This idea is commonly used on crime shows. The police have to exhume a body for a case they’re working on. The medical examiner warns, “This has been in the ground for ten years. Expect the foulest of foul stenches.” Everyone holds their noses as the casket is opened, only to discover that the body… is gone! Someone, presumably their murderer, has stolen the body.
That’s what was assumed in biblical times as well. When Mary Magdalene discovered that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, she was horrified. “So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him’” (John 20:2). Mary and the disciples assumed, and logically so, that someone had stolen their master’s body. What else could have happened?
But as Peter and John investigated further, something else seemed amiss. Would a body-snatcher have taken Jesus’s body out of the burying cloths before moving it? Would a body-snatcher have folded the face cloth neatly and placed it aside? They didn’t quite understand yet, but they “saw and believed” (verse 8). A body-snatcher had not done this. Something else was going on.
Only once in history has a body disappeared from the grave without someone stealing or moving it. This was that moment – Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! He himself got up and left his tomb. The stone was not rolled away to let him out. It was rolled away to let others see that it was empty! Mary and the disciples could not understand, but he had risen. 2,000 years later, we still cannot understand, but we know the truth: the truth that saves and frees us, the truth that raises us from the dead as well. He is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!
based on John 20:1-10