I realize that this post is a bit behind the times, what with it being Easter related and all, and Easter is now past, but oh well. Back during the Easter week, I listened to a sermon by John MacArthur at www.gty.org from his series called The Murder of Jesus. It was about the Resurrection, and how Matthew seemed to be offering an apologetic for the resurrection using negative testimony. That is to say, rather than quoting everybody who did see the resurrected Christ, Matthew wrote about the Jewish leaders' conspiracy to make it appear that Christ's body had been stolen. It is as if Matthew was saying, "Look, you know Jesus rose from the dead because even His enemies tacitly acknowledged His resurrection by knowingly crafting a lie." The lie that the Jewish leaders concocted was that the disciples stole Jesus' body. That way, their beloved friend won't have looked like an idiot for predicting His resurrection. That, said MacArthur, was the only other explanation that could possibly be believed by anyone. I started thinking about all this, and I had a thought. Dr. MacArthur didn't mention this, it was must me going off on a tangent. Here is my thought:
Over and over again in the Gospels, we read of Jesus making comments about His impending death and resurrection, and we always then read of how His disciples had no idea what He was talking about. By the time you're done reading it all, one fact is firmly implanted into your brain: the disciples were absolutely clueless about Jesus' death and resurrection. His crucifixion came as a complete surprise to them, and it obviously left them very disappointed and disillusioned men. So then I thought this: If the disciples had no idea that Jesus was going to come back to life, it would never have occurred to them to steal Jesus' body! If we can accept the Scriptural testimony that the disciples were completely ignorant of Jesus' return to life, then that blows another hole in the anti-resurrection conspiracy.