The earliest recorded attempt was, of course, that by the chief priests. Matthew records that, after the women had gone to tell the disciples this wondrous news that he was not dead, but was risen, "... behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, 'Tell people,
Another suggestion is that Jesus didn't actually die, but 'merely' swooned on the cross; revived in the tomb; and let Himself out; convincing all of those with whom He met that He had been resurrected. Once again, one does not have to be a criminal lawyer to pick large holes in such a suggestion. It ignores the fact that this Man had undergone, not just crucifixion, but also the sleeplessness, lack of food and water, physical abuse, and flogging of the twelve hours (or thereabouts) prior to that crucifixion. This suggestion expects us to believe that Jesus, in this extremely weak state, could revive; slip out of the grave-clothes in such a way as to leave them undisturbed; move that heavy stone - from inside the tomb, where He would have had to depend on obtaining sufficient 'friction grip' with the palms of His hands - up that incline; carry it a distance from the tomb; get past the guards; acquire some suitable clothing; and appear to His disciples looking as strong as He apparently did! John Stott suggests, concerning this theory: "Such credulity is more incredible than Thomas' unbelief" (Basic Christianity).
Another popular 'explanation' is that the women went to the wrong tomb! Not only would that have been highly unlikely (how many of us would go to the wrong grave, just a few days after the burial of a dear friend?) but, if it had been the case, would not the authorities have quickly produced the Body from the correct tomb, and paraded it around Jerusalem in order to scotch these crazy rumours once-and-for-all?
Yet others suggest that it was the authorities, themselves, who moved the Body in order to ensure that the tomb didn't become some sort of 'pilgrimage site', and a focus for future rebellion. This theory is no more reasonable than the suggestion that the disciples removed the Body. Oh, of course, it immediately gets around the difficulty of getting it past the guards. However, once again, all that the authorities had to do to destroy the testimony of the disciples, was to parade the Body around Jerusalem.
Of course, the whole thing may just be the result of hallucination! All of the alleged post-resurrection appearances were nothing more than wishful thinking translated into visions! One of the problems for those who propound such a theory is that we now know a lot about hallucinations. We know, for example, that only particular kinds of people are subject to hallucination. These are highly-strung, highly imaginative, nervous types. Yet the recorded appearances of the risen Jesus were to a variety of people with differing psychological make-ups. We also know that an hallucination is a very personal experience. You and I may both hallucinate simultaneously. But we will not experience the same hallucination. The pink elephant that you see walking into the room, will be seen by me as a yellow submarine floating on the table-top. If we both see the pink elephant, it will be at different times, and in different places. Yet the risen Jesus appeared to groups of people of varying sizes - and, on one occasion at least, to over five hundred people, simultaneously. (see I Cor.15:6). No modern psychologist would accept that this was all nothing more than hallucination!
There is, in fact, only one explanation that accords fully with all of the known evidence. That explanation is "... that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, ... " (I Cor 15:3-4).
The decision is now yours to make. The evidence speaks for itself. It says very clearly:
"Christ is risen; He is risen indeed!"
Each of us must ask ourselves that question that Pilate put to the crowd: "... what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matt 27:22). Upon our answer to that question depends our eternal destiny!