Baseball practice was over and the boys gathered around the team ice chest to grab a bottle of Gatorade before heading for home. Nannygranne, sitting nearby, caught the eye of one of the boys and lifted her platter of homemade cookies, lifting the cloth that covered them. Immediately the boy nudged his buddies and they trotted over like horses to a feed bucket.
“Hey Ms. NG! You brought us cookies?” said Leon as he reached for the three on the top. Nannygranne offered hand wipes with the cookies. Leon plopped down on the grass at her feet. The other boys joined him.
“So, guys,” Nannygranne said, “I’m needing some input. I have a friend who wants me to figure out what else could have happened to Jesus’ body other than being raised from the dead. We’re having a good discussion on Facebook and I need more ideas. You guys got a minute or so to help me?”
Nate, pointing his cookie at her, laughed and said, “You bring cookies, we’ll talk all day, Ms. NG.”
She smiled and said, “Well, I started with the possibility that maybe Jesus wasn’t really dead when they buried Him. Then I did a little research and found out that according to Roman records, there was not one instance where anyone survived a crucifixion. That’s why some folks decided someone must have stolen the body. So, where do we go from there?”
“Maybe somebody did steal Jesus’ body,” suggested Dewayne.
Nate shook his head. “No way, man. There were like a dozen Roman Ninja warriors all around that place. Who could have gotten past them?”
“I thought the Bible said there was just a Roman guard posted,” argued Dewayne.
Nannygranne spoke us. “Well, actually Dewayne, Nate is right. The word ‘guard’ means a more like a ‘squad.’ I was reading where when Peter was in jail in Acts 12:4 that Herod sent four squads of four Roman soldiers to guard just one man. At Jesus’ tomb, they were afraid a bunch of disciples would come and steal Jesus’ body. There were at least four—and probably a bunch more—soldiers.”
Bart spoke up. “But that first night maybe there were no guards. Maybe they didn’t come until the next day.” All eyes turned to him so he stopped and defended himself. “Well, she wants some ideas and my uncle said that’s the way it was.”
Nannygranne nodded. “Well, Bart, I appreciate you bringing that up. What if the tomb was unguarded from dark Friday night until early the next morning? I wonder who would have wanted to steal Jesus’ body,” Nannygranne wanted them to learn to follow the evidence.
Nobody spoke. The breeze rustled the leaves in the tree shading their spot.
Nate reached for another cookie, then ventured, “They said they were afraid the disciples would steal it. They knew where he was.”
“Does anybody see a problem with that?” Nannygranne waited to see if anyone had an idea.
Nate, who obviously had heard something about the topic, said, “Well, if they stole the body, why didn’t somebody—anybody—break when they were tortured for saying he’d been raised from the dead, or when they were asked to rat on their friends or tell where his body was?”
Silence settled on the group.
Nannygranne broke the silence. “Remember that the time we are talking about was the Sabbath for them and the start of a huge holiday. According to their law, if they touched a dead body, they had to go into quarantine and miss the whole holiday. And, Nate, you are right. Just the night before the disciples all ran like roaches when Jesus was arrested. It would be a stretch to think they would take such a risk of being caught less than forty-eight hours later. But after He arose, they were fearless from then on.”1
Dwayne spoke up. “Hey! Maybe the Romans hid his body and lied about the disciples so they could start arresting them all. Maybe that’s why the disciples thought he’d been raised from the dead!” He was proud of his brilliant idea.
“Hmmm. The Romans. What do you guys think? Would hiding Jesus’ body help the cause of the Romans and hurt the Christians?” Nannygranne still wanted them to follow the evidence.
“Well, the Christians sure got in a lot of trouble,” began Leon.
“Yeah, but it also backfired for Rome because Christianity spread like wildfire after that,” Nate murmured as though interrupted from his trail of thought. “But it also got the guards in trouble. They must not have planned to do it because they ran to the Jewish bigwigs to try to keep them from getting executed for failing their mission.”
Then he sat up straighter, guzzled the last of his Gatorade slamming it to the ground, and declared, “Besides, if they had the body, they’d have hauled it up and flopped it down in front of Peter on Pentecost when he was preaching that Jesus arose from the dead. That would have stopped Christianity cold before it even started. Nope, the Romans didn’t do it for sure. That couldn’t have been their plan at all.”
Dwayne suggested, “Would just plain old grave robbers have done it? He was pretty popular. Maybe they thought he had something to steal.” He was still trying to save face since his last idea had been debunked so obviously.
Leon and Nate said, “No!” at the same time. Nate continued, “Thieves are cowards and they wouldn’t take a chance either.”
“Besides,” Nannygranne interrupted, “we’ve forgotten one really big thing.”
The boys turned wondered what could be so big.
“The mummy wrappings with seventy-five pounds of spices and body sheet . . . the shroud . . . and the folded facecloth were all left behind.”
“Riiiiight!” Nate exclaimed. “Nobody—Jews or Romans—would have taken the time to unwrap him before stealing his body!”
Nannygranne gathered the cookie plate and stood to fold her lawn chair, “Well, guys, I’ve kept you long enough. You’ve given me a good start. Do you think you could come up with a few more ideas? There might be some ice-cream sandwiches in it for you at the next practice if you’re interested.”
“Hey, Ms. NG. Feed us, and we’ll come,” Nate said as he finished folding the chair and bagging it for her. “We’re practicing again tomorrow, same time, same place.”
“Good enough for me. I’ll be here. Now I’ve got to go to the store!”
They all went their separate directions.
Nannygranne knew that this conversation might be the most important conversation they could ever have. She hoped even more boys would join them. She’d better get two boxes of the ice-cream sandwiches.
FOR MORE IN-DEPTH STUDY OF PROOFS FOR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING: