Friday, August 2, 2013

Archaeology hype -- Jesus' cross

Oh, good grief!  Here we go again.

Another story has popped up about someone finding a relic that is allegedly from Jesus.  This time, it is his cross.  See story here:
This is a piece of a stone case which allegedly, potentially held a piece of Jesus' cross.

While my skepticism about its authenticity runs very high, I am not too bothered by this.  If somehow they prove that it is from the cross Jesus was nailed to (which I highly doubt), that's neat.  If they find it to be inconclusive, that will be no surprise.  If it is declared to be a fraud (which I expect), I won't lose sleep or stop preaching.  The Gospel accounts will not be re-written no matter what is proved or disproved about this latest discovery.

Archaeology has done a great deal in helping us understand the Biblical world.  It has often vindicated what Christians have always believed to be true by providing further evidence of the Biblical record.  This find, however, I do not think is helpful at all.

It seems to me that discoveries such as these have Christians running around screaming, "See?  See?  Our faith is not a fairytale!  Jesus was real!"  That isn't really faith.  That sounds more like desperation.  And it also sets up the Christians to hear their critics say later, "See?  See?  Your cross is a fraud!"  If you hang your hopes on discoveries such as these, you will also find your hopes dashed later.

The Christian faith rests on the testimony of the prophets and the apostles.  The word of God speaks for itself.  We do not need to tour Noah's ark before we believe Genesis 6-9.  We do not need to find Goliath's head before we believe that King David existed.  And we don't need to hold, rub, or bow before a chunk of wood before we believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world.  God has already convinced us of that.  We live and die in that conviction. 

Well, rather, we live and eternally live in it, for "whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25)  Our Savior went to the cross and rose from the grave to guarantee that.  We don't need a chunk of the cross to prove it.  We have God's word.  If we can't trust that, then all of the archaeological discoveries in the world will not help -- even if they are neat.

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