Roman and Judean officials are having a hard time Sunday explaining how or why the body of Jesus, the 33-year-old itinerant Galilean preacher crucified Friday for claiming to be God, has disappeared from a sealed tomb guarded by an elite unit of Legion soldiers.
Reports of an empty tomb began circulating throughout Jerusalem shortly after dawn today when two women who said they were hoping to complete the man’s burial preparations told friends the heavy rock that had been rolled in front of the entrance late Friday was removed a distance away and that his body was nowhere to be found.
The two women said they rushed to the nearby home where they and a group of family members and followers of Jesus were staying. When they informed the group of what they’d found, they told HillFaith that two of the men, Peter and John, ran to the tomb and confirmed that Jesus’s body was not in the tomb.
Jerusalem has been rife with rumors throughout the day as news spread of the disappearance of the dead man’s body.
The missing body is especially surprising because Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea, had approved the request of local officials after the crucifixion that a special guard be placed on the tomb.
Although HillFaith could not confirm that the guard unit was a Kustodia, which consisted of 8-12 men heavily experienced in combat and specially trained for highly sensitive security details, the fact the tomb bore a Roman seal strongly suggests that it was.
“Pilate has enough trouble without having to deal with incompetent guards and disappearing ‘messiahs.”
In addition, HillFaith has learned that the soldiers knew they would all be executed if they failed to guard the site properly and the seal was broken, according to Roman military sources.
An official close to Pilate, who asked that his name not be published because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, told HillFaith an intense manhunt has been launched to find the members of the guard, none of whom reported back to the Legion barracks following the morning drama.
“We will find them and when we do they will be executed for failing to guard that tomb. Pilate has enough trouble without having to deal with incompetent guards and disappearing ‘messiahs,'” the exasperated official told HillFaith, making quotation marks with his fingers.
But another official who also asked not to be named told HillFaith that Pilate met Sunday with members of the Sanhedrin, the local governing assembly that answers to the governor and was satisfied with their account of the guards’ performance.
What they told Pilate in that meeting is not known, but afterwards several soldiers claiming to have been members of the tomb guard were heard in local bars saying that, while they were sleeping Jesus’s disciples broke the imperial seal, rolled the stone away and stole the body.
It was not clear at deadline how the soldiers in the bars accounted for the fact that none of the disciples were known to have had military training, or why, after disappearing during their master’s trial and execution, they would think it possible for them to overcome the tomb’s guards.
“Look, everybody agrees the body is gone, but the question you journalists ought to be asking is where are Jesus’ disciples.”
A spokesman for the Sanhedrin said “that’s a totally crazy idea” when asked by HillFaith if the Temple authorities had removed the body for burial elsewhere due to fears Jesus disciples would steal it and then proclaim that he was resurrected, as he had predicted he would months before his death.
“Look, everybody agrees the body is gone, but the question you journalists ought to be asking is where are Jesus’ disciples,” the Sanhedrin spokesman said.
“What if the reason they disappeared Friday wasn’t fear they would be crucified next, rather it was to plan their assault on the tomb, so they could tell everybody their guy was resurrected, just like he said he would be,” he said.
The spokesman conceded to HillFaith that his response was based entirely on speculation and that he had no evidence to support it.
“You got something better,” he asked.
Photo above is from Unsplash.
Friday News Alert: Authorities Execute Man Who Claimed To Be God
Saturday News Alert: Controversy Erupts Amid Claims Man Named Jesus Survived Crucifixion
Today’s News Alert: Officials Scramble To Deal With Reports Of Empty Tomb.
SUGGESTED READING: “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh and Sean McDowell is a classic, concise and enjoyable presentation of the abundant evidence for the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ. For a free copy, provide a name and snail mail address, either in the comments below, or, if you prefer not to publish your address, via the contact link.