Christians know Jesus died on a cross, His death was atonement for all our sins, and He was resurrected on the third day. This is factually accepted as a matter of faith. Ephesians 2:8 begins, “For by grace are ye saved through faith.”
But the critical skeptic cries out for proof. There s an organized form of criticism known as higher criticism. Wikipedia does not say, “The resurrection of Jesus was His miraculous return to life on the Sunday following the Friday on which he was executed by crucifixion” Wikipedia says, “The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian belief that Jesus Christ miraculously returned to life on the Sunday following the Friday on which he was executed by crucifixion. It is the central tenet of Christian faith and theology.”
My response to skeptics has consistently been, “There is far more evidence that Jesus got out of the grave than Julius Caesar ever lived.” This flies directly in the face of all educated assumptions everywhere. Staying with Wikipedia as our counterpoint, here’s how the Caesar page begins:
Gaius Julius Caesar, July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, Consul and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. (Notations omitted.)
The purpose is to show the one event is cast a “Christian belief” and the other as fact. Today there are at least three books in print written by Caesar. Jesus wrote nothing and is only quoted in the Bible. But wait. Caesar wrote about the Gallic wars eighty years before Jesus’ ministry. Caesar died 40 years before Jesus was born. This all happened some 1980 to 2100 years ago. We must rely on records (copied texts) that have come to us over the centuries. This is the simple truth. There are thousands of copies of the Bible going back to the seventh and eighth centuries and some few going back as far as the first century. We have no surviving trail of history or literature going back to the end of the Roman Republic. This is not to say Caesar did not live. This is only to say there is no proof such as ancient texts.
Christian faith does not rely on physical evidence. But skeptics need evidence. Of course they will never be satisfied. They flit, like butterflies, from hither to yon (literary lingo—just to impress you). But the skeptics are about to be flummoxed. Expect angry attacks.
An artifact known as the Shroud of Turin is back in the news. The Shroud of Turin, upon inspection, seems to be a burial cloth with the imprint of a man obviously crucified in exactly the way Jesus was. Its history is unknown until about 1350 but quite precisely known since. In a loose sense in has been under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been controversial the past 660 years—none more than the past 25.
The cloth was carbon dated in 1988 and found to only be about 650 years old. Skeptics knew they had won and turned their attention elsewhere. But believers continued a labor that paid off within the past few months. Also a group of scientists gave the Shroud serious attention and have released their report. This video posted in You Tube by the Most Holy Family Monastery is the best summary of the breathtaking results. Make the time quickly to learn this exciting gift to all in the Twenty First Century:
Tell friends to watch the video. Other important points to tell friends:
- The carbon dating test in 1988 was fraudulent!
- The cloth is some 2000 years old.
- The pollen tests were accurate and prove the Shroud was in present day Palestine for some time.
- The image is three dimensional! Scientists estimate the energy necessary to accomplish the event (resurrection) equals the energy necessary for the “big bang.”