WHY TIME with NannyGranne

Is the Bible All Messed Up? (contd)

Nannygranne said, “Well, Eli, after a couple of hundred years, some people started to wonder if the Bible was just a made-up story.  The only copy of the Old Testament available to them was written 850 years after Jesus was born.  They called it the Masoretic Text.  So they decided the Old Testament was made up by New Testament writers to try to make Jesus look more important.”

Eli leaned forward, anxious to know what she would say next. “What happened?”

“God showed up, Eli.” That’s what Nannygranne had whispered.  “God showed up.”

That was the end of the conversation after Bible class that morning. It was to be continued at tonight’s “social-distancing ice cream social.”

Parked outside the church building was an ice cream truck filled with treats for young and old.  Families sat, spaced apart from other families, but enjoying being together in the evening breeze.  Masks were impossible while eating but were close at hand before and after.

After Eli made his choice at the truck, Nannygranne motioned for him to come to join her in the shade of the building. Eli plopped down on the grass a short distance from his teacher.

Nannygranne smiled and asked “What kind did you get, Eli?”

“I got a blue coconut push-up.” He held up his treat for her examination.

“Looks pretty, too.” Then: “Let’s see.  Where were we in our talk this morning?”

Eli paused from licking his dessert.  “Hmmm, something about God showing up.”

“Right.  We were talking about how people were beginning to say that Christians wrote the Old Testament books after the New Testament.  They’d decided that the stories were made up to make it look like Jesus was a savior.  The oldest copies of the Old Testament they had were hundreds of years newer than the New Testament.

“More and more people had started not wanting God to be in charge.  One man wrote a book that said God didn’t make people, that other creatures gradually turned into humans.1  Another wrote a book that said only the strongest and best humans should be in charge.Still another man wrote that God is dead.3

“Dead?! Why would anyone say God was dead?”

“As I told you, more and more people did not want God to be in charge of their lives.   But something happened in 1946 that forced people to admit that the Old Testament was much older than the New Testament!”

“What happened.”  Eli, almost out of ice cream, was starting to get into the topic.

“A young teenage shepherd boy was leading his goats around, looking for grass in the desert by the Dead Sea in Israel. That area has many, many caves, and one of his goats was lost.  He was throwing rocks into the caves to scare the goat out.  One rock he threw broke something in a cave.  ‘What could THAT be?’ he thought.  He went inside and found some big vases full of scrolls made of leather.  He took some of the leather, thinking it would make a good pair of sandals. He stuck it in his backpack and went on to find his goat.”

“They had backpacks?”

“Well, not like yours, but a bag he hung on his shoulder to carry his lunch and water, medicine for his goats, and stuff like that. Anyway, later a shoemaker came by the boy’s village and when he saw the leather, he saw writing on it.  When he asked a friend, who knew about that kind of writing, the friend said, ‘WOW!  This thing is ancient!  Where did it come from?’

“So the boy took them back and they found thousands and thousands of those scrolls.  It was a vast hidden library!  In fact, I got to go and see that very cave this year, and got to see some of those ancient scrolls when I visited Israel!  It turns out that there were at least twelve caves with scrolls in them and over 50,000 pieces of writing.4

“Were Bibles there, too?”

“Well, they were scrolls and not bound books—but about 800 copies of the Old Testament books, some of them, in 1949, were 2200 years old.   And do you know the best part?”

Eyes widening, Eli said, “What?”

“Those old copies they found said almost exactly what the copies they already had said.  And those copies were made 1250 years apart! 5

“Wow!”

“I know!  So we do NOT have to worry about whether our Bible says what God’s workers wrote in the first place.  The Bibles we have now are translated from those old, old copies and are very accurate.  God knew we would need those copies someday.  And just when we needed them, there they were.  How does that make you feel?”

“Much better!  You said you have something to give my brother?”

“I sure do.”  She reached into her purse and pulled out three copies of a Biblical History chart.  “Here’s one for you, your brother, and even your parents.  I hope they like them as much as I do.”

