A story about an unparalleled person named Jesus has been passed down through the centuries. Is there any tangible, extraordinary evidence corroborating what the Bible calls “the Gospel” story? Yes! Today a visual witness exists affirming the authenticity of the Jesus story! It is, in fact, an artifact that has been studied by scientists more than any other artifact in history.
An ancient burial cloth displays the faint image of a crucified man and shows the unique wounds mentioned in the Biblical narrative of Jesus' death. Yet, surprisingly, scientists have been unable to either fully replicate this image or to explain how this remarkable image could have formed naturally. In that regard, "Its origin remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma" (National Geographic, 04.17.2015). The ghostly image has some properties associated with being a high-definition, three-dimensional, photographic negative! The presence of 3-D information bears witness to “Intelligent Design.” Yet, the most thorough scientific analysis of the image concluded it was not the work of an artist! How can that be?
“The man on the cloth” bears witness to only one man and to only one story known throughout all of history! Does this cloth, known today as “the Shroud of Turin,” provide evidence for both the Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus? Could this artifact be "the Father’s witness"
(1 John 5:8-9), the “attesting miracle from heaven,” which Jesus promised before his death and labeled “The Sign of Jonah” (see Matthew 12:38-42)? Is this Shroud "the true sacred tent" (tabernacle), "which God pitched, not man" (Hebrews 8:2; cf. 9:11-12)?
The image apparently formed when an incredibly intense and extremely brief (miraculous) flash of ultraviolet light irradiated from the body inside the cloth as it dematerialized through the cloth which served as a film plate!
Unfortunately, most Bible scholars have not kept up with the scientific research related to the Shroud and have dismissed it as either unimportant or as unauthentic. However, the Turin Shroud has the potential to greatly impact the theologian’s search for the historical Jesus! Since the Enlightenment there has been a tendency to demythologize the New Testament and to view the Resurrection as something that existed only in the minds of Jesus’ followers. Consequently, the Christ of history is blurred and the Christian’s assurance of hope beyond the grave is attacked. In both of those matters, the Shroud of Turin is a game changer! Next to love and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of believers, the image on the Shroud is the supreme apologetic for the Church!
Stated concisely, if genuine, the Shroud of Turin is likely the most significant object on the planet! The image provides persuasive, physical evidence for "the historical Jesus." Even more significantly, the image furnishes humanity today with powerful evidence for the greatest event in history: the Resurrection of Jesus!
Even after nearly two-thousand years the Shroud remains the incredible, miraculous "testimony of the Father" concerning His Son's death, burial, and Resurrection! Its existence should enhance the believer's hope in resurrection and strengthen his or her faith in Jesus as indeed being the Son of God! (See 1st John 5:5-13)