Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 3, 2012

Thought for the Week April 8, 2012

Very likely the most important event in history will be remembered and celebrated this Sunday. In fact, let me say that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the most important event in history. What I mean is, everything else in Jesus’ life including prophecy fulfilling birth, working of miracles, moral teachings, and death on the cross would have little impact if Jesus was tucked away in a tomb near Jerusalem. If He didn’t rise from the dead the small band of fearful followers would most likely have faded into history without as much as a peep.

Since we are celebrating this most vital of events this week, I thought I’d take a little break from the teaching schedule to talk about the resurrection. Have you ever noticed that every year around Christmas and Easter, someone shows up with the latest “amazing finding” that will “finally prove” this or that biblical truth to be wrong?

The one that hit the news this week is a guy who has diligently studied the Shroud of Turin for years and says that he is convinced it is the actual burial cloth that Jesus was wrapped in when He was buried. On top of that his studies have led him to conclude that the shroud is what convinced the disciples that Jesus was alive. Art historian Thomas de Wesselow’s theory is that in the mind of a person 2,000 years ago, the image on the Shroud would have been astonishing – far beyond their normal experiences and truly unsettling. He says, “They saw the image on the cloth as the living double of Jesus.” And, I guess, since there was an image on the cloth they believed it was the living and breathing Jesus.

Well, that explains it! Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. The shroud did! So the guys walking on the road to Emmaus actually were visited by the shroud, which walked and talked with them and even ate a meal with them before disappearing. This gives us a whole new reason to believe in ghosts that look like white sheets floating in the air. It must have also been the shroud that spoke to Mary in the garden near the tomb and appeared to Thomas showing the wounds in its hands and side. Of course it wasn’t really Jesus, just a sheet of material that was a picture of the wounds, but Thomas considered it to be Jesus enough to call it Lord and God!

Beloved, there are many mysteries that surround the Shroud of Turin. With all the scientific know how available today, they still can’t figure out how the image got on the fabric. It supposedly is a “negative image” and they are certain it wasn’t painted on nor just made by contact with the body. I think that it almost gives the indication that the body passed through it. Now de Wesselow adds these other mysteries, like how did the travelers on the Emmaus road “see” Jesus when they hadn’t seen the shroud? And how did the shroud build a fire and cook fish, much less catch the fish to cook, for Peter and the disciples? And how is the shroud even here if the disciples saw it rise into heaven in the first chapter of Acts?

I am being facetious and sarcastic here because this type of thing is broadcast and printed every year in an attempt to undermine our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite the fact that historians, theologians, journalists, and even lawyers over the years have investigated the resurrection from every viewpoint and every alternate idea and continually attest that it is one of the best documented events in ancient history. Despite the fact that dozens of Jesus’ followers testified that they had seen Jesus, not a shroud, and seen Him alive, talking, eating, teaching, etc. Despite the fact that a great many of those eyewitnesses died professing that same fact.

This “historian” cites Paul’s comment in I Corinthians 15:50 which says, Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, as proof that Jesus did not really rise, although he quotes it like this, “resurrection is not about flesh and blood”. I have looked at numerous English translations and none come out that way. The context of this verse is Paul defending the resurrection of Jesus and describing the difference between a resurrected body and the body that died. This cannot be stretched to indicate that Jesus didn’t bodily rise from the dead.

I think you get the drift of what I’m saying. This is a time to celebrate and remember that because Jesus rose from the dead, everyone who believes in Him will also rise. The dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. I Corinthians 15:52-53 We can rest in the confidence that “in Christ” we will rise to life eternal, this corruptible, dying, decaying body will put on immortality. And because of the resurrection of Jesus we can proclaim, O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? I Corinthians 15:55

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! I Corinthians 15:57 I always choose to trust the witnesses who were there over those who try to look back 2,000 years and theorize. Because of that I’m ready to celebrate. What about you? Just a thought.

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