Who's Buried in Jesus' Tomb?
By James Snyder
I always know when Easter is approaching without even consulting the calendar, and I'm one of those persons who lives and dies by the calendar. If it is not on my calendar, I probably will not think of it.
But Easter is one of those holidays that whether it's on my calendar or not I am warned of its impending arrival.
Now, I grant this may just be a coincidence … I'm not betting the farm on it … but just prior to Easter, somebody produces a Jesus-themed book or documentary. One year it was The Da Vinci Code. Another year it was the Gospel According To Judas. This year it is the discovery of the tomb of Jesus.
Who knows what another year may bring forth from these fertile minds? (And, when I say "fertile," I mean it in the most literal sense of the word.) The trouble with all of these documentaries is that they are more "mental" than anything else. You do not have to be crazy to produce these Jesus-themed projects-it just seems that way.
Personally, I don't object to all of this activity because it does not sway me one way or the other. What I do wonder, when I'm in the wondering mood, is what the motive is behind all of this?
Either, these people are so fascinated with the person of Jesus Christ that they sacrifice everything to find out as much about him as possible. Or, they are trying their best to find some kind of dirt on Christ to cast spurious doubt on him to embarrass Christianity.
Wait a minute! Surely, I'm wrong on this. Maybe there is another reason. Could it be that all of these projects are produced to make money?
No, it couldn't be that. I'm sure these people are not in it for the money. Yes, they are raking in millions of dollars on these projects, but I'm sure they are not after filthy lucre. They have the best intention of trying to establish the truth, regardless of who it may hurt. Of course, they harbor a sneaking aspiration that what they find just may hurt Christians.
I watched one such production recently and the conclusion was brought down to this: "We don't have conclusive proof, but if we ever did it would be amazing."
If ever these people could find a smoking gun, they would be so excited they would shoot themselves in the foot.
For years now, these people have been grasping at straws to justify their unbelief. In fact, my suspicion is they have grasped at so many straws they have built for themselves a mighty fine straw house.
Where is the big bad wolf when you really need him?
After watching a recent Jesus-themed production, a question began nagging at the back of my cranium. Why aren't these people spending the same amount of time and money looking for Buddha's tomb, or Confucius' tomb? Or, what about Mohammed's tomb?
I sure would be interested in that kind of research. I have often, in some odd moments, reflected on the burning question: where is Buddha's tomb. I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights I have tossed and turned pondering that quandary.
Better yet, why aren't these people spending all their time and money looking for a cure for cancer? Or even a cure for the hiccups? I know of a young girl who could have used that information last month.
But I have no cause to worry about all of these projects. The Bible has been subjected to 2,000 years of the most intense scrutiny, and it has passed the test. If these projects produced in the last few years would undergo the same intensive scrutiny they would fall apart rapidly.
Bible Christianity is not built upon scholarship but rather on personal faith in Jesus Christ. Scholarship has never proven the Bible wrong. Even when apparent discrepancies are brought to the surface by scholarship, they are dismissed when further scholarship investigates them.
Scholarship is an evolving thing. It is like a puzzle. You cannot really figure out the puzzle until all of the pieces are put in place. The weakness of scholarship is they never know how many pieces are in the puzzle; therefore, they never know when they have the last piece. Also, scholarship, along with evidence and personal experience, is highly susceptible to interpretation. These elements will never agree.
I celebrate the fact that people are looking for Jesus. The only problem I see is they are looking for him and all the wrong places, so I'm not surprised they have not found him.
Years ago, a reporter did an extensive piece on "Searching for the Historical Jesus." I was not surprised when he did not find him.
This looking for Jesus is not a new phenomenon. Men have always sought for Jesus. I think the best response to this is found in the New Testament following the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee?" (Luke 24:4-6 KJV.)
The tomb of Jesus was discovered about 2,000 years ago … and found to be empty.
Rev. James Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals, including Guideposts. He has a knack for making fun of our daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so that you too can discover that life is less stressful when you're laughing. Rev. Snyder has a number of e-books available through the FaithWriters' e-Book Store. Rev. James will also be one of the guest speakers at the FaithWriters' Conference in August 2007. If you would like to contact James, you can do so through the letters page of this magazine.