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Discovery Magazine 10/1/2004

The Tomb was Found Empty

As the devoted Jews began preparing for the Day of Pente-cost, they were stunnedby a sudden roar like the sound of a mighty rushing wind. The sound was heard by a multitude, who gathered together before the apostles of Jesus Christ. The apostles preached to them that morning, and the Scriptures declare that the people “were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). About 3,000 souls repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Christ that very day. They left the Jewish law that they had followed their entire lives, and began to follow a NewCovenant. What was it that gripped the hearts of these people? What was so incredibly important that these Jews changed their way of worship?

It was the message of the Gospel. Before the multitude,Peter stood and confessed JesusChrist. He not only remindedthem of Jesus’ ministry and death on the cross, but also preached to them Christ’s resurrection from the dead. He reminded them of King David’s prophecy, which said that the Lord would not stay in the tomb and that His body would not see decay (Psalm 16)—an extremely important fact. In his first letter to the Corinthi-ans, Paul wrote: “If Christ is not risen your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

In Acts 2, Peter proclaimed to the multitude that he had witnessed the resurrected Sav-ior. But to further prove that God had raised Jesus from the dead, Peter gave them the phys-
ical evidence. Peter pointed out that King David, whom the Jews adored, had died, been buried, and was still in histomb hundreds of years later. But Jesus had died, been buried, and His tomb wasfound empty only days later. This was an absolutely stunning fact, because if the Jewish leaders wanted to prove beyond any doubt that Jesus and His disciples were liars and frauds, all they had to dowas show the dead body of Jesus. But they could not. Instead, the Jewish leaders conspired togeth-er and produced a story to tell the people. They bribed the guards with a large amount of money, to tell everyone that Jesus’ disciples had taken His body while they were asleep (read Matthew 28:11-15). Ac-cording to history, a few years following Jesus’ resurrection,the Sanhedrin wrote a letter restating that Jesus’ disciples had taken the body. How-ever, this is an absurd story. For the guards to have known it was the disciples, they would have been awake, but the guards said they had fallen asleep. It’s hard to see things with your eyes shut—unless you are dreaming!

The disciples were scared after Jesus’ crucifixion. The Bi-ble says they gathered together to worship with the doors shut “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). But when they saw Jesus again and knew that His tomb was empty, they gained courage and proclaimed the Gospel, even if it meant endangering their own lives. The empty tomb gave courage to the fearful disciples, and hope to the converted Jews. Today, it gives assurance to Christians that Jesus is coming back.

Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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