Could Jesus have rolled away the stone that covered his tomb?   The entrance of a Jewish tomb was quite small, so the stone needed to cover the opening would only be 4-6’ in diameter, and approximately 1’ thick.  How much would such a stone weigh?  Depending on the type of stone used, it could weigh between 1-2 tons (2000-4000 pounds).[1] This is quite heavy, but two men could move it into place (Mt 27:60; Jn 19:38-42).  The more difficult task was removing the stone.

Generally speaking, the rolling stone was set inside a groove in front of the entrance, and secured from falling over by a stone wall that stood in front of tomb opening (the rolling stone was sandwiched between the tomb entrance and stone wall as the pictures below illustrate).  Often, the groove was not level, but slightly sloped.  To close the tomb, the stone would be rolled down the groove at a decline and come to rest in front of the entrance.  To open the tomb, the stone would have to be rolled up the groove at an incline.

Given the structure of such tombs, it would not have been possible for Jesus to simply push the stone over from the inside of the tomb.  He would have to roll the 2000+ pound stone back up the groove without having anything to grip.  Such a feat would not be possible for one healthy man, yet alone a man who had just been beaten to a bloody pulp by the Romans.


[1]It has been difficult finding sources which indicate the average weight of rolling stones.  I have seen figures ranging from 1/3 ton to two tons.  The most detailed information I found was as follows: “Archeological records list rolling stone size as radius 0.7-0.8 m and width 0.3-0.4 m. That produces a volume of about 0.5 cubic meters (pi*r^2 *w). Workable stone such as granite weighs about 2500 kg (5500 lbs) per cubic meter, giving a weight of at least 2750 lbs.”  See http://eutychusnerd.blogspot.com/2009/04/rolling-stone.html.

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