The "Stolen Body" & "Wrong Tomb" Theories
In addition to the first-century cover-up, there are still some disbelievers who deny the truth of Jesus' resurrection. Let us consider two of their favorite arguments today and another two in our next lesson.

Like the chief priests in Jesus' day, some affirm the "Stolen Body" theory. There is a significant difference, however. The chief priests knew this theory was a lie! Some today actually believe that the disciples were able to steal Jesus' body while the guards slept. Is this reasonable? Let us consider the facts: The guards were professionals. They knew if they fell asleep while on watch they could lose their lives (e.g., Acts 12:18,19). Certainly under such strict circumstances it is unreasonable to think that all of the soldiers fell asleep! Even if they did fall asleep, surely one of them would have woke up if someone tried to move the heavy rock away from the tomb's opening (it would have been very noisy)! In addition to these facts, we need to remember that the disciples were depressed and very cowardly at this time. How can we explain that they would suddenly become so brave and daring? They didn't even understand that Jesus was going to be raised! Why would they go to all the trouble to steal the body and fake it? This theory is false.

Others have tried to argue that the religious leaders moved Jesus' body themselves. This idea is completely illogical! Why would they have the tomb guarded and then move the body themselves? If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, surely they would have put a quick stop to the disciples who were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem. It would have been a simple task for the authorities to explain to the people: "Wait! We moved the body. He didn't rise from the grave." And, if that failed, why didn't they explain exactly where Jesus' body lay? If that was insufficient, why didn't they go get the corpse, put it on a cart and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity! Their failure to pursue any of these actions exposes the simple truth that they didn't have the body.

If the disciples didn't have the body and the religious leaders didn't have the body, where was it? Some advocate what is known as the "Wrong Tomb" theory. The basis of this theory is that the women who reported the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. Now, is that possible? Indeed, it is. But, how likely is it that the disciples who went to check up on the women's claim also went to the wrong tomb? Very unlikely, but still possible. However, we can be certain that the Jewish authorities, those men who asked for Roman soldiers to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus' body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards have been mistaken, for they were there! This theory cannot be true because if the resurrection claim was nothing more than a geographical mistake, then the Jewish authorities would have wasted no time in producing the body of Jesus from the proper tomb. If the disciples went to the wrong tomb, then the Jewish religious leaders would've still had the body and they would have quickly quenched this rumor. However, the Jewish authorities didn't do this, which can only mean one thing--Jesus' disciples went to the correct tomb and Jesus' body really was gone! This theory is also false.