The resurrection of Jesus has many convincing proofs. One proof is the fact that Jesus’ body went missing. But some think that there are other explanations for the missing body. One theory is that the disciples stole the body.

The theory that the disciples stole the body is not a new theory, it is as old as the Bible. After the resurrection of Jesus, we see an angel open the tomb: ‘There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men’. (Matthew 28:2-4).

These guards eventually leave the tomb and are then instructed to say that the disciples stole the body: ‘…some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.’ (Matthew 28:11-15).

But the story that the disciples stole the body is clearly not possible. Firstly, why would disciples steal a body and then suffer greatly for fabricating the lie that the body which they stole came back to life. People don’t choose to die for what they clearly know to be a lie. They choose to die for the truth. And the truth for the disciples was that the tomb was empty because Jesus came back to life.

Secondly, the lie of the soldiers is clearly fabricated as how does someone who is asleep know what is happening. When I’m asleep I have no idea what is going on around me. These soldiers must have had superhuman powers or are liars.

Thirdly, no Roman guard would admit to the capital crime of sleeping while on guard. Romans took military discipline seriously and executed soldiers for breaking orders. This fits with Matthew mentioning the bribe that had to be paid to the governor to let the soldiers off the hook. Clearly no disciple stole a body.

So do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, or are you clinging to false ideas like ‘The disciples stole the body’?               

Joel Radford