The story goes something like this: The apostles stole the body of Jesus to create a myth and keep their fledgling religion going. It's not an impossible idea. People do strange things for strange reasons. However there are a few things that make it unlikely.
The twelve apostles split up.
They didn't stay where they were and build their little religion among people who were around to witness the events that took place. If I were trying to create a religion I'd stick around my co-conspirators and build something up with the materials I had. We'd stick together, building credibility with each person we conned. That way our power base would swell and we would be able to take advantage of our situation. What is the point of creating a religion if you don't get anything out of it?
However, we have twelve men who decide to go their separate ways to spread the teachings of their dead leader. One they clearly couldn't have believed in if they conspired to hide the body to convince people of the resurrection.
These men stayed away from the comfort of their families, away from the security or their jobs, traveling uncertain roads and preaching dangerous words.
Very dangerous words.
Dangerous words that cost each man a heavy price.
- Andrew: Executed
- Bartholomew: Executed
- James: Executed
- James (brother of John): Executed
- Matthew/Levi: Executed
- Simon/Peter: Executed
- Phillip: Executed
- Simon the Zealot: Executed
- Thaddaeus/Judas son of James: Executed
- Thomas: Executed
- Matthias (replaced Judas Iscariot): Executed
- John: Exiled
We are asked to accept that not one of them recanted. Not one changed his story. Each one was willing to die rather than admit that he was lying. Eleven men, each on his own, willing to die for something he knew to be false. I, for one, am not buying it.