“Thanks, Nannygranne!”

Taking the papers, Eli turned and ran to his parents.  When he gave them the pages, they looked them over, then waved and smiled gratefully.

Nannygranne took a deep breath of the summer air, donned her mask again, and rose to leave.  She missed hugs but thought gratefully that the Word of God never returns empty.  And God, in His providence, always gives us just what we need at precisely the right time.  He always has, and always will.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin, 1859

2 Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler, 1925

3 The Gay Science, Frederick Nietzsche, 1882

4 Dead Sea Scrolls,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

5 Manuscript Accuracy, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=444

 

 

Is the Bible All Messed Up?

The third-grade students were trickling in.  It was Sunday morning, and most were chatting with each other as Nannygranne welcomed them to class.  All except one student.  Eli’s expression was unusually cloudy.  Nannygranne wondered what was bothering him.

Class progressed pleasantly.  The kids enthusiastically dramatized Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  But Eli remained subdued.  Then the bell rang, and her little brood stormed out the door.

“Eli,” she called.  “Could you help me straighten the chairs and put the supplies away?” Nannygranne hoped he would want to talk about what was on his mind.

“Sure, Nannygranne.”  Eli began gathering the Bibles to return to their shelf. Then he stopped.  He held the last one in his hand, looking at it as if for the first time, then slowly placed it with the others with an air of resignation.

“Is there something wrong with that one?” Nannygranne asked.

“I don’t guess there is,” he answered.

“Eli, I’m missing your smile this morning. Has something sad happened?”

“Well, kind of,” Eli began.  “My brother got in trouble this morning, and he got mad and wouldn’t come to church with us.”

“Oh.  That could make a person feel worried, I know.”  She handed him the eraser and pointed to the chalkboard.

With his hands busy and his back turned, Eli continued almost as if to himself.  “I don’t understand why my brother said it.  He said he didn’t want to come to Bible class anymore because he found out that the Bible is all messed up, and people have changed a lot of it.  My dad yelled at him, and my mom even started to cry.”  He stopped then, waiting, wondering whether he’d said too much.  Then, mournfully, he continued.  “He’s different since he went to college.  I miss how he used to be.”

Eli laid down his eraser but kept his back to Nannygranne.  She could see his lip trembling and knew he didn’t want her to see him cry.  His heart was obviously broken.

Nannygranne stepped over to Eli, placing her hand on his shoulder.  “Eli, I think your brother has heard someone’s opinion.  And I think that someone hasn’t done his homework about the Bible.  I have something I’d like to give your brother before he goes back to school.  It might help him do his own homework on the Bible.  Then he doesn’t just have to take a stranger’s word for it.”

“What if he doesn’t want to do any homework?”  Eli sounded doubtful.

“Well, at least he’ll have my paper in case he decides just to look it over.”

“OK.  But is the Bible really messed up, Nannygranne?”  His eyes, still moist, begged his teacher to reassure him that everyone he knew and loved wasn’t wrong about the Bible.

Turning to the chalkboard, Nannygranne said, “Let me show you where our Bible came from and how I know that it says just what God had His workers write.”

She began to draw a chart, speaking as she wrote. “Fifteen hundred years before Jesus was born, Moses started writing Genesis.  Over the next thousand years, 31 others wrote the words God gave them.  They mostly used the Hebrew Language.  Then about 200 years before Jesus was born, seventy-two scholars translated the old Hebrew into Koine Greek.  That’s the Bible Jesus used and quoted.  They called it the Septuagint.”

“What’s a scholar,” Eli interrupted.

“These scholars were men who had studied the ancient Hebrew language for years and years, and that’s all they did.  They studied.  Then they put the Hebrew words into Greek so ordinary people could read it.”

“Oh.  Wow.”  Eli’s expression told Nannygranne that studying for years and years sounded a little foreign to what he’d ever seen.

