here is the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. I am reluctant to say it, but on this issue, I agree with the Sadducees.

The Sadducean view was that a Sabbath always referred to a Saturday and, therefore, "the day after" was always a Sunday. And this Sabbath was defined as the first natural Sabbath that fell during the seven-day festivities of Passover and Unleavened Bread.

The Pharisaic view, on the other hand, took the Sabbath to refer to the first day of the festival of Unleavened Bread that was proclaimed by the words "a holy convocation" in the Law (Lev. 23:7, that is, the 15th of Nisan). The "day after," according to the Pharisees, had to always refer to the second day of the festivities and was always on the same calendar date, unlike the Sadducean interpretation.

There is no date given in Scripture for the Feast of First fruits, because it is always on a Sunday! So, the date would change from year to year, but it is always on a Sunday, the first day of the week. What is interesting is that on the year that Christ was crucified, there had to be three days between the 14th and the first day of the week. And it just so happens that there was.

If the "day after the Sabbath" was the 16th of Nisan, why didn't God give us the date? He didn't give the date because the date changes from year to year, but it is always on a Sunday. It's significant, therefore, that Yeshua is raised from the dead on the biblical day on which the waving of the first fruits of barley took place; Sunday.

I believe that Yeshua was crucified on Wednesday, was buried by the end of the day. He was in the grave from Thursday at sundown until Saturday at sundown, which is 3 days, and 3 nights or 72 hours. He rose from the dead on Sunday sometime after sundown on Saturday evening.

So, First Fruits is ALWAYS on a SUNDAY. As to the significance of the Feast of First Fruits, as with the other feasts, there is no room for doubt or speculation that it represents Christ's resurrection:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 ESV

So, hundreds of years before Christ was ever born, God was teaching His people that their Messiah would come, and He would die for them on Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Yeshua was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God was teaching His people that for three days Yeshua would be in the tomb, and that He would arise from the dead on the first day of the week, the very day that Israel celebrated the Feast of First Fruit. Yeshua's disciples knew this; they should have anticipated the resurrection, not doubted it.

Lazarus has been taking great pains to show us that Yeshua was literally in charge of His own dying. And then He was in charge of His own burial. And now He shows us that He is in charge of His own resurrection.

On one particular morning, the First Fruits were being waved before the alter in the Temple, and that particular morning some women were heading to an empty tomb:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. John 20:1 ESV

Before we look at this verse we need to back up a bit and look at what Matthew tells us happened prior to the first verse of John chapter 20.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can." So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Matthew 27:62-66 ESV

Are the chief priests and Pharisees concerned that Yeshua may rise from the dead?
No, their concern is that Yeshua's disciples may, "go and steal Him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead.'" They don't seem to be thinking too clearly since in order for the disciples to make that claim, they will need evidence of Yeshua being alive again, not just His dead body being missing.

Once they "made the tomb secure" by "sealing the stone" with a Roman seal, breaking that seal for any reason was punishable by death. The Roman soldiers would have defended the seal with their lives since failing to do so was also punishable by death.

With that in mind, let's look at our text in John. In these ten verses, John 21:1-10, the word "tomb" is repeated seven times in nine verses (vs.1 twice, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8).

"On the first day of the week"—Young's LT translates this as, "And on the first of the sabbaths." This is a Hebrew idiom that seems to have signified the whole week, the interval between two Sabbaths. This could be translated, "on day one of the week." The Jews numbered their days. They didn't name them like we do Sunday, Monday, and so forth, they numbered them. Sabbath was the seventh day, because it commemorated the seventh day when God rested from creation, and they always worshiped on the Sabbath day.

Yeshua's resurrection took place on the first day of the week, Sunday. Which was the Feast of First Fruits. Sunday was also the first day of Creation, Sabbath was the seventh day therefore day one had to be Sunday. Resurrection Sunday is the first day of the New Creation in Christ! After Pentecost it became the custom for the New Covenant Church to worship on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10; also Matthew 28:1). Yeshua's appearances on three successive Sunday nights set the stage for believers worshiping on Sundays.

"Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark"—John doesn't mention that Mary was accompanied by any other women. This has troubled many writers because Matthew also mentions the "other Mary" (27:61), Mark refers to "Mary the mother of Joses" (15:47), and "Mary, the mother of James and Salome" (16:1). Luke includes "Joanna" and "other women" (24:10). This is not a discrepancy, John simply chooses to focus only on Mary Magdalene. In all the Synoptic accounts Mary Magdalene is said to be the first woman to come to the tomb to anoint the body of her Lord.

I believe that Mary Magdalene was Lazarus' sister Mary, that's why he focuses on her. She is one of four prominent "Marys" in the New Testament; she was freed from seven demons by Yeshua. according to Luke 8:2.

What is significant about this text is that even though the role of the woman in the ancient world was of a second-class citizen, Christ chose to appear first of all to women, not to a man. The first to testify to the risen Lord was a woman from whom Yeshua had cast out seven demons. If the resurrection were a hoax, they would certainty not have had as their primary eyewitness a woman's questionable moral character. They would have chosen a respected male member of the community, for a woman's evidence, according to the Mishnah, was not normally admissible in court (Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah 1:8).

"While it was still dark"—this is another statement that appears to conflict with what Mark writes in 16:1-2, which states that when the women came to the tomb, the sun had already risen. Critics of the Bible love things like this that they can attack the Bible. What is likely happening here is that the women came in groups or individually, not in a single group, all arriving around sunrise.

Another explanation here is that light and darkness have been constant themes throughout this Gospel. Darkness has pictured ignorance and sin. Nicodemus came in the night, Judas left in the dark, and so on. Yeshua declared that He is light (8:12; 12:35-36). The day started in darkness, Yeshua was dead, but was moving into light, His tomb was empty. That's how it was for those who went to the empty tomb. At first, the darkness of ignorance and unbelief; but as the first light began to rise over the eastern sky, the darkness began to be dispelled and the knowledge of what God had done became clearer for the disciples. John loves to stress the symbolical aspect of things.

"And saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb"—Matthew 28 and Mark 16 provide additional details on the stone being rolled away:

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. Matthew 28:1-4 ESV

Mark tell us:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. Mark 16:1-5 ESV

Mark doesn't identify this young man as an angel; but the other Gospel writers do. We, for some reason, have this need to always put halos and wings on angels. But most of the time in the Bible they just appear as men. And that's the case here.

The word for "alarmed," in the original Greek is ekthambeo, which means: "to throw into terror or amazement." They were caught up in trembling; in awe at what they heard from the angel in the tomb. Back to John 20 verse 1:

"And saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb"—the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Biblesays, "In this area a tomb entrance was often covered by a disk-shaped rock, a yard/meter in diameter, requiring multiple people to move it. Such a stone lay in a groove, but could not be moved from inside; the practice is common enough for John to take for granted here that his audience understands it."

The text does not tell us whether she looked inside the tomb, but Mark tells us that the women entered the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Yeshua loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." John 20:2 ESV

So, it seems that Mary saw that the tomb was open and took off running, but Mark tells us that she went inside and saw an angel who told them to go and tell the disciples. She runs to Peter's house, and then her and Peter run to get Lazarus.

The text here says, "The other disciple, the one whom Yeshua loved"—here the expression "the other disciple" is joined for the first time to "the one whom Yeshua loved" which helps us identify the "other disciple" who we saw earlier in our studies had access to the house of the high priest Annas. We know that the "one who Yeshua loved" is Lazarus, and so is, "the other disciple." Let's back up a minute to the trial of Yeshua:

Simon Peter followed Yeshua, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Yeshua into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. John 18:15-16 ESV

This "other disciple" was known to the high priest, and he was the one who got Peter in. Now if we compare John 18, "this other disciple was known to the high priest" to Acts 4, I think we will see that this "other disciple" could not be the Apostle John. Acts 4:1-23 tells us what happened to Peter and John following the healing of a crippled man. Peter and John were seized and brought before the "rulers; elders; scribes; Annas, the high priest; and Caiaphas." in order to be questioned about this miracle:

