(Adapted from my post on August 4, 2012)
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verse 5
Those who have problems with believing the historical firsthand accounts of the resurrection come up with their own theories about the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb. One theory is that the disciples had the corpse dumped with all the animal parts left over from the temple sacrifices–and no one ever noticed.
Look at the extraordinary amount of space the New Testament gives to an account of Jesus disappearing when he was still alive. The previous day, a crowd had followed him around the lake to Tiberias. He had shared a sack lunch no bigger than a Happy Meal with 5,000 men and their families. They were so impressed, they tried to crown him but it was not his time; he went off by himself to pray. Look what happens–or rather, what doesn’t happen:
“The following day, the crowd, who had remained on the other side of the lake, noticed that only the one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not embarked on it with the disciples, but that they had in fact gone off by themselves. Some other small boats from Tiberias had landed quite near the place where they had eaten the food and the Lord had given thanks. When the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor the disciples were there any longer, they themselves got into the boats and went off to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they had found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Master, when did you come here?’”
St. John seems to take up a lot of valuable space in the brief account of Jesus’ life to describe what amounts to a non-event.
But it was a monumental event. After a full day and a miraculous meal, the disciples had sailed back across the lake. The onlookers knew Jesus had not gone with the disciples. They knew he couldn’t have walked around the lake. By this time, his every move and comment was a matter of public observation and discussion. “Who is this man?” “Where did he come from?” “Where did he get this knowledge?”
And now, “Where did he go?”
They couldn’t figure out how he had gone back to Capernaum without their knowing it. They tracked his every step–except the ones leading straight across the lake.
The only explanation that could account for his disappearance, the only one they hadn’t allowed for, was supernatural.
Do you think people stopped wanting to know what happened to him when his disappearance after his death became the biggest scandal of all, because this time they knew for sure where he was–but he wasn’t?
Wouldn’t that be one of the first places they checked? (To be continued)