The last few months we’ve been doing some digging into Biblical Archeology in one of our Sunday morning Bible Classes offered at 9:30 am in the Fellowship Hall.
We’ve seen the earliest extant example of Hebrew writing written on a broken piece of pottery from 1,000 B.C. We’ve seen standing stones stood up like Stonehenge by the ancient people of Canaan before Israel ever left slavery in Egypt. We’ve seen olive presses supporting a thriving olive oil production industry in ancient cities of Judea. We’ve looked at an Athenian Drachma coin from the sixth century B.C. that affirms the Biblical record of the reestablishment of cities after the Judean exile. We’ve looked at inscriptions in the annals of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, that tell his story of conquests in Judea dovetailing with the writings of Isaiah the prophet and the record in 2 Kings. We’ve even uncovered an ancient toilet used by King Hezekiah to desecrate the shrines to false god’s found in Judean cities. You never know what you’ll find when you dig in the holy land. Some of these things have just been uncovered in the last decade.
This wealth of evidence buried in the ancient near east confirms the truth of the episodes and events passed down to us in the pages of the scriptures. The excitement of archeology is that you really never know what you are going to find. Yet, we know what we won’t find, no matter how much we dig. What we won’t find is proof of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus was buried, but only for a time. Praise God that didn’t last. It needed to last at least three days, because that was the ancient near-eastern way of determining if someone was really dead. He was really dead. Really buried. Yet just as he said, after three days he rose.
Prove it some say! “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the world of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life….” (1 John 1:1-2)
No artifact can prove it. Artifacts can only give us clues as to what happened, even if we someday determine we’ve found the right empty tomb. What we have is better than artifacts. We have faith. Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Our faith is better than any artifacts because it’s based on eye-witness testimony. Jesus’ disciples saw, touched, held, beheld, and heard the risen Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not interested in founding our faith on a piece of pottery, an unearthed coin, or even ancient city gate. The Spirit creates faith and sustains faith in the word of Jesus. “In fact Christ has been raised from the dead” writes the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:20).
So Jesus is alive; can you dig it? No not out of the ground, but if you’re talking 1960’s-1970’s hippie slang. I can dig it! Can you?
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8).