Jesus’ Tomb: Lost or Empty?

There is yet another attack on truth.  Not long ago, the Discovery Channel aired a television documentary, “The Jesus Family Tomb,” that claimed that the lost tomb of Jesus’ family is a neighbor of Tova Bracha's apartment in East Talpiot, Israel.  A highly popular TV director, Simcha Jacobovici led the effort, with “Titanic” director James Cameron that claims a 1980 discovery of a first-century Jewish burial cave and the 10 bone boxes, or ossuaries, found therein.

Lost and Found?

The whole thing began in 1980 when a construction crew unearthed an ancient tomb of a first-century Jewish burial cave and 10 bone boxes, or ossuaries.  This was not unusual. The 1980s marked a construction boom in Jerusalem; hundreds of tombs were uncovered and, with them, thousands of ossuaries.  In the first century A.D., during Jesus human life, Jewish families with means built tombs in the hills throughout Judea and stored the remains of their loved ones in those caves, in ossuaries (AP).
Statisticians, archeologists, historians, DNA experts, robot-camera technicians, epigraphers and a CSI expert from New York all argue that the bones of Jesus, Mary and Mary Magdalene, along with some of their lesser-known relatives, were once entombed in this cave.  How can one possibly test for DNA from Jesus who left no physical artifacts and had no human descendents?  Jacobovici justifies it by saying “People will have to believe what they want to believe.  Of course humans also believed with certainty that the earth was flat until science proved otherwise (although the ancient Greeks already knew this well before this time). 

The Bottom Dollar is the Bottom Dollar

Joe Zias, who was the curator for anthropology and archeology at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem from 1972 to 1997 and personally numbered the Talpiot ossuaries himself. “He's pimping off the Bible—what do these guys know about archeology?”  By pimping he means it’s about the money.  I myself have a BA in history and I can tell you that all the evidence presented is highly speculative.  There is nothing conclusive about it at all.  What I was taught in college is that Historians must use primary sources [eyewitness testimony] or at least secondary [written accounts] sources (citations) to verify facts.  This has neither primary nor secondary, meaning it can only be called speculation. 

What a surprise to find the names Joseph and Mary in Jerusalem, where people literally have built houses on top of bones for over six thousand years.  The name they claim is Jesus’ is not properly translated and appears to be another name altogether.  Exactly why should we be shocked to find bones where, for over six thousand years, hundreds of generations of Jews, Muslims and Christians have been laid to rest?  And claims that the names Mary, Joshua (Jesus) and Joseph were found there.  This is not surprising since these names were extremely common names in Israel for thousands of years. 

The Motivation

The world would love to absolve Christ of His divinity, bring Him down to a human level and make Him appear as just another man.  What is the real motive behind this?  I believe it is
intended to be a money maker.  It will sell a lot of books and videos.  My former history professor once said “The bottom dollar is the bottom dollar” [meaning one’s own motivations].  Tova Bracha, whose apartment building sets over these ancient tombs, never thought much about it.  “It just didn't seem important when there have been so many tombs found Jerusalem.  Bracha laughs that maybe she can make a fortune selling trinkets to tourists.  Maybe the value of her home will soar.  It is about money anyway isn’t it?  I wonder if Indiana Jones will be in it (MSNBC).

Why did people wait in line for the book and video?  It is tabloid TV.  Famous people acting not so famously and when someone as famous as Jesus is spoken off in a derogatory way, people just seem flock to this type of story. Perhaps the reason is that if we could just reduce God to being imperfect, then why should we feel guilty?

 What Is Really Lost

In some ways, controversies may actually help to spread the Gospel when people ask about them and start questioning the findings.  What an open door this can be to who the real Jesus is.  The One that is still seeking that which is lost.  If anything was ever lost, it was the facts in this sensationalizing of The Lost Tomb of Christ on the Discovery Channel.   No, the tomb where Jesus was laid was found empty.  That is because He has risen.

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