Of the various objections to the resurrection, this is one of the weakest. But it has been seriously proposed and on occasion it will rear its ugly head. It therefore demands an answer, but I will keep the response short on this one.
According to this argument, since it was the preparation time before the Sabbath, Jesus was buried immediately. Being in such a hurry to keep from any Sabbath violations, Jesus was quickly laid in a tomb and the ‘buriers’ – whoever they were – left in such a hurry that they forgot where they had laid him.
There are some serious flaws in this theory. For one, in order for the objection to hold up, Jesus must have died an ignominious death. If he was just another victim of Roman cruelty and few people cared about his death, it is possible his actual place of burial could have been forgotten. But this goes against all available evidence. Jesus was a highly controversial figure and his body would therefore not be forgotten. And if he had been unknown and nobody cared? Then one would need to explain the explosion of belief afterwards. Not likely.
Next, some might argue that the 1st Century was a different era, meaning that they did not keep up with gravesites the way moderns do. In this view, the ancients were bungle heads who could not be counted on to do anything right. But this is simple chronological snobbery. It is very easy to thumb our noses at foregone societies without ever really getting to know what they were all about. Contrary to this view, past cultures and ancient civilizations were quite sophisticated in many ways. People were not just buried haphazardly. On the contrary, people planned their own burial places and those of their loved ones. Are we to suppose that Jesus’ family, friends, and disciples all forgot where he was laid? This is not a credible argument.
Finally, Jesus’ enemies had a lot invested in getting him arrested and executed. Having his body come up missing – even if by mistake – had the potential to ruin their plans. Jesus’ burial place was not about to be forgotten.