Resurrection & Rolling Stones
We have 4 different accounts of the alleged resurrection. All differences can be attributed to bad memory except one: If a stone was rolled in front of the tomb, the disciples would have known of it. Why didn't they tell the women to either quit preparing embalming spices, or take some men with them to roll the stone away? Even if this problem is ignored, John contradicts Mark and Luke by saying they embalmed the body on Friday.Mark's scenario:
- Friday: Joseph of Arimathea gets Jesus' body from Pilate, and wraps it up.
- 15:46 Joseph puts the body in a tomb. Apparently he had several assistants, because they then roll a stone in front of the tomb.
- 15:47 The 2 Marys see where the body is laid, but apparently leave before the stone rolling, because they don't know about it.
- Either on the Sabbath or early Sunday morning, Jesus resurrects 1 or 2 days sooner than he predicted.
- 16:1-2 At sunrise Sunday morning, the 2 Marys and possibly Salome (it's ambiguous) bring embalming spices to the tomb wrongly expecting easy access to the body.
- 16:3 They arrive at the tomb, and are surprised to see a stone rolled in front of it. They say, "Who shall roll the stone away". If they had already known about the stone, they would not have come without men to roll it away.
- 16:4 But no problem; the stone rolls away.
After Mark's gospel is written, Matthew doesn't like the ending, or the problem of the Marys bringing spices and expecting to be able to get to the body. Also by now he knows of more miracle stories that should have been included.Matthew's scenario:
- 27:60 Starts the same as Mark's. Friday: Joseph wraps the body up, puts it in his own tomb, and rolls a stone in front of the door. The 2 Marys are there. Maybe they see the stone rolled in front of the door, and maybe they don't. In either case, no embalming spices are mentioned.
- 27:62-66 Saturday: The pharisees are smart. They know that when Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up," he was actually talking about raising from the dead. So they go to Pilate to caution him against body-theft. But they know Pilate isn't as smart as a pharisee, so they and tell him Jesus said, "After 3 days I will rise."
- 27:65 Pilate either lends them soldiers or tells them to use their own guards.
- 27:66 The pharisees and guards go to the tomb and seal the stone, whatever that means. Maybe they used mortar.
- 28:1 On Sunday morning, the 2 Marys go to the tomb for an unstated reason, thus resolving the problem. An angel appears and rolls the stone away.
But this fact, more miraculous than anything previous, went unnoticed by anyone in history except Matthew. Luke learns of it, and decides to write his own gospel, leaving that part out. But unfortunately he reintroduces Mark's problem of the women expecting easy access to the body.Luke's scenario:
- 23:50-53 Friday: Joseph gets Jesus' body from Pilate, wraps it up, and puts it in a tomb.
- They don't have time to embalm it because the Sabbath is coming. No stone rolling is mentioned.
- 23:55-6 Women followers of Jesus go home and prepare embalming spices.
- 24:1 On Sunday morning, they bring these spices expecting easy access to the body.
- 24:2 Fortunately the stone is already rolled away when they arrive. This is Luke's first mention of any stone. He is writing to people who already know about a stone.
- 24:10 The women are finally named. They include the 2 Marys, Johanna, and others.
Later, the author of John knows about the problems in the synoptic narrative. So he decides to scrap them all, and write a more logical and theologically correct gospel.John's Scenario
- 19:38 Friday: They embalm the body with spices, wrap it for burial, and put it in a tomb all on Friday. No stone is mentioned.
- 20:1 Early Sunday morning while it is still dark, Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb for an unstated reason. No other women are mentioned.
- John never says how a stone got in front of the tomb, but says it is now taken away.
John's gospel resolves the big problems, by embalming the body on Friday, at the expense of contradicting Mark and Luke. He then creates a lesser problem. If Mary wasn't bringing embalming spices, she could have more easily visited the tomb on the Sabbath. Why did she visit the tomb on Sunday while it is still dark? And in all 4 gospels, Jesus resurrects at least one day sooner than he predicted.There are many skeptical scenarios. Here's one:
- Friday: The body is entombed, and the tomb is left open.
- Sometime on the Sabbath, somebody steals the body.
- On Sunday morning, the 2 Marys bring embalming spices rightly expecting easy access to the body.
- The rest of the story is added later.
Joseph of Arimathea never intended for Jesus' body to remain in his own personal tomb. On Saturday, he has some gentile slaves dig a grave and move the body to it. After all the hooplah over resurrection, he decides to keep his mouth shut. He is not mentioned among the early evangelists.