Who REALLY killed Kennedy?
Did the moon landings REALLY happen?
Do we REALLY have aliens at Area 51?
Is the Illuminati REALLY running the world economy?
What’s REALLY in McDonald’s secret sauce?
Who is REALLY stealing that one sock out of your laundry?
Some of these are funny, some thought provoking, but all have one thing in common – the idea that someone is covering something up. Using that criterion I want to talk about a very old conspiracy indeed!
Something happened that was inexplicable. You could easily say it was a miracle. But, the men involved reacted with an immediate cover-up. These men were professionals. They didn’t believe in miracles. There had to be another explanation. The one thing they knew for sure was that they were in big trouble. One of them was going to have be like Dr. Frankenstein and go to the authorities and shout, “IT IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!”
The “It” was a dead body, pronounced dead by an expert of close combat who had observed the reality of death many times over. John 19:33 records that one of the Roman soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs and hasten death, but saw that the Lord was already dead. This expert in killing knew what death looked like but still made sure with a quick spear thrust into the side. The soldiers at the cross knew Jesus was absolutely DEAD!
Matthew 27:62-66 gives us a historical account that the authorities were worried that someone would try to steal the body. So a contingent of 4 to 10 Roman soldiers was placed on guard at the tomb. And these guys were seriously on guard. Polybius VI. 37-38 gives a famous discourse on Roman guard discipline. It states that the punishment for a Roman soldier quitting his post was death.
But in the morning, “It” was gone… just gone! These soldiers knew they were in trouble. So the one voted to be Dr. Frankenstein went to the authorities and gave them the news. AND THE CONSPIRACY WAS BORN.
… some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day. Matthew 28:11–15
Like many conspiracies this one doesn’t bear close scrutiny. Let me get this straight… A group of fishermen and a tax collector, who ran in fear earlier that night, came back and overpowered a squad of well trained and fully equipped Roman soldiers who knew their lives were at stake if they gave up their charge. Yet with no alarm raised, no dead or wounded Jesus-followers, and no harm done to any of the guard, this untrained group of guys won a pitched battle, moved a huge grave stone with a Roman seal on it, and got away clean. That’s almost as miraculous as the resurrection.
Yet the conspiracy stood and remains, as it says in verse 15, “to this day.”
The big problem when we consider this conspiracy is… there is no evidence. There was no body of the crucified Jesus. There were no wounded or dead apostles (the supposed body stealers). There were no wounded or dead guards. And, the grave was undeniably empty. All the authorities had to do to squash these upstart Christians who were constantly talking about the miraculous and wondrous resurrection of their Lord and Savior was to produce the body and drag it through the streets of Jerusalem. But they couldn’t.
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:12–14
The only true statement in the entire conspiracy was the original comment of the Roman guard, “JESUS IS ALIVE!!!!!”
Think about it…and Happy Easter – He is risen, He is alive indeed!!!!!