Did the Apostles Steal the Body of Jesus?

The gospels say that a miracle man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found mysteriously empty. His body was gone. The gospels never say that anybody saw the body rising or coming out of the tomb. No evidence is given that he wasn’t stolen. The apostles could have taken the body to create the resurrection hoax. The gospels fail to refute the idea that the apostles did this.

The main witnesses to Jesus having returned from the dead were the eleven apostles. It is possible that they all colluded to fabricate a resurrection or some of them did unknown to the rest.

The apostle Peter, who all the gospels say was too scared to say that he was a friend of Jesus’ after Jesus was arrested was said to have been at the tomb after learning that it was empty. This is a lie for if he was frightened he would not have been near the tomb to risk being accused of theft. And it would have been impossible for him to even consider going there if the guards had been or were there. The Gospels say the apostles did not believe the women so Peter was not going to risk his life for something they laughed at.
Luke 24:12 has Peter running to the tomb of Jesus before Magdalene reported a vision of him. Up to then all she saw was the missing body and angels saying Jesus rose. She was with other women. John says she had her vision of Jesus and it was then that Peter went to the tomb. Odd! Why would he go just because the body was missing and not alert the authorities? He could not risk going to a crime scene and being accused of interfering with it. It makes more sense if you believe John that Peter did not do this and went after Magdalene started talking to him and others about Jesus having come back alive.

The preferred answer among believers is that Peter went to the tomb twice! If so then he was not far away and what about how bad it looks if a body goes missing nearby and you cannot stay away from the vicinity?

Is it really credible that Peter would go to a crime scene twice? The authorities had to treat it as a crime period. Going twice guaranteed arrest. He would have been arrested anyway though.

Peter went into the tomb on his own and this must be assumed for the gospel of Luke says so. You have to be careful about things that possibly implicate somebody in crime.
Christians say that what Luke wrote is fine for it does not say that Peter was literally on his own. But why mention Peter alone when there was enough time and space to mention his companions? A story is a bit more likely to be true the more witnesses are named. Peter and John, according to the John gospel, were in the tomb when nobody else was about. At that time, there was nobody saying the body had gone. That was said later. It is very suspicious. 

Luke 1 shows the gospel claimed to be verifying the gospel story. If Luke only knew of Peter then he was lying when he said that he was an expert on Jesus in the prologue. It would be very strange if he did not know all that happened that morning. The most important morning for the Church, for the Church needed to conserve all the evidence it could get its claws into. So Luke is probably saying that there was nobody else there but Peter. If I talk to John and Tom and tell Mary I was talking to Tom I am leaving John out for she does not know him and he is not relevant. But everybody is relevant in regard to Jesus’ tomb and return. When logical errors like assuming that this is not the case are made in the gospels how can they be divinely inspired?

John says that two disciples entered the tomb of Jesus after Magdalene had found the body gone despite the fact that that was a serious crime under Roman law deserving either deportment or execution (Historical Evidence and the Empty Tomb Story – A Reply to William Lane Craig, Jeffrey Jay Lowder) – it would have deserved execution in their case for going near the scene of a crime which was a stolen body in this case. They would just have easily been there before she found the body missing and stolen the body when they were that recklessly brave. They were capable of it. Men who would risk their lives to nosey into a tomb would far more easily steal the body.

Why would one of the gospels lie assuming one of them is lying? John does not want anybody to think Peter was at the tomb alone at the time the body might have been removed and before visions of Jesus were mentioned! He is thinking along our lines! To that you can say that Peter and John being there is suspicious too.  The best answer is that the author of the John gospel wants you to think HE was there with Peter and is writing to clear Peter of any suspicion.  But the gospel is an anonymous forgery so it fails in its plan.
It does not matter what the truth is. It does not matter what was being covered up. Something was. That is enough to make us unconvinced that Jesus really left the tomb alive. His body was taken away by someone.


The gospels themselves show that they strugged with the data for something was being covered up.

