Was Jesus’ Tomb Empty?

by David Black

There are a surprising number of facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection that are accepted by both Christian and non-Christian scholars such as the fact that Jesus died by crucifixion and the fact that Jesus’ disciples claimed to have seen him alive again and were willing to die for this claim. Another element of Jesus’ death and resurrection is that his tomb was found empty. There is strong evidence to suggest that Jesus’ tomb was in fact empty, so much so that, according to scholar Gary Habermas the majority of New Testament scholars, both Christian and non-Christian, accept it as fact.

Why should we believe that Jesus’ tomb was empty?

Jesus was a well-known public figure who suffered a gruesome and very public execution in Jerusalem. Jesus and his followers had powerful enemies in Jerusalem both with the Jewish religious leaders and the Romans. And yet, fifty days after his crucifixion, Jesus disciples began publicly proclaiming his resurrection in Jerusalem. Given their hatred of Jesus and his followers, this would have been an opportune time for the Jewish religious leaders to easily discredit the disciples by producing Jesus’ dead body.

This would have been easy enough. The location and owner of the tomb were known to the religious authorities; indeed, Joseph of Arimathea, in whose tomb Jesus was laid, was a Pharisee himself who followed Jesus and a member of the Jewish religious leadership. Jesus’ enemies knew where he was buried, had every motivation to produce Jesus’ body to stop his disciples and yet they do not, most likely because they cannot…the tomb was empty.

Further evidence of an empty tomb comes, remarkably, from those opposed to Christianity…

Was Jesus’ Tomb Empty?