"Is the Resurrection of Jesus for real? I want to believe, help me believe." These are the words that begin an article in the Bible & Life magazine. The priest writing the article says, sorry but there is no answer that one is able to 'grasp' with their hands. He will present some points to ponder on the missing body in the tomb.
Hypothesis #1: The
disciples stole the body and buried it in another place. The
possibility of this happening he says is zero. No one is willing to die
for a lie. The apostles after the Resurrection went around preaching
about the Resurrection and became martyrs.
#2: The enemies of Jesus took the body which also makes no sense. If
that was the case when the apostles went around preaching about the
Resurrection they would have shown the body. His friends or enemies did
not have a chance to move the body because it was no longer in the tomb.
this help to persuade? he asks. There is the shaking of the head, the expected response. Do we want to say it is a metaphor?
There is nothing with which we can compare it to in our world of
experience. If you ask him what is the reason for the belief he responds
that it is the change in the apostles. Men who were dim-witted, slow to
understand and cowards, how in the world did they change into peerless
heroes, afraid of nothing? How was it that those who scattered every
which way at the crucifixion were able to become so firmly united? How
was the brother of Jesus, who thought Jesus was out of his head, become
the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. How was it that Paul and the
early Christians were able to withstand the horrible death incurred at the hands of
the Roman authorities with such peace? Where did that passion and
courage come from? If Jesus had just disappeared and deserted the community
would that early community have continued to exist with the persecution that
they faced? This enormous change in the members is what we call the
of you who are still
nodding your head he wants to introduce you to a person who faced death
with great peace--Stephen. He is a prime example of an Easter person.
The death of Stephen is, besides the death of Jesus, the only one that
shows the death of a just one. They are the same ones who killed our
Lord and before Stephen died he cried out in a loud voice: "Lord, do not
hold this sin against them." Where did this strength and transcendence
seems contradictory in the Scriptures about the Resurrection--the
different retelling of the story--only leads to showing the
trustworthiness of what happened; there was no attempt to harmonize the
different accounts, and the very idea that the women were the first
witnesses (contrary to what the Jewish tradition would
consider a reliable witness) gives credibility to the oral accounts
later written down in our Scripture. The accounts are not about a few
of many which adds a great deal to the way we look upon the
Resurrection. We do not have any incontrovertible proofs of the
Resurrection, but there are good reasons for the reliability of
what is recounted in the Scriptures. This is not easily denied.