When I was a young child my grandparents used to have a subscription to National Geographic magazine. On one particular day when my grandmother stopped by for a visit, she dropped off a stack of these magazines that she’d finished reading so my mom could read them.
Immediately one of the magazines caught my attention. On the cover was a picture of the image you see above. The photograph is of the Shroud of Turin. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Shroud as it doesn’t come up as often in news articles, journals, or TV programs anymore.
So what exactly is a “shroud”? It’s not really a word we hear much anymore. In general, a shroud is a burial cloth. In times past, a shroud was typically a long piece of linen cloth that was wrapped around a body before it was placed into the grave or before it was buried. This is exactly what we have in the picture above. But what is so special about this particular shroud? Well, let’s take a look at a couple more images:
What do you see when you look at the image of the face above? Most would say it’s a bearded man with something on his forehead. Looking at the closeup of the hands, there are similar markings right at the wrist and on the forearms. If you look closely on the upper thighs and abdomen, you can see some faint looking stripe markings. Looking at the close up of the back (Last Picture), you can also see stripe markings.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the reason why this cloth is so special and extremely controversial is that some believe it is the actual close that was wrapped around the body of Jesus Christ after He was crucified. The markings on the cloth are supposedly blood stains in all the places where Jesus was pierced and whipped. There is LOTS of information that you can find about the shroud just about anywhere…online, books, magazines, YouTube, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I am not going to go into all the details about the shroud. What I will say is that there has been a raging debate for hundreds of years as to the authenticity of the shroud. Many consider it to be a fake while many others strongly believe it to be real. There are also some who claim it is an authentic burial cloth, but don’t believe it to be the shroud used to bury Jesus; rather, they believe it is from someone else.
Tremendous amounts of study and research has been done on the subject on both sides of the fence, so my recommendation to you if you’re interested is to do a little research and decide for yourself whether or not you believe the shroud is genuine.
As for me, I believe the shroud to be the real thing. For there to be bloodstains in the forehead, wrists, side, and feet as well as the stripe markings all over the body seems just too unlikely to be anyone other than Jesus. He is the only one in the historical record to have ever had such a unique torture and death matching the markings on this coth. Even more, as you research this subject, you will learn that nobody really knows how the image got on the cloth in the first place. It isn’t painted on. It wasn’t made by perspiration. So what was it?
Some believe that it was created at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection when He was transformed into His glorified state. The hypothesis is that at the very moment of the resurrection, Jesus crossed over an event horizon from our present physical dimension into another spiritual dimension. When that happened, the residual effects of Jesus’ glorification / transformation were imprinted on this piece of cloth.
Remarkably, with modern technology, scientists have been able to show that the image on the cloth was created by a three dimensional figure meaning that there was in fact a body inside at one point in time. It is not a painted forgery. There are also varying amounts of radiation at diffrent places on the cloth, again giving evidence that a body was once inside.
So it’s with this in mind, along with other pieces of evidence I’ve seen in different documentaries, I personally believe the Shroud to be the real deal. Of course, whether or not this item is genuine doesn’t really matter when it comes to my faith in God. My faith in Jesus isn’t dependent on a piece of linen. But when you find an item like this that seems to give some additional evidence to what you already know to be true, it sure is cool, and definitely cutting edge!
Isaiah 53:5-6 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
For more information on this subject, you can check out the book The Shroud of Turin Speaks for Itself by Simon Brown and Caspar McCloud. You can also check out this interesting video I found on YouTube: