Jump Start # 2952
Matthew 28:13 “and said, ‘You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’”
It was a true mystery. There were police cars gathered at a house. The state police were there. An ambulance was there. A crime lab vehicle was there. The owner was taken out on a stretcher but he wasn’t moving. Bags were removed from the home. The police came out of the house and wiped their feet on the ground. And, at dinner with a group of others, the theories exploded. Was it a meth house? Was it a suicide? Was it a murder suicide? One of the items carried out of the house was a pizza box. Was poison involved? We had this thing going around and around and it was better than any episode of Law and Order. A policeman who is one of our members was told all the details. He thought it was nothing more than a medical emergency. But that was too bland of a answer for us.
And, that leads us to our verse today. Jesus had risen. Angels were present. The stone was rolled away. The soldiers came to the Jewish hierarchy and reported what they knew. The Jews wouldn’t have any part of that. The soldiers were bought off. Large sums of money was given to them. They were told to lie. The disciples came and stole the body while we were sleeping, was the story that they came up with.
And on a much larger scale, this takes us to the concept of theories. The word theory can be just a more civilized way of saying ‘you are guessing,’ or, ‘ you are speculating,’ or, worse, ‘you just made that up.’ And Biblical theories abound such as where did Satan come from? Or, what happened to the Dinosaurs? Where did Cain find a wife? What was Paul’s thorn in the flesh? What was it that Jesus wrote in the dirt? Ideas. Theories. Guesses. Speculation.
Here are some things to remember about theories:
First, a theory is just that, a theory. It’s a possibility without any evidence. There are no facts to support it. Theories can seem reasonable and even logical. Our crime mystery was full of ideas. We even had the grown son returning and knocking off both of his parents. No proof. No reason to believe that. Sounds good and that’s all we had. And, some folks put more faith in theories than they do the word of God. Wild ideas about Heaven and what we will do there. Where do those ideas come from? Someone’s imagination. A dream. But, not from the word of God.
Second, theories must stand the test of examination. This is where the soldier’s story about Jesus’ body unravels. They were paid to say that the disciples came in the night and stole the body. All of this happened while all the soldiers were sleeping. The soldiers were not awakened by the light of torches that the disciples had to have in the middle of the night? The soldiers were not awakened by the sound of the stone being rolled away from the tomb? And, why would the disciples take the time to unwrap and even fold some of the grave wrappings around Jesus? You’d think, take the body and run. Why would they take a naked body? All of those questions needed to be answered.
But more than that, person after person saw Jesus alive. Mary did. The two on the road to Emmaus did. The apostles did. Thomas did. As many as five hundred saw the resurrected Jesus. Now, what’s the answer to all of that? And, why would the disciples be willing to be executed for something that never happened?
A theory must be looked at. For us, it’s putting the theory to the test of the Scriptures. Like the Bereans, it’s a matter of seeing if these things are so. Logic. Common sense. Evidence. Those will either prove the theory or they will discount the theory.
Third, some are so wedded to a theory that even with evidence pointing the other direction, they will not accept that. This is especially true when it comes to the theory of evolution. So many questions, such as how does life come from non-life? How does time and chance work within complex structures of DNA and microbiology, when all systems have to be right at the same time? How is it that there is no evidence for the theories of evolution? How is it that the created world points to order, systems, design and creation? How is it that the fossil world does not support the theories of evolution?
There are so many holes in that boat that it sinks. Yet, the common understanding today is that evolution has been proven, when it hasn’t. The theory is false. Yet, thousands will cling to that without any support or evidence. This is when things move to blind faith that has no support or evidence. A person wants it to be, so in their mind it is. Don’t confuse me with the facts, is where this leads to.
Fourth, Biblical preaching is intellectually driven not emotionally driven. Our faith stands upon the facts of the Scriptures. The apostles preached truths, not theories. They were witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They were there. They gave their lives defending what they saw and heard. Yet, we are to believe, thousands of years later, by those who were not there, that none of this happened and beyond that, they have no proof, evidence or way to convince us otherwise. We preachers must preach the truth of the Bible and leave our speculations at home. We must drive the proven word of God into a world of darkness and doubt. As Paul said, “I know whom I have believed…” He was certain. He was absolute. No fingers crossed. No four leaf clovers saved. No hoping without reason or facts. He knew.
That confidence and assurance builds faith. It fuels our courage. It enables us to stand. God is and we know that.
As for the neighborhood mystery, it’s still a mystery. I expect most of our theories will fall to the wayside once we know what really happened.
And, for us, put your faith in what you know. But your hope upon what is, not what might be or what could be.