“He rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
(Mark 15:42-47, Matthew 27:57-61, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42)
Soon as the Son give up his ghost, Joseph from Arimathea, a rich man, offered ter take the body of the Son and bury it. By that point Joseph be a disciple of the Sun, but only in secret ’cause he feared the Jews. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, whar also a disciple but like Joseph he feared the Jews in authority. Besides which, both fellers be members of the Ruling Council so they stood ter lose thar positions of power and prominence if thar faith in the Son be found out.
Also, as members of the Council, they had heard the Son say, ‘After three days I will rise again.‘
Now the writers covering the death of the Son called Joseph a good and upright feller. But think on this a wee little bit: what if he whar not? What if he and Nicodemus whar lying, conniving, scheming rascals?
Both had protested the decision and actions of the Ruling Council. That put them at odds with the other leaders. If word got ’round that the Son had come out of the grave, then folks might turn on the rest of the Council members who had put the Son ter death. Whar that ter happen, why, Joseph and Nicodemus might get plum positions: maybe even be put in charge.
That give ’em motive.
Soon as the Son breathed his last, Joseph went ter Pilate and boldly asked fer the Sun’s body, got permission, and took it down off the cross. Near the place whar the Son whar crucified, thar whar a garden. In that garden Joseph owned a new tomb, one ne’er used, cut inter a rock.
Nicodemus joined him at the empty tomb, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds’ worth, and anointed the Sun’s body. Then the pair wrapped it in a linen shroud and swaddled the body in strips of linen.
With the sun going down, and Shabbat ’bout ter start, the pair placed the body in the tomb and the pair rolled a big stone in front of the entrance. Then they skedaddled. Only what they did not know whar that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, whar sitting opposite the tomb spying on ’em.
The next day the chief priests and the Pharisees went ter Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate replied. “Go! Make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting Pilate’s seal on the stone and posting some guards.
The morning of the third day, the first day of the week, the guards looked and seen the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and thar prize corpse missing.
Right then some of ’em went inter the city and reported ter the chief priests ’bout how the body of Jesus whar gone missing and how angels showed up and how an earthquake rolled back the stone over the tomb entrance. Such a farfetched tale seemed unlikely but with the chief priests’ worst fears come true, they met with the elders and devised a plan ter spread a rumor ’bout how body snatchers stole the Sun.
Ter the guards on duty they said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we whar asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” Ter make sure the guards stuck ter the story, they gave ’em a large sum of money.
So the soldiers took the money and did as they whar instructed. Ter this very day this tale be widely circulated among the Jews.
Only think on this a wee little bit: if the chief priests and the Pharisees wanted ter pass off a lie, it would be a good deal easier ter claim that thar ne’er whar a body in the tomb: that the whole burial ordeal be a farce.
Joseph and Nicodemus went ter the tomb near dusk alone—or so they claimed.
Mary Magdalene, a woman who once had seven demons in her, and Mary the mother of Joses, seen ’em put that body in the tomb—or so they claimed.
Any good barrister could fire so many holes inter thar accounts as ter sink the tale.
Which be easier ter believe?
That some disciples showed up in the dark of night at that tomb, rolled back a large stone that took two fellers to put in place, snuck inside, undressed a dead man, folded his shroud and linen wraps and placed ’em neatly on the slab, hoisted up the body of a man, and marched out without waking up Roman guards who be trained ter, you know, guard stuff?
Or . . .
That two fellers ne’er put a body in that tomb in the first place, but only claimed they did?
That Mary Magdalene and the other Mary hated Rome and the religious fellers so much that they lied ’bout seeing the Sun’s body placed in that tomb?
Or . . .
That Skipper raised his Son on the third day like the Son claimed would happen?
Thar be three ways this tale goes down: body snatchers smarter than Roman guards, pallbearers and witnesses perpetrating a fraud, or the Son rose from the dead and come out of the tomb.
How you come down on this tale ‘ill no doubt determine if yer body stays in the grave or sits up and walks out when the Son calls you by name on the great day of judgment.
Faith . . . Belief . . . Rewards . . .
“Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)