It’s Christmas Day and I’m watching The Real Face of Jesus? on H2 (history channel). It’s regarding the Shroud of Turin and whether or not it’s the genuine burial cloth of Jesus.
Well, as usual, they ignored Scripture. Oh, they referred to Scripture, alright, and almost taught the Truth, but they overlooked the verse that mattered and that sets the issue to rest: The shroud is a cleverly created fake. (Sorry, Catholics.) Here’s why:
In the First Century, Jewish burials were done by winding the body in strips of burial cloth. In the “TV recreation” they merely laid the Body on the shroud, folded it over Jesus’ body and tied a few strips of linen around the shrouded Body. But, here’s how Jesus was buried, according to the Apostle John in his book, chapter 19:
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
In effect, His body would have looked like an Egyptian mummy. So, depending on whether the myrrh and aloes were liquid (which hardened) or powdered, Mary and the Apostles would have found either an empty, full-blown “mummy case” or a collapsed (flattened) “mummy case”. (My, personal, picture is of the latter because of the (apparent) immediate response of Mary Magdalene looking into the sepulchre. She could see the Body was gone from a small distance away, so I think it would have been flattened out.) As an aside, if Jesus could pass through His grave clothes, couldn’t He also pass through the walls of the tomb?? So, why was the stone rolled back from the door of the tomb? So Jesus could get out? or so the disciples could see in?
In light of the way John describes that Jesus’ Body was prepared, the shroud–if there was one–would not have had the markings on it that this one does.
“But,” shroud-believers say right about now, “That’s been shown to be real blood, not paint, on the shroud. How could that be faked??”
In the 1300s (or anytime, for that matter), simply by using any freshly-dead body and incurring the hands/feet/side wounds, or by using a freshly crucified criminal’s body. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to do, and it’s something I (who used to be a Catholic, BTW) wouldn’t put past the 14th Century Catholic church to do to assert its authority.
If you’ve been an observer of God’s work in history (and in many places in Scripture), you’ve seen that He rarely leaves empirical proof of His work or existence. If He did, there would be no need for FAITH … by which we are saved. A genuine burial shroud would have that very effect.
So, until someone obtains Jesus’ DNA and matches it to the dried blood on the shroud, I’ll remain an unbeliever in its authenticity.