She continued, “After Jesus died and rose again, His followers wrote His story (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the story of the first Christians (Acts) and letters to each other (Romans through Jude). When he got old,  John wrote about Jesus, our hero, and about Heaven in the book of Revelation.  All of the New Testament took about 100 years to finish.  They all used the Greek language.

Then the Christians began to make copies to pass around—thousands of copies.  Actually, we have over 25,000 of those copies in universities and museums all over the world.”

“We do?  Really?” Eli, surprised, was becoming excited.

“We do.  Really.” Nannygranne continued.  “Then, about 250 years after that, another scholar took those Hebrew words and Greek words and changed them into Latin because everybody he knew spoke Latin then.”

“So that’s two times people changed the Bible,” Eli said.

“Actually, they didn’t change the meaning at all.  The scholars just changed the language.   They were so careful that if they made one little tiny mistake, they threw away that page and got a whole new page.  In fact, Jerome lived in a cave and worked for 22 years, and that’s all he did.”

At that, Eli sat down, slapped his forehead, and repeated, “Twenty-two years!”

Laughing, Nannygranne told him, “And it was worth it.  That translation was the only Bible most people used for another thousand years!  Then other people got the idea of turning his Latin version into their own languages.”

“So is that when the Bible got messed up?” Eli was determined to find out what happened.

“Well, some people weren’t as careful as Jerome.  But there is more.”  She sat down next to Eli then.  “After a few hundred years, people stopped speaking Latin, and only the Catholic leaders understood it.  But they didn’t want people to read the Bible because they wanted to be the ones to tell them what it said.  I guess they were afraid somebody might disagree with them.”

“Well, that’s no good.  God wants us all to understand the Bible.”

“You are so right, Eli.  In 1525, there was one man who decided it was time for an English Bible.  His name was William Tyndale.  He and his friends were scholars, too, and they’d studied the old languages of Hebrew and Greek, so they did a good job.  But the Catholic leaders were furious that he hadn’t asked their permission.  So they choked him to death and then burned his body.”

“That’s crazy!”  Eli gasped.

“I know.  But would you believe that just 76 years later,  the King of England, King James, hired 47 scholars to make an English Bible, and they used a lot of Tyndale’s work, along with the Hebrew and Greek and even the Latin version Jerome had made over 1000 years before?  It’s called the King James Version.  And that was the favorite version for the next 350 years.”

Nannygranne waited to see if Eli was keeping up.

“OK.  That was a bunch of people.  They might have messed up the Bible.”  Eli was keeping up.

“Well, Eli, after a couple of hundred years, people did start to wonder if the Bible was just a made-up story.  The only copy of the Old Testament they had was written 350 years after Jesus was born.    So they were saying that the Old Testament was made up by the New Testament people just to make Jesus look more important.”

“What happened?”

“God showed up, Eli,” Nannygranne whispered.  “God showed up.”  Then she stood, took him by the hand, and said, “We’d better go on over for worship.  We’re late already.  But I’ll see you tonight at the ice cream social after church.  We can finish our story then.”

Eli took her hand and left with her, stopping to close the classroom door behind them.  “I like ice cream.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a Chart of the History of the English Bible go to https://www.gentles.info/BibleHistory/Index_History.html

What Really Happened to Jesus’ Body Pt 3

Baseball practice was over.  Nannygranne’s new friends gathered around to enjoy a snack of pizza bites and cookies.  The boys’ practice sessions had evolved into snacks and conversations.  The boys appreciated being heard and encouraged to admit their curiosity about Jesus.  And it helped that their questions were taken seriously.  Unafraid,  they’d pulled out all the stops.

“Mrs. NG, these are good!  Thanks for doing this for us,” Nate said. He had been the first to allow an older lady to chime in on an overheard conversation about God’s existence.  Since then, their conversations had become a discussion about the physical resurrection of Jesus.  The boys focused on objections they’d heard that piqued their curiosity.

“OK, guys.  Your thoughts challenged me and I’ve done some checking and thinking.  Would you like to hear what I found out?”

