The season of our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is upon us. With is come the march of liberal theologians on the main stream media claiming the Bible is myth and fable. Also, Jewish filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici makes, what seems like, his annual rounds promoting some new “discovery.” My first acquaintance with him was in 2007 after his documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus had aired on the History Channel. We wrote about this in our blog Dem Bones .
Jacobovici’s current claim? Nails Used to Crucify Jesus May Have Been Found, Filmmaker Says in Israel. Resurrecting relics for fun and profit is nothing new. For centuries supposed splinters of the cross on which Jesus was crucified were “made available.” Of course, if someone were to amass all of the splinters we would have a veritable forest. The Shroud of Turin is another very famous relic. It too suffers any way to connect it with Jesus or the resurrection. Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church devotes several pages to this issue. But back to Jacobovici.
Are his claims valid or is this simply a marketing ploy geared to reel in the gullible and uninformed? Our friend, Pastor G. Richard Fisher from Personal Freedom Outreach contacted archeologist Ronny Reich. Reich is currently head of the work in the underground water systems for the Caananite City as well as the City of David into the time of the Judean Kings. His response is informative:
Dear Reverend Fisher,
Indeed Mr Jacobivici is a sensationalist. What do you expect from the media? I was the scholar who first published the inscriptions (I was not the excavator of the tomb). It indeed belongs to the Caiaphas family, but I did not say that the ossuary of the specific high priest was found !! I assume that His grandfather, as well as his grandson were also called Joseph, so …
And if there were two nails found in that tomb (by the way in two different locations within the tomb, so what? nails were used for various things. They were not found stuck in bones.
My final comment goes to the Christian world today. Why are all these “facts” so important to you? I asked a Christian close friend of my in Germany this question. He said, “you see such relics augment or even prove the sayings in the Gospels etc”. I answered him, that if he need our archaeological discovered, even if they are not disputed, than there is something wrong with his belief !! So Mr Fisher, please see these “facts” than no more than a TV entertainment show.
There is a sense in which Reich is right but another in which he is wrong. He is right that what Jacobovici’s program is “no more than a TV entertainment show.” It is designed to garner viewers who in turn may add to his viewership on his regular program. Reich also demonstrates an incorrect understanding of faith, as many do. Belief or faith is not a blind leap into the abyss of not-knowingness. We don’t believe in spite of the facts or in the absence of evidence. That might be hopefulness but it is not faith. Faith is belief based on evidence. Christ was raised from the dead. There is strong evidence of that claim. His resurrection from the dead gives evidence that His claims to being fully God and fully human are true (Romans 1:4). Even if the nails were the ones used in the crucifixion of Christ, they are of no actual value as evidence of the resurrection and play no role in the exercise of faith except for the uninformed. What Jacobiovici offers is little more than an interesting side show. A distraction from the mundane which offers little of value but has a price tag. I prefer to look at and even attempt to emulate a life sustained by faith:
Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. (2 Timothy 2:7-9)