Summary: The Discovery Channel recently aired a documentary titled, "The Jesus Family Tomb," in which they assert that a tomb was found containing the bones of Jesus and other family members. This sermon examines what really happened on that first Sunday.

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Last month the Discovery Channel aired a television documentary titled, “The Jesus Family Tomb.” HarperSanFrancisco released a book by the same title at the same time.

The documentary (and book) claims that a tomb discovered in Jerusalem in 1980 contains the family burial plot of Jesus Christ.

Spearheaded by a well-known TV director named Simcha Jacobovici, and produced by “Titanic” director James Cameron, “The Jesus Family Tomb” is a slick and suspenseful narrative about the 1980 discovery of a first-century burial cave that contained ten bone boxes, which are known as ossuaries.

With the help of statisticians, archaeologists, historians, DNA experts, robot-cameras, epigraphers and CSI experts from New York’s Long Island, Jacobovici puts together a case in which he argues that the bones found in the tomb belong to the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and other family members. Moreover, Jacobovici argues that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and that one of the ossuaries contains the bones of Judah, the son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene!

Now, what we are to make about such claims?

Christians believe that Jesus is alive, and that he rose from the dead on the third day, physically and bodily. The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

There are many reasons to dispel the notion that the bones found in Jerusalem in 1980 belong to Jesus. The main reason is in fact that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion.

Jesus’ tomb was indeed found, not in 1980, but, three days after he was crucified. And when Jesus’ followers found it on that first Resurrection Sunday morning, he was not there—he was raised from the dead, just as he said!

Let me draw your attention to John 20:1-8, an historic eye-witness account of the first followers of Jesus who went to his burial tomb on what we now call Resurrection Sunday:

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (John 20:1-8).


In the television documentary titled, “The Jesus Family Tomb,” the thesis is proposed that Jesus’ body was stolen by his followers and then re-buried in another family tomb—the tomb that was discovered in 1980.

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