It is said that the apostles, Jesus’ closest followers, could not have stolen him out of the grave for they were spineless and except for John did not have the guts to appear at the cross. But they were not spineless for they stood by Jesus in the face of the murderous hatred of the Jews and the Romans for three years. There is no evidence that abandoned Jesus out of wimpiness – not even in the Gospels! You are not a wimp if you believe you cannot jeopardise your safety. If Jesus had magical powers they thought he could look after himself. There is no evidence in the gospels that they would not have perpetrated a pious fraud. They never say they were that honest all the time. Nor is it biblical to state that they were too stricken with grief to nick Jesus’ remains. Grief and guilt could have made them steal him to give him a posthumous moment of glory.
The gospels present the apostles as scared when Jesus began to appear after his death. This includes Peter, James and John which is odd considering they allegedly saw Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus one time before. If this miracle appearance of these two dead men had really happened would they have been so sceptical of the resurrection and fearful?

Christians may say the Jews did not think the apostles or disciples took the body when they had to bribe soldiers to falsely blame them as Matthew records. But the Jews could have asked the soldiers to lie and blame the apostles or disciples and have still thought they did do it. The lie was accusing them without seeing them. The accusation could be evidence that there were eyewitnesses who saw the apostles steal the body. And perhaps the witnesses vanished when it could have led to a trial.

Perhaps the apostles had sound alibis when they were not accused of the theft and arrested. The gospels give us no grounds for thinking that they had for they didn’t say where the apostles were and if they were in all night the day Jesus vanished. They don’t know if they had alibis or not. If they were arrested and cleared we would have been told about it especially in the Matthew gospel. Somebody had to be accused and convicted one way or another if the bribe story is true. But it could have been any disciples for any reason and not the apostles. The gospels don’t mention anybody being found guilty of the theft which makes us suspicious of them. If the Jews had gone to the trouble of making it look like disciples of Jesus stole his body they would have had to frame some of them for it. And we must especially be suspicious of the gospels when they pretend that the resurrection is irrefutable despite the poor evidence they offer.

One might think that if the apostles had stolen Jesus they would have fled the country for they would be put to death if they were rounded up and proven or “proven” guilty. But many did worse and still stayed put. The apostles were afraid to even try to get out of the country for they were in hiding after Jesus died (John 20:19). The hiding would have prevented the apostles from having a reasonable alibi. If they had hid then they would have been in big trouble. But they were not so the hiding may have been invented to explain why they could not have stolen the body.

Val Grieve in Verdict on the Empty Tomb, page 11, says that since all the guards at the tomb could not have been asleep at the one time, the disciples could not have carried Jesus away from the tomb. But the guards who were awake would not have been watching the tomb but watching the sleepers. They did not care about the tomb when they let them sleep. Grieve thinks the apostles had no motive for stealing Jesus. What about remorse and guilt? If they could restore Jesus to favour in the eyes of the people by saying he was miraculously removed from the tomb they would have eased their own guilty agony.

Christians say the apostles did not steal the body of Jesus for they died for their belief that Jesus rose. But theft would not stop a resurrection or a resurrection story. Even if the body showed up it would be concluded as with St Paul that the body is the seed of the resurrection body and so there is no need for the whole body to be raised. And the apostles could have died for lies if they thought the lies would and could improve the world.

Evidence for the apostles being capable of stealing the body is that Jesus clearly told them he would rise though they later pretended they did not understand what he was saying at the time and their devotion unto death for him. And why were Peter and another at the empty tomb when they knew they could get accused of robbing it or of interfering with the scene of a crime? And they were supposed to be in hiding and in fear for their lives!

They must have been able to deny that they were there for they would have if they could have or perhaps it did not matter then when the gospel was written for they were dead.
But when they went to the tomb and risked danger instead of asking the authorities for information it had to be the case that they were doing something more important – robbing the grave. The peeking was only an excuse for their presence at the tomb.

Then the apostles started boasting about supernatural experiences that could not have really happened. God wouldn’t send them apparitions of Jesus for he wouldn’t forgive men who had stolen the body and back up their lies.

The Jewish traditions simply ignore the resurrection and make no attempt to refute it which suggest that it was an entirely visionary experience with no disappearing body and unworthy of focusing on. The official Jewish records and the Talmud never accused the disciples of taking the body though that was supposed to be their chief argument against Christ according to the New Testament. The Talmud concentrates on condemning Jesus but never tries to give any proof that he was a fraud which is important.
When the gospel claims that the theft story was the Jewish apologetic against the resurrection of Christ and the Jews never stressed it at all the gospel is lying. Why? Some would say it was because the story was made up to shut up the witnesses who knew that the body was stolen by the apostles and not to shut up the Jews in general.

The apostles may have stolen the body of Jesus from the tomb.