Hi Everyone from a cold, windy, and dusty Jerusalem!
Lets talk further about the question raised yesterday concerning the shrouded body dating from the first Century.
First a little background; the area where the tomb was discovered is known as Akeldama – the field of blood, where Judas killed himself after betraying Christ. It is near to where I live.
The tomb is typical from that time era, except that the entrance was plastered over and thus never discovered till our day. Because of the sealing of the entrance, and the fact that the rock from which the tomb was made is not humid like most Jerusalem stone, the body inside was extremely well preserved.
The first fascinating fact is that the body was only (ceremonially) buried once. This means that the body was wrapped in a clothe – a shroud, with spices, as the body would decompose.
What would normally happen is that after time the body would be brought outside, bleached by the sunlight, and then the bones collected and placed in their final resting place – an ossuary (stone box).
This body is an exception, and the reason is that when scientists did DNA samples on the body they found that the man died of tuberculosis and also had lepercy.
Now the issue I contest, is that the Israeli authorities, perhaps to garner media attention, are saying that the Shroud of Turin cannot possibly be from the time of Christ because now we have a pristine example of such a cloth. You may recall that the Shroud of Turin is thought by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
The argument boils down to the weave in the shroud. The newly discovered shroud is a made of a weave of two – as opposed to the much more complex and demanding weave of four that the Shroud of Turin is made up of.
The authorities here have published that this find is conclusive evidence that the Shroud is a hoax. However, there are several things being overlooked – Chief of which is the eyewitness account of the Holy Scriptures.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus where both religious leaders of their day – men of prominence and standing. IT was them who took Jesus' body down from the cross, preparing it for burial and placing the body in Joseph's own tomb.
Nicomdemus was the man who had the classic discussion with Jesus asking “How can a man be born again?” Both men considered the trail and death of Jesus to be a mocery – and thought that Jesus was an exceptional man of God, killed by the jealous leaders of a flawed social system.
They had at their disposal the finest of what Jerusalem offered, and in their last act of endearment for this unjustly treated Rabbi – they did exceptional things – such as the (approximate hundred pounds) of spices – that would have cost dearly… and so perhaps the shroud to wrapped Jesus' torn body in.
So why is it so hard to believe, that the finest available clothe would have been used, as the evidence in the scriptures suggest circumstantially?
I am not necessarily arguing the point of authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. It is more that I just find it hard when there are some who seek to make a name for themselves by tearing down the faith of others – particularly when it centers around our Lord.
Hope this explains things clearly without going into too much detail… lets remember, that in whatever cloth it was – Peter and John found it lying there in the tomb – empty! And the angel said to the women, “Why do you seek the living amongst the dead – He is not here, He is risen!”
Middle East Correspondent