Nate spoke up. “You mean about the aliens taking Jesus out of his grave?  The same ones that came and helped the Egyptians build the pyramids and stuff?” That had been Nate’s idea from last week.

“Yes.  Exactly,” Nannygranne said.  “The first question I had to ask myself was whether an alien abduction idea is more reasonable than the Jesus’ physical resurrection idea.”

“Well, both are pretty hard to believe,” offered Bart.

“And that’s the reason I wanted to sit down and think each one through,” Nannygranne responded.  “I looked for scientifically and historically acceptable evidence for aliens.”  She paused, tilting her head thoughtfully.  “I found articles and even History channel videos that talk about aliens.  But none of them were substantiated by numerous scholars, historians, and scientists. Alien abduction remains a fringe hypothesis without serious support.”1

Bart wasn’t going to go easy on the issue. “But what about Jesus’ resurrection?  What scientists or historians support that?” He was demanding reasons for changing his mind, explanations for going contrary to what his parents had said about religion.

Nannygranne was encouraged by Bart’s curiosity, knowing that if he was interested in facts and truth, he would be open to her explanations.  If convinced, he would be just as ardent about that belief as he was trying to be for his present beliefs.  She considered his skepticism a good thing.

She replied, “Actually, the majority of even agnostics or skeptical historians and scientists accept the ancient accounts about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and what His followers believed.  Even those who do not accept the New Testament as supernatural, accept the writings as historically accurate and unimpeachable.  Scholars, scientists, and philosophers from such institutions as Cambridge and Duke University agree that the recording of events in the New Testament started within six months of Jesus’ death and that those closest to Him were convinced that Jesus was raised from the grave.”

“Why then don’t they believe in the miracles?” Bart was following her thoughts.

“Well, those same academics say that the followers were either hallucinating or were lying.”  Nannygranne let that sink in to see if anyone remembered earlier conversations about that particular viewpoint.2

Dewayne spoke up. “Wait a minute. I remember something about this.  How could five hundred people hallucinate all at once, and other people hallucinate at other places and times?  How could people who were scattered all over be hallucinating for forty days?  That doesn’t make sense.”

Leon got in on the discussion. He ducked his head and said, “And I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve lied a time or two . . .”

The boys laughed and punched his arm. One said, “Yeah, like you told the coach you didn’t eat junk food!”

Leon grinned and continued, “But seriously, I might exaggerate but I can’t imagine dying like those Christian martyrs did—beheaded, crucified, fed to the lions.”  Shaking his head, he muttered, “No way, man.  No way would I die like that for a lie.”

Nannygranne nodded. “And thousands of people did exactly that, Leon.  They died rather than deny what they’d seen with their own eyes.”

Bart looked confused. “Then why don’t those scientists just believe, then.  I don’t get it.”

“Bart, sometimes people don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to admit they could be wrong in the way they live and think.  It’s extremely rare for anyone to be true to what they know to be facts if it involves admitting they might have been wrong before. More than one atheist has stated that even if Christianity was found to be absolutely, unquestionably true, they still didn’t want to be a Christian.  It is too limiting.”

She spoke gently.  “My personal opinion is that if they would be honest enough to investigate Jesus’ history and teachings critically, they might feel very differently.  Others have been honest enough to do that and found themselves surprised:  Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Nazis, Communists.  But it requires an honest and critical investigation.  Some just aren’t up to it.”3

Silence fell over the group.  Nannygranne knew the point she’d made was heavy, but it was important.  Who would be honest in considering God?

“Uh, Ms. NG . . .” Adrian spoke hesitantly, but he didn’t want Nannygranne to forget his comment from the week before. “. . . what about that Greek gods thing?  You know, the myth that said some of the gods rose from the dead and that the story of Jesus was a spin-off of that?”

