Also, (3) are we to believe that the Jewish leaders, who had tried for so long to get rid of Jesus, would have paid no attention to his burial? Moreover, (4) Crossan’s suggestion that the soldiers would merely have forgotten the location where they buried the body just a few days before is also preposterous. They should have remembered where they buried anyone. But contrary to Crossan’s contention that Jesus was a “nobody,” the interest occasioned by his preaching, his popularity, his trial, and his death would have insured both their work as well as their memory. After all, might they not be called upon later to evidence the death and burial of this famous insurrectionist?
Another major factor in favor of Jesus’ burial and the empty tomb is that (5) both are actually admitted by the Jewish polemic against the Christian message. The response of the Jewish leaders is not only recorded in Matthew 28:11–15, but we are told by both Justin Martyr^27 and Tertullian^28 that this continued to be the Jewish message at least through the second century. It would be incredible that this would be their report instead of what Crossan thinks is the more likely scenario, if the latter had, indeed, occurred. Why was not this simpler thesis employed?
Of course, some may think that the Jewish report of the empty tomb is simply an invention of the early Christians. But such an assertion is question begging; it merely assumes what has not been proven. Once again, we ask for the evidence for such claims.
Continuing, certain evidences for the empty tomb also argue for a specific burial for Jesus. (6) From a very early date, the pre-Markan passion account points to an empty tomb.^29 And if the story was created later, (7) why would women be cited as the initial witnesses, given the fact that they were not even allowed to give testimony in law courts? Such details argue for the traditional scenario.