A Reflection on the Shroud of Turin

By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady

The Shroud of Turin is debated to be the actual burial cloth of the crucified Christ. Resembling a badly faded photograph negative, the Shroud holds the full-length imprint of a man's body — including the face, ears, even hair.

The debate points to whether the Shroud's authenticity, or lack of it, correspondingly proves the factuality, or myth, of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Scores of literature, documentaries and talk show interviews over the years have been devoted to the debate, with no definitive, once-for-all conclusion in sight.

I am not scientifically qualified to, nor especially interested in, joining in on that debate. But I do feel compelled biblically to say two crucial things about it: 1) The debate misses the point of the Resurrection; and 2) What "shrouds" does anyone of us have in our own lives that likewise miss the point?

First, bottom line, the debate over the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is unnecessary.

The validity of the resurrection of Christ does not hang on some decaying piece of cloth. Combining every necessary category of investigation (biblical, empirical, archaeological, bibliographical, etc.), there is already overwhelming evidence — without the Shroud — that Jesus rose from the dead just like He said He would (John 2:9 and Chapters 20-21; Acts 1:1-11; 2:24-32; 1 Peter 1:16-21). Indeed, from the times of the great prophets of the Old Testament until now, countless people have acquired true faith in the risen Lord without basing it on this so-called "Holy Shroud."

It is the Holy Bible that validates the factuality of our Savior's resurrection from the dead. The "Holy Shroud" is, in comparison, more hole-y than holy. With all the speculation and debate about the Shroud's authenticity, it may in fact be more a shroud over the testimony of the Lord's Word than it may have ever been over His body.

Which brings us to our second crucial statement. In much the same way that the Shroud of Turin shrouds the witness of the Holy Bible, what "shrouds" do we have in our lives today that obstruct our clear sights on God's ultimate sacrifice and resurrection power that deserve our unwavering devotion to Him?

This is so important. The Bible clearly reveals the awesome nature and works of God as well as His purpose and guidelines for how all of mankind should believe, live and hope (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Why would anyone avoid or reject God's Word or refuse to at least investigate it honestly in light of the overwhelming evidence?

And yet, even most Christians, like non-Christians, do so on one point or another. We let circumstances, and popular opinion, and debates, and laziness, and wayward church leaders, and confusion, and fears, and hurts, and lusts, and pride, and numerous other "shrouds" distort our clear focus on God and dim our consistent deep affection for His will and works.

Such shrouds prevent us from taking God literally "at His Word." Such shrouds are why so many Christians don't go to church consistently, don't read their Bibles, don't live godly enough, don't share the Gospel with the lost, don't love unconditionally or universally, don't trust God, don't pray, don't discern false doctrine.

And such shrouds are why the rest of the world sees Jesus as something less than what He plainly is: Almighty God, alive and powerful.

Let's shed those shrouds just like Jesus shed His burial linens. Then we will plainly and clearly see Jesus the Christ: God manifested in the flesh, crucified in our place, raised from the dead by His own power, and preceding all believers to eternal Glory in heaven.

For more, see Is the Shroud of Turn authentic?

Image Credit: Jim Linwood; "The Museum of the Holy Shroud, Turin, Italy"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth Christian-Life Controversial-Issues Jesus-Christ

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Published on 1-21-2015