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Missionary myths: was a guard placed at the tomb of Jesus? (2)

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The key pillar of Christianity lies with the resurrection of Jesus, as the apostle Paul said, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the Christian faith has all been in vain, meaning it’s been wrong and false all along:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:14)

As such, Christian apologists heavily invest in trying to prove the resurrection of Jesus. For example, they point to the empty tomb of Jesus, arguing that this is concrete proof that Jesus rose from the dead, why then would the tomb be empty if Jesus did not rise from the dead?

To further cement their claim, they argue that Jesus’ body couldn’t have been stolen, because there were guards posted at the tomb site, so if any of Jesus’ followers, or anyone else for that matter, wanted to steal Jesus’ body, it was simply not possible due to the guards at the tomb.

To put it plainly, the guard who was supposedly stationed at the tomb site is a myth. It’s a fabrication solely made up by the Gospel of Matthew, who most likely made the story up to simply try and add more credence to the resurrection story.

Now why do we say Matthew made it up, and not the other Gospel authors? Because the other Gospel writers say nothing about any guard being put at the tomb, out of the 4 Gospels, it’s only the Gospel of Matthew that mentions a guard being placed at the tomb site, at the behest of the Jews who were worried that Jesus’ disciples would steal the body:

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to 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 answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. (Matthew 27:62-66)

The other 3 Gospels mention no such incident, thus it’s quite apparent that Matthew made this up, to try and make the resurrection account seem more plausible, for if there was a guard at the tomb to precisely prevent anybody from stealing the body, then how could Jesus’ body have been stolen right?

Secondly, assuming that this account is true, it still carries problems for the Christian apologists, for if you read carefully, the account says the guard was placed at the tomb site the next day, he wasn’t placed at the tomb site from the very moment Jesus was buried.

So there was a whole window of opportunity for anyone to come and steal the body of Jesus, while the tomb was unguarded until the next day. The point is simple, the tomb was not being guarded at all times, and so the logic of the argument completely falls. After all, if you’re trying to make a strong case against Jesus’ body being stolen due to the presence of a guard, then his absence throws some serious doubt towards that line of thinking, because he wasn’t present at the tomb when the body was placed in there until the next day.

So in conclusion the guard at the tomb is a myth, a fabricated story only found in Matthew, and even if it were true, it would still not make the resurrection account any stronger, for according to Matthew, the guard was posted at the tomb site the next day, giving ample time for anyone to come and steal the body from the unprotected tomb.

 

Addendum

Let’s assume the story is completely true, would it still be impossible for someone to come and steal the body of Jesus even with a guard protecting the tomb? Obviously not, how many times do things get stolen, even while being guarded? Just because there’s a guard at the tomb site doesn’t automatically mean an instant protection of the site that makes it virtually impossible to breach, unless this guard just happened to be Superman or Batman.

Secondly, the guard could’ve been bribed to allow someone or a group of persons, to go in and take the body. The guard didn’t have much of an incentive to protect the tomb, why would he care? The body contained inside was that of a normal man, a criminal by Roman law, so the body going missing isn’t that big of a deal to him, or the Roman state.

So he could’ve been easily swayed by a nice bribe to allow someone to come and take the body, the bribe wouldn’t even have to be that much, as mentioned, it wasn’t like he was guarding something prestigious in his eyes, or the Roman state’s eyes. So the bribe wouldn’t have to be great, the guard would be happy in simply receiving something, to allow for something he has no interest in, to go missing, or in this case, to be stolen.

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