Behind the Shroud of Christ

Today, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God and the savior of those that choose to believe in him. If you doubt his existence in history, please stop reading this blog and go start your homework.

The manner of death to Christ has little dispute in the barbarism inflicted upon him by the Romans. He was scourged, given a crown of thorns, mocked, and ultimately crucified on a cross. Mel Gibson caused a real stink here a few years back in his movie Passion of The Christ. There are those that say it caused anger to be directed toward the Jewish community as it is accepted that the Jewish Priests were responsible for the death of Christ . Maybe. I’m not so sure about that anymore, considering the rule of Roman law at the time and the fact that Pilate was as bloodthirsty as they came in controlling an outpost. Crucifixion was common by the Romans and if Pilate thought Christ to be any threat at all to Rome, he would have had no thoughts to making an example of him.

I tend to think the scourging scene in the movie, which I cannot watch again and bawled like a child when I did watch it, was the real issue. The liberal agenda flowing through the veins of this nation cannot stand anything that promotes Christianity, as Passion certainly did. To show what might have actually happened to Christ and the manner of the suffering involved might make one think about God and his committment to save the souls of mankind. Liberals cannot stand this and lampoon this and resurrection at every turn. I give you the Easter Bunny as one of many examples liberals place forth to turn attention away from events that lead to the death and resurrection of Christ.

After his death, Christ was laid to rest in his chamber and was wrapped in cloth. After his resurrection, the cloth was taken. Where was a mystery for years until a cloth with the likeness of Christ began to be recorded in history at various kingdoms throughout Turkey, Constantinople, and ultimately France. The cloth took on the name of the Shroud of Turin as well as the Shroud of Christ. The History Channel has the best series I have ever seen on the history of Shroud since the death and resurrection of Christ and the trial it took to its modern-day resting place.  The site is http://www.history.com/shows/the-real-face-of-jesus and has dates on this show, history of the Shroud, as well as ways to order the show on dvd.

What The Real Face of Jesus does is take the physical evidence left by the Shroud and help create a 3D image of what Christ most likely looked like. Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth, who in 2009 did a 3D recreation of Abraham Lincoln, took the Shroud and began to process to 2D image from the Shroud and worked his modern-day technical magic.

In 1988, researchers did a carbon 14 dating on the Shroud to date the cloth to see if science could reconcile with historical record. The results from the test placed the Shroud from 1260 to 1390 AD, which matched when the Shroud began to have a recorded timeline. As such, many used that result disputing the validity of the Shroud to be the cloth that Christ was wrapped in.  There were many issues with the test, including the location chosen for the sample. Historical accounts and artist renderings of the Shroud date well before 1260 AD and cast the first doubt on the test. Many accounts go back to 700 AD. There is good evidence that the Shroud was in Constantinople in the 1200’s when it fell and was subjected to fire and smoke. The fibrous nature of the cloth and the smoke from the fire could have contaminated it and impacted the dating. It was also involved in another fire after its arrival in France. Observation of the Shroud clearly shows fire damage. However, parts of the end of the Shroud were also damaged and repaired in France.  There are loads of articles on this, but one of the best short and sweet blogs is http://www.skepticalspectacle.com/carbon1403.htm.  The sample for the dating was from the repaired patch and if the sample was from that weave itself, would give an inaccurate date of the Shroud.

Returning to the work of Ray Downing and the work behind The Real Face Of Jesus should eliminate this argument once and for all. The story goes back to 1978, when “official” technology started dissecting the Shroud. Scientists have confirmed that the Shroud is not a painting or work of art, that there is a massive amount of blood on the Shroud, and that the blood is human. What they cannot explain is the 2D image of the face of Christ. Well, science only goes so far and then there is God. Christians know that the image came from the light of the resurrection and left the holy impression of Christ. Man does not possess the technology to perform this act.

Downing has taken the 2D image and the information on the Shroud and analyzed it to the nth degree. He has taken the image and created a 3D likeness of the face underneath. Downing’s own description of the physical damage to the body, a reference to the scourging Christ took at the hands of the Romans, is equal to someone in a horrible car wreck. Downing is emotional in his description of the body, as the evidence of the death of Christ apparently hit home for this man. The end result on the likeness of the face on the Shroud, the face of Christ, is absolutely incredible. The physical characteristics of the jaw, eyes, and other facial features are identical to people indigenous to the Middle East. Jesus was born in that region and would have had the physical characteristics of the native population.

In my opinion, Downing’s work can only draw one conclusion – the Shroud is that of Jesus Christ. If you can tabulate the evidence prior to this project, combine it with Downing’s work, and come away with any other conclusion – then you need a massive dose of prayer.

Then again, our entire world could use some faith.

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