Body Snatching

Cadavers, used for medical research and teaching, were difficult to obtain in the 19th century. The body snatching practice filled this need. Watching a cemetery for a grave being dug, the body snatcher knew the burial would soon follow. These, so called, “resurrectionists” for hire, would lie in wait until darkness of night covered the extraction of the recently deceased  body. Although some cemeteries hired a guard to make sure no final resting places were desecrated, it was not a guarantee . Disreputable guards accepted bribes to look the other way. The Disciples of Jesus in the New Testament were accused of being body snatchers. Matthew explained what happened after Jesus’ death and burial in chapter 27. The Pharisees and chief priests persuaded Pilate to secure the tomb to prevent the disciples from stealing His body and claiming  resurrection. Pilate ordered a seal put on the stone and a guard  posted. (v.62-66) In spite of the security detail and the  professional sealing job, Jesus walked out of the tomb on day three anyway.  Matthew 28: 2-4 says “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone  and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” Women, who had come to the tomb with anointing spices, were told by the angel in verse 6 “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come see the place where He lay.” The guards who passed out from fright, went to the chief priests and elders to report the missing body. These leaders bribed the guards to tell this story in Matthew 28:13 “ you are to say, His disciples came during the night and stole Him away while we were sleeping.” Paul said the Risen Jesus was seen by at least 500 people. Luke 24: 5 says “ Why do you look for the living among the dead?” There was no need to hire someone to snatch Jesus’ body. The power of the Holy Spirit raised Him on the third Day.