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Yeshua. Acts 4:13 ESV

Notice here what these Jewish leaders recognized: It was in that moment that they suddenly understood that these men had been with Yeshua. The principal thing that we need to get out of this passage is that it was at that point that the high priest and the other rulers became acquainted with Peter and John for the first time. But the text in John 18 tells us that the "other disciple" was known by the high priest. This teaches us that the high priest did not know John or Peter before this incident. So, the "other disciple" could not have been John. We'll talk about this more in verse 8.

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him"it seems that Mary meant that some of Yeshua's enemies had stolen His body, but exactly who she thought they may have been remains a mystery.

The robbing of graves was a common crime, so common that the Emperor Claudius (AD 41-54) eventually ordered capital punishment to be meted out to those convicted of destroying tombs, removing bodies or even displacing the sealing stones.

Mary's use of the plural "we" indicates there were others present and confirms the Synoptic accounts that other women had been with her.

So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. John 20:3-4 ESV

"They were going toward the tomb"—so Peter and Lazarus head for the tomb to see for themselves. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Biblesays, "Aside from it being dark when Mary headed for the tomb, men in the ancient Mediterranean world often viewed women as undependable in their testimony. Even if they trusted her fully, however, they would want to discover where the body was."

"The other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first"—so many writers make a big deal about this. They say that this proves that John was younger than Peter and therefore out ran him. But the verse does not actually say anything about John's age, although John the Apostle was younger than Peter, John is not the "other disciple" mentioned here. And age isn't always directly correlated with running speed. My grandson is 16 and I can out run him.

The detail of the "other disciple" outrunning "Peter" to the tomb was probably just to confirm it was an eyewitness report.

And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. John 20:5 ESV
"And stooping to look in"—is from the verb parakupto, which means "to bend over (in order to see something better)" and this is what would have been necessary to see into the low opening of the tomb carved into the hillside. In most instances the entrance to such tombs was less than 3 feet high.

There must have been enough daylight to see into the interior of the tomb. This suggests that the opening of the tomb faced east. It is interesting that the instructions for God's Tabernacle were that it was always to face toward the east (Exodus 27:13; 38:13). The Temple in Jerusalem was also built facing east.

"He saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in"—Lazarus uses three different words to describe how he and Peter viewed this remarkable event. The first is here where Lazarus says he, "he saw"—this is the Greek word blepei. Blepei is a word that means essentially "to glance" or to take a quick look. The second is in verse 6: Peter "saw the strips of linen lying there". This verb translated also by "saw" is a different word. This is the Greek word is theorei. This is the word from which we get the English word "theorize or theory." It suggests more than just a simple glance, but a pondering over what he was seeing. The third is in verse 8 where it says that Lazarus, "saw and believed"—the Greek word used here is horao. This is a third verb, also translated "saw." This one often means to see with comprehension, by Hebraism to experience. And that's probably the force of it here. And he saw and believed.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Yeshua's head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. John 20:6-7 ESV

So, Lazarus stops at the entrance of the tomb, but Peter runs right in. The body of Yeshua was definitely gone, but the scene inside the tomb was not what one would expect if the grave had been robbed.

Lazarus again mentions linen cloths in the plural. This reference is probably to the sidon, or burial shroud, and the soudarion, or cloth that had covered Yeshua's head when He was taken down from the cross and then used in His burial. Lazarus mentions such a cloth as part of his own burial garb (see 11:44).

It was the practice for a cloth to be passed under the chin and tied on top of the head to prevent the mouth of the deceased from falling open. The observation that the one cloth was still rolled up could indicate it was still rolled in an oval loop and the ends tied as it had been when it had been around Yeshua's head and chin.

"The face cloth, which had been on Yeshua's head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself"—the Greek here means, "It still retained its twirled shape" or its "annular shape."