“Oh, Adrian!  I almost forgot!  Yes!  I checked on that, too.  It turns out that the stories of the Greek gods coming back to life were something different.  They were made into another god or creature or moved to another realm.  Some died again.  None of the stories said they rose from the dead, lived and moved in the same realm as before their death.  Only Jesus did that.  Further, the oldest written documents about the Greek gods we have were written 1000 years after Jesus lived.4  So maybe they copied Him.   I’m glad you reminded me.  It was interesting reading.”

Nannygranne waited to see Adrian’s response.  He simply nodded, his lips pursed, his eyebrows raised in surprise.5

“Well, what do you think, guys?  I’ve certainly got plenty of material for my project.  In fact, thanks to you guys and your input, I’m more and more convinced that what I believe about Jesus’ resurrection is really true.  So, I’m just going to keep learning more and more.  At my age, I try to be sure.”

Leon grinned. “Aw you’re not old, Mrs. NG. You’re just a teenager stuck in a well used birthday suit!”

The boys engulfed him with head slaps, back slaps, head scrubs, and name-calling.  Tapping on the top of his head, someone said, “Hello?  Is anybody in there?”

Nannygranne smiled. “Come on, guys. Leon was trying to be nice.  And he’s got a point.  The tread on my tires is growing thin, but there’s still plenty of compression in my engine.”

The boys cheered and did a round of high fives.

“Guys, seriously, thank you again for your time.  I appreciate getting to do this.”

Adrian spoke up. “You’re all right, Ms. NG.”

Nate smiled and nodded. “Yeah, Ms. NG.  You’re all right.”  He joined his buddies heading for the parking lot.

“God bless you. Go with God,” Nannygranne whispered prayerfully.

She gathered her tote and chair and walked to her car, humming, “I Serve a Risen Savior, He’s everything to me . . .”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1 Dr. Layne Craig addresses the question of Jesus’ abduction by aliens:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW97epVeN7Y

2 Regarding scholarly views of the Resurrection, Habbermass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M

Muslim convert to Christianity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKSuGHXUY_0

4 http://homermultitext.blogspot.com/2010/07/homeric-papyri-and-homer-multitext.html#:~:text=The%20Homeric%20papyri%20are%2C%20with,A%20(Marcianus%20Graecus%20454).

5 Jesus’s resurrection like the Greek god myths?:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrCYVk6xrXg

What Really Happened to Jesus’ Body? cont’d

The afternoon sun lowered as the game came to an end.  Several of the boys headed for Nannygranne, who opened her ice chest brimming with ice cream sandwiches.

“Hey!  Guys!  She’s got enough for everybody,” Leon shouted.  A few others came over to grab a couple.

“Thanks, Ms. NG!  You’re the best!”  Nate said as he and his buddies plopped down in the shade to enjoy theirs.

Nannygranne picked up where they’d left off the week before.  “Okay, boys.  The ice cream’s cheap, but not free.  What do you have for me?”

The new boys froze in their tracks, unsure of what she was wanting.

Dewayne said, “Leon had some ideas.  Go ahead, Leon.  Tell her what we talked about.”

Popping the last piece of his sandwich in his mouth, Leon wiped his hands on his shirt and leaned forward.  “Well, Ms. NG,  We were wondering if maybe he had a twin or something.  When he first talked to Mary Magdalene, she didn’t recognize him.  And those people he talked to on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize him.  I Googled it, and some people say he had a twin or a look-alike, and that’s who everybody saw.”

“Who had a twin?”  Adrian, one of the newcomers, was wondering what this had to do with ice cream sandwiches.

“Hey, half-ear!  Ms. NG is doing an article on what could have happened to Jesus’ body if he didn’t rise from the dead.  Sit here, Adrian.”  Nate waved him to sit down with them and handed him another sandwich.

Nannygranne smiled and said, “Adrian, I’m glad you joined us.  Yes, the boys are doing some brainstorming with me about other possible explanations of what happened to Jesus’ body since history says He lived and died, was buried, and His body disappeared.”

