There have been a lot of dumb lies told in this world.
Remember Baghdad Bob? His real name was Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf and he was the Iraqi information minister during the early days of the Iraq war. He became an overnight media sensation and the laughing-stock of the whole world because of his ridiculous lies. On one occasion he was doing a televised interview where you could actually see allied tanks rolling past him in the background. Yet, with a straight face, he stood there and said, “We’ve seen no sign of the enemy.”
But by far the dumbest lie ever told was the one concocted by the Jewish elders after Jesus’s resurrection. They claimed that the disciples stole Jesus’s body out of the tomb. (Matthew 28:11-15)
First of all, if you know anything about the disciples at this point, you know they were terrified. They were afraid that what was happening to Jesus might happen to them. That’s why, according to Matthew 26:56, they fled when Jesus was arrested. Their primary goal at that point was simply to find a good hiding place and lay low. They were certainly not in the frame of mind to try to pull off one of the greatest heists in history.
But even if they had been, just how were they supposed to have done it? Again, Jesus’ body was in a sealed tomb and there were armed guards posted to keep people away. Does it really make sense to believe that the disciples, who had no military training and were terrified to boot, would somehow find the courage and the know-how to mount a military operation and overpower those Roman soldiers?
Ah, but there’s yet another problem with the notion that the disciples stole Jesus’ body: they had no reason to want to steal it. Remember, they weren’t expecting the resurrection. That’s why, later on, when a resurrected Jesus appeared to them, they were terrified and thought he was a ghost. Thomas even said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (John 20:25) Ask yourself this question: what motivation would the disciples have for trying to fake a resurrection that they didn’t even believe was going to happen?
I could go on, but you get the idea. The stupidity of this lie was epic. It would have made Baghdad Bob proud.
But it was the best Jesus’s enemies could do.
Think about that and let it encourage your faith as we approach Resurrection Sunday.