There is a lot of speculation about the grave clothes and what they tell us. One thing that the condition of the graveclothes indicated was that the body of Yeshua had not been stolen by thieves. Anyone who had come to remove the body (whether the authorities or anyone else) would not have bothered to unwrap it before carrying it off. If grave robbers had removed the body, they would have undoubtedly taken the expensive cloth with which Joseph and Nicodemus had prepared it for burial.

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; John 20:8 ESV

When he saw the graveclothes in the condition described in the previous verse, he "saw and believed". The disciple who Yeshua loved had come to believe that Yeshua really had somehow risen from the dead. Lazarus "saw" and he "believed." He has reached Resurrection faith without an appearance of Yeshua.

So early on the first day of the week; "the other disciple…saw and believed," but later that day notice what Luke tells us:

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, Luke 24:33 ESV

The "they" here is referring to the two disciples who met Yeshua on the road to Emmaus. They join the gathering with the "eleven" and others, and Yeshua shows up. Now notice what the text tells us about them:

And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" Luke 24:41 ESV

"They still disbelieved"—this is referring to the "eleven," this is the "twelve" minus Judas. So, John still disbelieved, but the "other disciple" had believed that morning. The "other disciple" was clearly not one of the twelve.

Why does the sight of the "the linen wrappings" cause Lazarus to believe? This sight would have affected, and could easily have overwhelmed Lazarus. He understood the significance of these items, because he had experienced the wearing of "linen clothes." He would never forget the time that he wore "linen"—the material that was used to wrap dead bodies!

The "face-cloth" mentioned in verse 7 is the Greek word soudarion. This is the same word used in:

The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." John 11:44 ESV

Lazarus is familiar with this face cloth, he had worn one. It's not an accident that he took the time to mention this seemingly trivial detail of the "face-cloth" with regard to his resurrection. Lazarus had worn this cloth on his own face, and the sight of it at Yeshua's tomb caused him to believe.

for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. John 20:9 ESV

This is another editorial comment by the author. Neither Peter nor the Beloved Disciple had understood the Scripture concerning the resurrection. It is possible that Lazarus is referring to Psalms16:10, to Hosea 6:2, to Jonah 2:1. But it is also possible that since there is no specific reference to the Tanakh here it may be Lazarus' intent to suggest that all of Scripture had been fulfilled in Yeshua's resurrection.

Then the disciples went back to their homes. John 20:10 ESV

This verse is transitional. Peter and Lazarus head home. Lazarus no doubt very excited because he believed that Yeshua had risen. Luke tells us that Peter, "went home marveling at what had happened" (Luke 24:12).

All four Gospels include the resurrection; it was an historical event that serves as the height of each Gospel. Just as Yeshua was really dead, now He was really alive again. The resurrection is the heart of Christianity! So, it is constantly under attack.

Some theorize that a literal, physical resurrection did not take place. Over the centuries, great men of understanding have sought other plausible solutions to the empty tomb. Let's consider some of these "empty explanations" and why they fall short of the facts:

1. Yeshua did not die on the cross, but merely swooned. This alternative explanation has been repackaged with many variations. The most popular variant was The Passover Plot, published in 1965. The basic argument is that Yeshua and His disciples conspired to fulfill messianic prophecies by faking Yeshua's death on the cross. They managed to manipulate the Jewish leaders into trying Him, the people into demanding the crucifixion, and the Roman government into executing Him. The legal manipulation would have been a miracle in itself. Before being nailed to the cross, Yeshua was given a drug that appeared to make Him look dead, and trick the soldiers into removing Him from the cross while He was still alive. The cool damp air of the tomb revived Him and He appeared alive to His followers.

By just using simple logic, this argument fails miserably. Yeshua was beaten so badly that He was too weak to carry His own cross, and a bystander was commissioned for Him. He had nails driven through His wrists and feet. The blood loss is hard to escape. The blood poured out His feet, hands, back from the beating, and finally between His ribs when the spear pierced His heart.

