Roman Influence on the Birth of Christianity

Roman Soldiers at the Tomb

  • According to scholarly opinion (historians/theologians Albert Roper, Mgr. E. Le Camus, A. T. Robertson, Professor T. J. Thorburn, A. B. Bruce, Arndt, Gingrich, Professor Harold Smith, Lewis and Short noted in Evidence by Josh McDowell) and my own conclusion from the New Testament writings,[1] Roman soldiers stood guard over Jesus’ tomb.

  • Pontius Pilate was directly involved in directing the guards for Jesus’ tomb.

  • Why did the Romans take such a strong interest in what was otherwise the corpse of a Jewish peasant?

  • It’s absurd to think of Roman soldiers expending man-hours to guard the gravesite of an executed Jewish criminal.  Why would any Roman authority be concerned of someone stealing a Jewish corpse?

  • It is easy to understand why the Jewish religious authority would want to guard the tomb

  • Prevent Jesus’ followers from stealing his body, claiming resurrection.

  • Such a theft would perpetuate the disruption and challenge to their religious order.

  • Written documentation clearly indicates the Jewish religious order was very upset with Jesus’ teachings and his “blasphemy”.

  • Under any semblance of normal circumstances the Jewish religious order would have dispensed their own guards to the tomb without the need to bother the Roman governor:

  • Was Jesus’ tomb documented as being on private Roman land? – No.

  • Was Jesus’ tomb on land accessible without Roman permission? – Almost definitely, yes.  It’s hard to imagine otherwise.

  • Could the Jewish religious order, therefore, dispense their own guards to a piece of land that happened to be a tomb? – Most likely, yes.

  • Is there some reason Pontius Pilate would have been concerned that the Jewish court was not motivated to properly guard Jesus’ tomb?  Would he have had such concern in the first place?

  • But for some reason, Pontius Pilate is documented as being directly involved in directing the guards at the tomb.  Why?  This makes little sense, unless Rome had hidden interest(s).


[1] Matthew 27:64-66 28:11-15

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