Truth can be stranger than fiction !

Terminator and Titanic were two amazing movies with a lot of imagination along with some small facts from known history. These movies gave to the masses food for thought, so when James Cameroon makes a documentary about “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”, well rather than being excited, I was cautious knowing that I would have some food for thought.

I wasn’t wrong. I have been given enough food for thought to actually keep me full for a month. Interesting as it may sound, it’s a theory that I will talk about.

Lost Tomb of Jesus

Interesting as it sounds, the theory of Jesus having a tomb is totally against what we call the bible stories; we have always been taught in our bible classes that Jesus ascended into heaven. This phrase is something we use every time we go to mass, in the I Believe (if you are wondering where do we say it). So in fact this theory will not go down too well with the Vatican. So what am I talking about, what is all this tomb of Jesus?

In 1980 some kids found a tomb in the modern city of Jerusalem, Named the Talpiot Tomb. This tomb arguably housed the final bones of the family members of Jesus. There were ossuaries discovered in the tomb by the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) and the bones contained in the ossuaries were actually cremated properly as per the Jewish traditions. But the ossuaries were actually placed in the IAA warehouse just like the other hundreds of ossuaries they had uncovered at that time. Incidentally it so happens that during the 80’s there was a sudden boom of construction and people started to uncover loads of tombs around the Jerusalem area where our tomb was found; 900 to be precise.

Well to make things short, of the 10 ossuaries 1 was lost and 9 exist in the IAA warehouse. Finding a ossuary called Jesus son of Joseph in a tomb was not looked as a very exciting event when they found it, because they had uncovered 71 other ossuaries with the name of Jesus on it. Well the plot starts to thicken when they find names on the other ossuaries as well. Interesting enough these names seem related to the Jesus Story as told in the bible. Five of 10 ossuaries which were inscribed with names believed to be associated with Jesus, Mary, a possible relative named Matthew, Jesus’s brother Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription translates to “Judah Son of Jesus,” according to the Discovery Channel article. All but one of these inscriptions are in Hebrew or Aramaic. The exception, written in Greek, reads “Mariamene e Mara,” which can be translated as “Mary known as the master.” or another name given to Mary Magdalene. Now what seems to be a story out of the Da Vinci Code, the inference of Mary Magdalene being in the tomb is that she was the spouse of Jesus, because only family members were in the tomb and if she was not a sibling she had to be the spouse of Jesus.

So where does all this leave folks of faith as more people watch this documentary. First, it leaves our Sunday morning same as always with our faith in Jesus quite undisturbed. There will be no need to cross our fingers as we reaffirm our faith through reading scripture, hearing the sermons and reciting the ancient words of the creeds. Then come Monday, the controversial film will leave us with a conversation starter for our non-Christian friends and we won’t have to be the one that starts the conversation. But just add these thoughts to the mix as you discuss the tomb:

  • There was a claim to have found Jesus’ tomb in the 1940s. That tomb, also bearing a Yeshua (Jesus) inscription, has long been discredited. No one consider it to have been the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, including the makers of the new film.
  • The Talpiot Tomb already created a stir 10 years ago and with articles in the Sunday Times of London. That excitement died down until now as no scholarly consensus immerged in support of the claim. In fact, the opposite occurred.
  • The easiest way to pass off pseudo-science is with a documentary in which you get to control who says what. The harder way is in peer reviewed, scholarly articles, none of which yet make the claims found in the film.

The bottom line is this: relax. Jesus of Nazareth’s reputation has survived worse critics than these and our Lord will survive this as well. The current controversy is a combination of bad science and great publicity. Such concoctions grab headlines and then fade into the shadows. Good science will be our ally here, but give it time.

You and I know the fact that the filmmakers apparently have missed. Christians do not believe that Jesus tomb was empty because of the claims of the apostles. We believe that Jesus’ tomb was empty because of our own very real experiences of the risen Jesus in our own lives. I know this may not sound any more substantial than the ungrounded claims of the movies creators, but there it is. We know that Jesus is not there in a tomb in Jerusalem, because he is here in our hearts and lives, just as he has been for generations of Christians around the world. So do not fret and use this new opportunity for discussion to let others know of your faith in the crucified and resurrected Jesus.

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