I was reading an interesting article this morning about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.
Unless you’ve been living in a remote cave somewhere you’ve probably heard of the linen cloth that is supposed to be Jesus’ burial cloth.
What made me go “hmm, that’s neat” was the following:
Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” (Matthew 27:58-60)
Now I’ve read this story countless times and the symbolism never really occurred to me; the fact that Jesus took Pilate’s place (and ours, obviously) in THE TOMB, both physically – in the case of Pilate – and spiritually.
I know – you’re probably asking yourself, “duh, why didn’t you see this before” – I know I am – but the fact that I see it now simply makes me smile.
I smile because I picture Yahweh – Creator of the Universe – with His infinite compassion, wisdom…His EVERYTHING…inspiring the writer of Matthew (whoever it may have been) to add that information, knowing that I would read it, understand it and be touched by it.
He is such an amazing God, I can’t understand how anyone could serve another.
Anyway, getting back to the shroud. I learned some interesting tidbits that strengthened my belief that it’s genuine.
Setting aside the image, the blood stains, etc….how could somebody have faked the pollen? Really?
Microscopic traces of the flowers, and pollen, has been found throughout the Turin Shroud.
Out of hundreds of flowers on the Shroud,twenty-eight of them grow in Israel.
Twenty grow in Jerusalem itself, and the other eight grow potentially within the close vicinity of Jerusalem (Whanger and Whanger, Duke.edu, 2015).
Of these twenty-eight plants, twenty-seven of the identified plants are in bloom in March and April.
Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem during the Passover in the Spring of c. 30 AD. (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1,7: John 18:28)
Half of the floral images and pollen grains from the plants are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas but never in Europe, the favored location of the forgery of the Shroud.
Most of the flowers were clustered around the head and chest of the man on the Shroud – consistent with Jewish burial custom in Jesus’ time.
The pollen also dates to the first-century, further indication that the Shroud was first found in first-century Israel.
In addition, many grains of the pollen, Gundelia tournefortii, have been identified.
This particular pollen has large thorns, blooms in Israel between March and May, and most of the grains of this pollen have been recovered near the man’s shoulder!
Could it have been the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29)?
In spite of the irrefutable evidence – at least in my mind – of the shroud’s authenticity, people will still refuse to believe.
It’s just like the story of the rich man in Hades that Christ talked about:
27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16: 27-31)
The blindness of those who REFUSE to see is staggering indeed!