Review of ‘Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb’
The thinking person will discover that biblical Christianity centres around the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Val Grieve a former lawyer provides a compelling and accessibly written case by presenting the facts and evidence to
enable the genuine enquirer to reach an informed verdict. Tragically some think that they have trie
d ‘Christianity’ though they have reached an immediate and flawed verdict by denying the possibility of miracles prior to examining the evidence itself. Others fail to consider historical accounts, independent reports, and eye- witness evidence since they determine that the only means to consider something to be definite is through a measured repeatable experiment.
Val Grieve approaches this subject as legally trained minds would consider and sift through the evidence in a court case. He commences with three established facts; that Jesus was a historical figure that lived around two thousand years ago, He was crucified and died, and that after His body was buried, the tomb was found to be empty three days later. He demonstrates this through Jewish writers, Pagan accounts, and New Testament authors. He recalls the time gap between Jesus being crucified in the early 30’s and the first gospel being written in the 60’s and the vast number of early copies produced. When compared with other ancient historical works regarding the earliest manuscripts and the number of copies, the Bible is in a class of its own.
Like Josh McDowell, Grieve assesses t
he cases for fraud, swoon, and hallucination before considering the miraculous. He evaluates the motives of the disciples and the consequences of the Roman guard either sleeping on duty or failing their duty. He explains that swoon theory is incredulous considering the beating received before the crucifixion, asphyxiation and being sealed in a tomb for three days afterwards. Medical students recognise the critical significance of the water and blood which came out from His side. That simply meant Jesus had already died. Hallucination on a large scale and from different parties is not a credible explanation. All the Romans needed to do was to produce the body of the Man who claimed to be the Messiah and both that clai
m, and the historical records would have been able to quash that hope by referring to and demonstrating it.
Val Grieve highlights the direct evidence and notes that instead of concocting reports, the disciples needed convincing themselves. Thomas doubted though having met the Lord quickly proclaimed Him as his Lord and his God (John 20:24-29). Since female witnesses were not considered equal to male witnesses in Jewish law at that time it is noticeable that the first person to see the risen Lord was a woman (John 20:14-18). Two of the disciples initially failed to recognise Jesus (Luke 24:28-31). Of course the gospel accounts are not written in exactly the same words since if they were corroboration would be highly likely. Apparent contradictions can be resolved between the accounts if one is willing to consider all the evidence carefully and by searching through the evidence before arriving at the verdict instead of deciding upon a verdict and collecting supporting evidence to substantiate that.
This is not simply an intellectual challenge for the curious since the outcome is of inestimable value. If Jesus died and rose again then one can have their sins forgiven by repenting, trusting in the Lord, and following Him. Some might even be convinced in their minds but not willing to live for God rather than themselves and forfeit eternal life with the Saviour for a lost eternity and separation from God and face the wrath of God rather than His grace.