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April 1 : Who Moved the Stone?

Vision Viewpoint Who Moved the Stone?

 The Christian radio program Vision Viewpoint finishes this week’s broadcasts on the topic of the resurrection of Christ, as well as the evidence for it that would allow its case to be made in a court of law. Vision Viewpoint is a ministry of Reformation Hope Church in Hartford, WI.

We are told in the New Testament
that Christ showed Himself alive after His death, in His resurrection, “by many infallible proofs.” (Acts 1:3) The apostle Peter had preached 40 days later at Pentecost, right in Jerusalem. People had come from all over the world to the great festival of Pentecost, and as Peter preached, he said, “He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption [decay]. This Jesus hath God raised, where we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:31)

When the apostle preached at Pentecost, he could have taken anyone in the crowd – tens of thousands hearing the apostles preach the resurrection of Christ – to travel just down the road to see the empty tomb of Christ for himself. There they would have seen what all parties involved admit to. And what was this admission?

Before we answer this question, let’s understand where Dr. Frank Morrison, the great attorney, and former atheist, once came from. Dr. Morrison set out to write a book to show that Christ could never have risen from the dead. Against his own will, he became convinced otherwise – and ended up writing the book, Who Moved the Stone? He became a bleeding, Christian man – finding, by faith, his Savior, Jesus Christ, to be very much alive. But what he had done first was study the evidence, and admit nothing in his evidence for the resurrection of Christ that wouldn’t also stand in a court of law.

What was it that anyone in the crowd could have seen (in fact, we know from Scripture that many already had seen and knew of the resurrection of Christ, and “marveled at these things”)? What was it that they would have seen had they gone down the road to the cemetery?

The enemies of Christ, who put Him to death, admitted the tomb was empty. The church admitted that the tomb was empty. Fact number one for a court of law: all sides admit the tomb was empty.

Furthermore, all sides admitted that the great stone, the two tons of rock, was rolled into place in front of the sepulcher. (Remember, this was a very expensive tomb – the tomb of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea, who had given his tomb for the burial of his Lord.) But then that two ton rock was moved out of the way – and suddenly. Frightened, a trembling Roman guard had fled, the rock was moved, and the Roman seal was broken. Those Roman soldiers were never punished (under penalty of Roman law, they should have been put to death for dereliction of duty; in fact, worse, allowing the imperial seal to be broken when they fled because they trembled at what they saw). It was Christ who had ordered the stone moved suddenly.

Instead of going to their “boss,” Pontius Pilate, as the Roman authority of Judea, they went to the high priest, who told them to tell everyone that the disciples had stolen the body. Fact number two in a court of law: the stone was moved. Dr. Morrison rightly asked, “Who moved the stone?” There was no battle, there were no bodies, there wasn’t even an investigation. If the disciples stole the body, why didn’t the Romans fight to stop it? How could a seal be broken? Why were no Roman soldiers ever punished? Historians agree no one was punished. There had never been a follow-up investigation.

And the third great fact:
who had the body? All the authorities had to do was produce an embalmed body right there in front of the crowds; instead, they took the apostles and they threatened them, and beat them, and charged them, but they never produced an embalmed body to put on display. The fact is, all parties agree: the state authorities had no body to put on display.

Who moved the body? It was a resurrected Lord, who, according to the Scriptures, showed Himself alive, after His crucifixion, “by many infallible proofs.”

Vision Viewpoint is a Christian radio program and ministry of Reformation Hope Church in Hartford, WI.

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