Supporting Evidence #1: The Empty Tomb  
Some Supporting Evidence for the Resurrection

The Empty Tomb

In Jerusalem the fact of the empty tomb was absolutely established, by opponents of the resurrection story as well as its proponents. This is very clear to see by the opponents giving explanations as to why the tomb was empty (“the disciples stole the body”) instead of arguing that it wasn’t empty. 

It's quite significant to me that in the earliest public speech by Peter proclaiming Jesus' resurrection, in Acts2:14-41, there is no mention of the empty tomb to "prove" that Jesus had risen from the dead. The empty tomb was already an infamously-known fact. Despite the Jewish authorities saying the body had been stolen,  it was a great mystery to the people.

J.P. Moreland writes “the absence of explicit mention of the empty tomb in the speeches in Acts is best explained by noting that the fact of the empty tomb was not in dispute and thus it was not at issue. The main debate was over why it was empty, not whether it was empty… No need existed for the early Christian preachers to make a major issue of the empty tomb. It was common knowledge which could be easily verified if such verification was needed.” (Moreland, J.P. Scaling the Secular City, page 163, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987)


Acts 26:22-26

[Paul is speaking] “…But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (NIV)


At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner." (NIV) (emphasis mine)



© 2011 Amy Deardon |