1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 20-22
CNN’s new series Finding Jesus explores six ancient relics in the search for evidence of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.1 The premiere episode looks at the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus, even though carbon dating done in 1988 dated the cloth to the 14th century.2 Dr. John Jackson of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, and leader of the Shroud of Turin Research Project of 1978, says, “Based on the research that I have been involved in, I think we are looking at the historic burial cloth of Jesus.”3 As an archaeological piece, the shroud would be evidence of Jesus’ existence, death, and resurrection.4
Some people look for the historical Jesus in order to disprove Christianity, while others search to give credence to the Gospel stories. In this day of technological sophistication, scientific methodology, and a plethora of television shows dedicated to forensic science,we expect to see proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Some people have difficulty accepting ideas and concepts without proof.
In today’s passage, Paul is concerned with proving the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Paul’s argument for Jesus’ resurrection relies on a list of witnesses and logic. People wanted proof of Jesus’ resurrection, and Paul gave them what he could. At some point, though, we simply have to accept what cannot be absolutely proven, for faith is “the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11:1).
- What do you know about the Shroud ofTurin? Would the authenticity of the shroud add to your faith? Do you believeproof of the shroud might lead others to faith in Christ?
- Do you believe the search forhistorical proof of Jesus is damaging to or uplifting for the faith?
- Which do you think is a better argumentfor Paul––a list of witnesses or logic? What was at stake if Paul failed toprove Jesus’ resurrection actually happened?
- At what point in your Christian beliefsystem does faith take over for evidence? What gives you the strength to takethe leap of faith from what you can see to what you cannot see?
From the episode “Could This Be Jesus’ Burial Cloth?”
Reverend Katie Shockley is a licensed local pastor and serves as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Sachse, Texas.
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