• …the team would need to be super immoral
• …the team would need to be willing to super-risk their life
• …as one works through the potential candidates, they each have additional unique reasons they would not steal the body.1
This is relevant because few men (especially during Passover in Jerusalem) would feel sufficiently motivated in spite of the risks. Few/none would be motivated even if there were no risks!
Few/none who were stealing Jesus's corpse would first remove the graveclothes.1This is relevant because Jesus's graveclothes remained in the tomb.
Merrill Tenney (NT professor at Gordon College (d. 1985)]) explains that “In preparing a body for burial according to Jewish custom, it was usually… bandaged tightly from the armpits to the ankles in strips of linen a foot wide. Aromatic spices, often of a gummy consistency, were placed between the wrappings or folds. They served… as a cement to glue the cloth wrappings into a solid covering…” [The Reality of the Resurrection (Moody, 1963), 117.]The early church father John Chrysostom comments on the difficulty, “Especially when it was myrrh, a drug that adheres so to the body, and cleaves to the clothes, whence it was not easy to take the clothes off the body…” [Homily 90 on Matthew 28; 11-14.] He elsewhere noted that myrrh “…glues linen to the body, not less firmly than lead.”[Homily 85 on St. John]
Few/none who were stealing Jesus's corpse would choose to do it such that it gratuitously amplifies their chances of getting caught. This is relevant because, if Jesus's corpse was stolen, it was done in a way that was overtly1 and gratuitously2 risky.
William Lane Craig: “Given the tumultuous confusion at Jesus' public trial and execution--and during Passover time no less--this sort of derring-do strains credulity.” [In Defense of Miracles, ed. by Geivett & Habermas (1997, IVP), 260.]
By the day after Jesus's corpse was buried, guards had been stationed at the tomb.
But, so what? Couldn't it simply be that…
• …the body was stolen before the guards arrived?1
• …the body was stolen while the guards were sleeping?2
Raymond Brown (NT professor at New York): “[The authorities] would have taken the elementary caution to have the sepulcher checked to see that the body was still there before they sealed it on Saturday. That would have been part of their securing it as they 'know how' (27:65). …they were scarcely so naive as to guard an empty tomb.” [Death of the Messiah (Doubleday, 1994), 1309.]• …more than one day would be needed for the would-be corpse-thieves to covertly do two necessary things: First, to learn the location of Jesus's corpse, which likely required a series of inquiries (and answering why they are asking), followed by the inevitable verifying/scoping-out the area beforehand. Second, to assemble a team of men who are extremely motivated to steal Jesus's corpse (which was required.
Few/none who would steal Jesus's corpse would be able to steal it within 40 hours (“Mission Impossible”).1 This is relevant because Jesus's corpse was gone within 40 hours of its entombment (i.e. by Sunday morning).2
The empty graveclothes were not emptied by human hands. After all,…
• …the grave spices were still tucked in wrappings
• …the clothes looked supernaturally removed
This is relevant because if humans stole the corpse, then they could have only removed the graveclothes manually.
But wait, plausiby…
• …there were no emptied graveclothes in the tomb