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OPINION

A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 160: On Easter, Seek the Face of Jesus

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Matias Delacroix

Author's Note: All previous volumes of this series are here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book  "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible."  "Part Two," featuring volumes 57-113,  was published  in December.  

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Happy Resurrection Sunday! Raise your hand if you are in favor of starting an initiative to change the name of Easter to Resurrection Sunday — separating believers of this miraculous event from the Easter bunny and marshmallow eggs crowd. Honestly, it is the snack-sized milk-chocolate crosses that drive me over the edge. 

Now that I have vented, it's time to introduce our Resurrection Sunday guest co-writer, Russ Breault, a renowned evangelical speaker and Shroud of Turin expert with numerous national television credits. Russ is my go-to Bible scholar whenever I want to turn “up the volume.” So let’s begin.

Easter represents the pinnacle of the Christian faith, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose from the dead. No one in human history has ever permanently escaped the bonds of death, leaving an empty tomb and a vacant burial shroud. (See Vol. 52 about why Jesus raised Lazarus, but eventually, he died.)

Paraphrasing and quoting from John’s gospel narrative:

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early Sunday morning and saw the entrance stone had already been rolled aside. She runs to find the apostles and alerts Peter and John saying:

"‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:1-4). Peter and John run to the tomb.

Peter, “stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.” Then, John “also went in, and he saw and believed” (John 20: 5-8)

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So what does John believe? We assume it was the Resurrection of Jesus based on the empty tomb and the vacant linen shroud that had once wrapped the crucified body of Jesus. Question for today:

Were the “linen cloths lying there” only meant for the benefit of those two apostles? Or a witness to the entire world throughout all generations? (The smaller cloth was a “face cloth” but that is another story.)

Could the larger cloth seen by John and Peter be the same burial shroud that has resided in Turin, Italy, for the past 445 years? And before Turin, spent 220 years in France after arriving there from Constantinople in 1204, having been stolen during the Fourth Crusade? 

Today, what is known as the mysterious Shroud of Turin, is a 14-foot linen cloth etched with the faint image of a bearded, crucified man stained with a pattern of bloodstains perfectly matching the accounts of His torment and biblical crucifixion.

Moreover, the Shroud is often called “the mirror of the Gospel” or “the fifth gospel,” and many consider it the “first selfie.” The Shroud of Turin is the most analyzed and studied artifact in the world, yet, it remains a mystery. Why?

First, there are no artistic substances on the cloth to account for image formation, and the blood is genuine rare AB-type, with human male DNA.

Second, when the Shroud was first photographed in 1898, what developed was a photo-negative image resembling a black-and-white positive. That positive image clearly showed the man’s face and evidence of torture, as reflected in the Gospels.

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Later, the light rust/yellowish man seen with the naked eye was determined to be a negative image.

However, even with numerous unsolved mysteries, some allege that the Shroud was fabricated by an artist in the 14th century when it first appeared in France. Yet, no artist is named. Moreover, what medieval European artist could create an anatomically and scientifically perfect image of a crucified man without using artistic substances? And amazingly, this “artist” included invisible photographic properties — 500 years before the advent of photography! Supernaturally created is the only explanation that fits the Shroud’s image.

Furthermore, the iconic picture of Christ’s face on the Shroud (called the Holy Face) was the genesis for all icon images that feature Jesus beginning in the sixth century when the cloth was known as the “True Likeness.” And, why today, we still picture Jesus with long hair, a full beard, large eyes, and a long nose—all features matching the Shroud man. 

Humans desire to put a name with a face. So, beginning in the first century, Scripture gave us His name — Jesus or Yeshua in Hebrew — and the Shroud image reflects His face. The Shroud is why Jesus is instantly recognized over 2000 years later. 

Furthermore, the most famous blessing in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was   when God told Aaron (the first high priest) to bless the children of Israel, saying:

“‘The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his FACE shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his FACE toward you and give you peace’” (Numbers 6:24-26). 

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Notice the face of God is mentioned twice. But, no one in the Old Testament saw God, not even Moses, although he tried. After Moses received the 10 Commandments, he cried out to God, “now show me your glory.” And God answered, “no one can see my face and live” (Exodus 33:18-20.)

Nonetheless, in the New Testament, “the knowledge of God's glory [is] displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). 

Also, in John’s gospel, we read, “and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory as of the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14.)

Paul wrote that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15.) And Hebrews records “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Hebrews 1:3)

On Resurrection Sunday, pray and ask yourself, “Could the Shroud of Turin be a means by which God allows the glory of his Son to be manifested to the entire world through all generations?” 

Answering “yes” is supported by a preponderance of scientific evidence and unexplained mysteries, pointing to the authenticity of the 14-ft linen cloth securely housed in Turin, Italy. “Yes” also explains why the Shroud survives to this day. 

The Shroud of Turin is a sacred reminder of the most pivotal event in human history — the Resurrection of Jesus Christ — who defeated sin and death and offers eternal life to all who believe in Him. 

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You can believe in Christ’s Resurrection and doubt the Shroud’s authenticity. But, remember “Doubting Thomas,” who needed to see Christ’s wounds before he believed. The Shroud of Turin exists for today’s Thomas while the Shroud man asks, “Who Do you Say That I Am?” And, as you pray, always seek the Face of Jesus. Amen! 

 

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible," reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. "Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.   

Myra is also the Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and National Shroud of Turin Exhibit. Both are donor-supported ministries dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. See Shroud exhibit news and a life-sized replica in Washington, D.C. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com 

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