Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

The Lost Tomb of Jesus?

Many of you saw news about the cable TV program concerning "the lost tomb of Jesus and his family" in Jerusalem.   The Jewish archeologists who first examined the tomb and its contents in 1980 (thirty years ago -- old news!), and many experts who have studied this site since then, are very sure that the bones found in the tomb do NOT belong to Jesus Christ or any of His relatives.   Why not?

(1) The place is wrong.  Jewish tombs were near the family home.  Home for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus was Galilee (northern Israel), not Judea or Jerusalem (southern Israel). 

(2) The kind of tomb is wrong.  Archeologists report that the large tomb shown on the TV program was the tomb of a wealthy family.  Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were all poor folk.

(3) Archeologists who are experts in reading ancient scripts report that the names written on the boxes containing human bones were not exactly as the TV program suggested.  Among the names found there were Joseph (Yosef), Mary (Maria), Jesus (Yeshua), and others.  However, these were very common names in Israel during Bible times. In the New Testament we find many Marys, several Josephs, and even three different men named Jesus.  But here is the real zinger: The name the TV program ascribes to Mary Magdalene as "Mary the Master," was not Mary at all!  It was "Mariamene, who [is called] Mara."

The historical record reports that more than 500 eye witnesses saw Jesus physically alive during the 40 days following His resurrection.  Some touched Him and some ate with Him.  Even His enemies published a report that 
His tomb was empty.  The resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian gospel.  The enemies of Christ could have easily destroyed the church simply by showing the world where Jesus was buried.  If there was no resurrection, Jesus would have been a 100% fraud, His crucifixion would have been pointless, and we would have no forgiveness.  But the tomb of Jesus is empty, because He lives, proving that all He promised is true!

Dr. Paul Maier is a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University.  Read his analysis of the evidence here.