One of the most prominent theories to explain away the resurrection of Jesus is the claim that the women, who were the first witnesses of the resurrection, actually went to the wrong tomb. This theory would suggest that these women were very unstable and were in deep sorrow. It was early in the morning when they went to the tomb, probably still dark outside. With all of these adverse circumstances going against their accuracy, they simply went to the wrong tomb, an empty tomb which had never been used. When they saw that the tomb was empty, they mistakenly concluded that Jesus had resurrected.
Of all the theories suggesting that Jesus never rose from the dead, this is the only one that I can give any possible credence to at all. Why? Because I have seen something very similar take place. Back when I was a youth pastor, I would direct our summer youth camp. One night I was awakened about 3am when one of our lady counselors named Kelly was knocking on my cabin door in a serious panic. As I answered the door, she yelled, “They’re gone! They’re all gone!” I asked who was gone. She continued, “The girls in my tent! They’re all gone! Their suitcases are gone! Their sleeping bags are gone! They’re all gone!” She then said, “Come, look!”
Kelly took off toward the woods and I followed closely behind wandering what tragedy I was facing. We ran to the tent area and I followed Kelly into the tent. She was right. There were no girls! There were no suitcases! There were no sleeping bags! Everything was gone! I was quickly able to put together what happened. I took Kelly outside of the tent and pointed to another tent. I said, “Kelly, do you see that tent?” She nodded, still in some form of shock. I continued, “Kelly, that tent over there is your tent. This one is not your tent. This is an empty tent that we are not using this week. I think if you go over to that tent you will find your girls all snuggled up and sleeping soundly in their very own sleeping bags with their suitcases stowed neatly under the bunks!”
You see, Kelly had gotten up in the middle of the night to use the restroom which was a little bit of walk from the tent area. She was extremely tired as all of our counselors were by that time in the week. She also was not feeling well. Due to all of these adverse circumstances, Kelly had returned to the tent area and accidentally stepped into a tent that she thought was hers but was actually one that we were not using that week. She had mistakenly concluded that all of her girls had been kidnapped by a band of kidnappers who were also going to hold their sleeping bags and suitcases for ransom as well.
Now, if it could happen to Kelly at summer camp, why couldn’t it happen to Mary and the other women on that early morning so many years ago? Sure it could have. But let’s be reasonable. Just like I had done with Kelly, don’t you think someone would have shown Mary and the other women the right tomb that still had the body of Jesus lying in it? Listen, folks, if the women went to the wrong tomb, then so did the men. In fact, we would have to conclude that the wrong angels ultimately went to the wrong tomb and told the wrong women that the wrong Savior had been wrongly resurrected!