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Was Jesus Real? Who Cares?!

In February of 2007, there were press accounts of a purported discovery of an ossuary that held the remains of Jesus Christ ("Crypt Held Bodies of Jesus and Family, Film Says" The New York Times February 27, 2007).

An ossuary is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains. Ancient Jewish burial customs included primary burials in burial caves followed by secondary burials of just the bones in ossuaries placed in smaller niches of the burial caves. The crux of this reported finding is to suggest that Jesus was not bodily resurrected -- thereby contradicting the very core of Christian doctrine.

All of this brought to mind a summer's eve conversation, in the Colorado mountain town of Evergreen in the early 1970s. A reborn Christian was extolling the virtues and grace of Jesus. I respectfully posed what, back then, would have been called the "$64,000 Question" (a popular television quiz show): What if he wasn't who he said he was?" To which my host instantly replied, "Who cares? Look what he stood for? How many people's lives have been changed by 'Coming to Jesus?' If he wasn't who he said he was, but you followed his teachings anyway, would your life be better or worse for doing so?"

Question: In an environment where both the Jewish and Roman leadership wanted to discredit him as an anarchist, if Christ did not ascend into heaven, body and soul, but rather was interred in a place so easily found with his name written on the side of his burial box, how is it that his remains were not discovered and publicly displayed? Who could keep that kind of secret when the reward for exposing it would have been great? Why would sane men and women who witnessed his resurrection and return endure horrible torture and even be put to death rather than recant what they reported?

Or, as President Ronald Reagan so aptly put it:

?Meaning no disrespect to the religious convictions of others, I still can?t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where... is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time ? possibly to your own hometown. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father?s shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father?s shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing ? the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man who... left no written word has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals; all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived ? all of them put together. How do we explain that... unless he really was what he said he was??

Tell me, what do you think?

Posted by ..:: GregO ::.. at    04/01/2010   10:22:10
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