If someone can get past the impossible odds of survival, there are a few more problems. How does a man who has had spikes driven through His limbs get up and walk? Somehow Yeshua revived, untangled Himself, pushed a massive stone away from the entrance of the tomb without any guards seeing it, and ran away unnoticed. Not only did He escape, but He also walked seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus with two travelers who did not notice He was wounded. How is it that most people can't walk with minor pain in their feet, but Yeshua was able to walk with holes in His? He had full use of His hands, because He took over the evening meal and broke bread. We could come up with dozens of functions that would cause Him excruciating pain if this was a faked resurrection not to mention how weakly He must have looked. It seems a little hard to get the multitudes fired up by seeing a half-dead Yeshua.

2. Yeshua's Body was stolen. This is the only counter-argument that is even remotely logical. It also has flaws that can't be explained. First, who stole the body? It is undeniable that the body of Yeshua was no longer in the grave. The disciples, Jews, and Roman soldiers all concurred that the body was missing. As one historian put it, "History's silence is deafening concerning the body of Yeshua. No one has ever claimed to see the body of Yeshua after the resurrection." If the Jews or Romans stole it, they would have produced it. All of the efforts to squelch Christianity, and the determination to explain away the resurrection would have ended quickly if someone produced the body. We know that the soldiers did not have it, or they would have surely produced it. They were paid for their silence; how much would they have been paid if they produced the body? There would have been no need to think up and rehearse the story of the disciples stealing it if the soldiers had it. We know the Jews didn't have it, because they would have been the first to put it on display. This only leaves the disciples or the resurrection.

Let's look at the possibility that the disciples took Yeshua's body. When Yeshua was arrested, the disciples scattered like little girls. Peter was the boldest of the 12, and he denied Yeshua 3 times. To show how cowardly he was at this point, he was afraid of a servant girl who probably had no say in that culture at all. Yet, when she confronted Peter, he called curses down upon himself to prove he did not follow Yeshua. They were too afraid to come forward to take Yeshua down and help with the burial. How is it that they would suddenly be bold enough to risk certain death and sneak among the guards, move the stone without rousing anyone, and take the body? Also consider that the head cloth was laid beside the burial cloth. Anyone sneaking into the tomb would be hastily retreating after getting the body. They would not take the time to take the grave clothes off of Yeshua. It was also at night in an unlit tomb. This argument also does not hold water. The disciples were too afraid to do anything.

3.The final possibility is that Yeshua was resurrected. We see that the evidence against the resurrection falls short, but what evidence lends credibility to the resurrection? Let's begin by examining the disciples. These men fled in all directions when Yeshua was arrested, and they did not offer any defense on His behalf. After the resurrection, there was a dramatic change in their lives. These men, who were afraid to be present at Yeshua's burial, now were going into the very city where the crucifixion occurred and were boldly proclaiming His resurrection at their own peril. The crowds were still present and so were the council members that tried Yeshua and soldiers who crucified Him. Why would they suddenly have such a change of heart that they would preach the same Yeshua that they had just denied? Not only did they preach the resurrection, but they also condemned those responsible for His death and called them to repent so they could be forgiven:

"Men of Israel, hear these words: Yeshua of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Yeshua, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:22-24 ESV

To create a legend, one wouldn't go where the eyewitnesses were and exaggerate when the facts were still fresh. Legends are born by carrying the story to a distant land or waiting until the facts have faded. The disciples went to where the iron was still hot. They proclaimed the resurrection before those whom they knew would examine the facts.

There were many eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ. Look at Paul's statement:

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 1 Corinthians 15:6-8 ESV

Paul presented his claim before those that could question him and, in fact, is inviting them to question. He is saying, "Most of these witnesses are still alive and available to examine."

To deny the resurrection of Yeshua is to destroy the entire basis of the Christian faith. The Christian faith is not based primarily on the teachings of Yeshua, the life of Yeshua, the miracles of Yeshua, or the death of Yeshua. The Christian faith is based on all of these, culminating in the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead. If there is no resurrection, our faith is in vain.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14 ESV

The entire Christian faith rests on one historically verifiable point: the bodily resurrection of Yeshua the Christ from the dead.

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