Looking around, she added, “And, all of you, help yourself to the ice cream as long as it lasts.”  Returning to the subject at hand, she asked, “So, how would you respond to the idea of Jesus having a twin or a look-alike.  Does that answer our question?”

Dewayne shook his head. “Mmmm, no way.”

“How so?” Nannygranne encouraged.

“Well,  something still had to be done with his body, and nobody ever found it.  And somebody went to a lot of trouble unwrapping it and all.  There were still all those soldiers to get around.  Also,  his disciples knew him pretty well—really well, actually—and they all died, sure it was Jesus …”  Dewayne’s voice trailed off as if searching for more.

Bart, usually quiet, ventured, “And what happened to the twin if that was who it was?  He just disappeared?  Wouldn’t he be recognized in other places, too?  Besides, a twin or look-alike could never have fooled his mother and brothers, for sure.” He was obviously now captivated by this conversation. 1

Quiet fell over the group.  Finally Leon spoke up.  “So, Ms. NG.  Was that enough for free ice-cream sandwiches?”

Laughing, she answered, “You guys are doing great.  But surely there are more ideas.  Did anyone else hear, read, or think of any other options?”

Leon nodded. “Ms. NG, I saw a video on Youtube that said the same aliens that came and helped the Egyptians build the pyramids came and raised Jesus from the dead!”  Nate good-naturedly slapped the back of Leon’s head while the other boys needled him.

Adrian spoke up.  “Well, in our English Lit class, we read about the Greek gods, and the book said that the story of Jesus was the Jewish version of another god.  Some of the Greek gods rose from the dead, and they said that the idea of Jesus’ resurrection came from that.  I don’t know.  That’s just what we read in class.”  3

Nannygranne smiled and thanked Adrian for his input, sensing he wasn’t sure if he’d offended her.  “That’s an interesting observation, Adrian.  Thank you for that, and I hope you’ll join us next time so we can discuss it further.  You’ve inspired me to research that issue myself.”

Bart stood, tossed his wrapper in the trash bag, and announced, “Well, my dad says there’s no such thing as miracles, and the resurrection would be a miracle. So unless miracles are real, the resurrection can’t be real.”

Bart’s words indicated to Nannygranne he’d grown uncomfortable with the discussion.  She nodded thoughtfully,  “Bart, you’ve been open and honest, and I appreciate an honest thinker.  Will you come next time so we can honestly discuss your thought, too?  It would be a good addition to my article.”

Bart didn’t say anything for a moment . Then a little grin appeared on his face. “So what’s on the menu?”

Everybody laughed as they got to their feet.

“I’ve got a new recipe for pizza bites,” Nannygranne said. “Anyone here like pizza?”

“Works for me,” Leon said, grabbing his duffle bag.

“Same here.”

“See you next practice.”

As the young men made their way to cars, Nannygranne prayed for wisdom and love worthy of this time they were giving her.  There was an unseen war going on here, and these young minds had no idea they were in the thick of it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More on the twin theory:  https://tentmakingchristianity.com/does-the-twin-theory-explain-the-resurrection/

2 Dr. Layne Craig addresses the question of Jesus’ abduction by aliens:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW97epVeN7Y

3  Jesus’s resurrection like the Greek god myths:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrCYVk6xrXg

4   No miracles. No resurrection. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/videos/short-videos/is-it-possible-to-evaluate-the-resurrection-without-believing-in-god-or-mir/

” For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” Eph 6:12

“What happened to Jesus’ body?”

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.

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1 https://sntjohnny.com/front/how-many-guards-at-the-tomb-of-jesus/485.html

FOR MORE IN-DEPTH STUDY OF PROOFS FOR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING:

https://youtu.be/tLgC6rKAvI8     and also  https://coldcasechristianity.com/

https://www.bethinking.org/apologetics/who-is-william-lane-craig

https://www.josh.org/jesus-resurrection-importance/?mwm_id=241874010218&mot=J79GNF&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2Y37wv7X6gIVCb7ACh1ijgGSEAMYAiAAEgKWlfD_BwE