“… He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
— Mark 16:6
What does it take for you to believe something that seems out of the realm of possibility? Most of us need to see some hard evidence before we lend credibility to the incredible. This is also true when people hear of Christ’s resurrection. In fact, many people will develop all sorts of theories before believing that God incarnate rose from the grave.
Have you ever heard of the “Fraud Theory”? This theory asserts that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, but rather, the disciples stole His body from the grave and then proclaimed Him risen. But the Fraud Theory doesn’t mesh with the facts. For example, something happened to the disciples that changed them instantly from cowards to courageous men. The disciples credited this change with seeing the risen Christ, and despite numerous retellings, they never changed their story.
Dr. Principal Hill, a nineteenth-century theologian, put the Fraud Theory to rest when he said:
You must suppose that twelve men of mean birth, of no education . . . formed the noblest scheme which ever entered into the mind of man . . . You must suppose, also, that men guilty of blasphemy and falsehood, united in an attempt the best contrived, and which has in fact proved the most successful for making the world virtuous; that they formed this single enterprise without seeking any advantage to themselves . . . with the certain expectation of scorn and persecution; that although conscious of one another’s villainy, none of them ever thought of providing for his own security by disclosing the fraud, but that amidst sufferings the most grievous to flesh and blood they persevered in their conspiracy to cheat the world into piety, honesty and benevolence. Truly, they who can swallow such suppositions have no title to object to miracles.
How true that is. The Fraud Theory cannot stand against the evidence of the disciples’ passion and steadfastness for the cause of Christ. You and I can rest assured that Christ’s resurrection is no fraud. Christ has risen indeed.