Summary: Easter. Have no fear, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary reinforces the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is real, factual, effective. (this is short and is a summary, not a full argument)

Note: We had a full easter musical, so this is a short sumary on the topic. For full details, google the names mentioned.

If you have taken a tour of the Holy Land one of the site you probably visited is the garden tomb of Jesus. Who has been there? It is pretty fantastic isn’t it?

It really is a moving experience. Though it is a moving experience, it is not the tomb of Jesus, it is an example of the type of tomb that Jesus was placed in, but it is not the tomb of Jesus. Wouldn’t it be great if archeologists found the actual tomb of Jesus?

I tell you what, I sure would want to go and see it, wouldn’t you? How awesome would that be to be in the very place, the very place, that Jesus was resurrected. It gives me the chills just thinking about it….

How you heard about the “The Lost Tomb Of Jesus”? Interesting stuff.

Funny how Jesus keeps getting into the news. The Lost Tomb Of Jesus is a documentary film (with a related book) by director Simcha Jacobovici and producer James Cameron (who brought us “the Titanic”). They claim to have identified actual the tomb of Jesus and his family in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiyot.

They even have head of the religious studies department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, James Tabor behind them. He worked closely with the producer in the making of the film.

Now the thing is, they claim to have found more than the lost tomb of Jesus, they claim to have found the bones of Jesus Christ.

Now that is quit a claim, a claim that is going to produce a nice buzz on the talk show circuit.

So you and I, we hear this news as we are flipping through channels, or reading the paper with our morning coffee…the bones of Jesus have been found – wow - what are we to make of this?

The film makers have received a lot of flack about making their documentary. They seemed surprised – why should something controversial be criticized?

Their general response to the criticism has been that Christian religious zealots are afraid of people questioning their faith; They ask why can’t we question the Christian faith?

You know, to one degree they are right, why can’t we question the Christian faith?

I suppose there are people who hear news like this, and, well, freak out.

But, you know, I think the Lord Jesus Christ invites us to question every aspect of our faith, without any fear – especially His resurrection. I think Jesus wants us to question, because he is the answer, and I believe the firm and solid answer for each one of us here today.

The real reason the film makers are getting a lot of flack isn’t because those offering criticism are religious zealots who fear questions of faith, (the fact is that many of the critics and not Christians, or perhaps even religious), the film makers are getting flack because their whole theory is just plain nonsense, or as one archeologist said about James Tabor, the scholar attached to the film, “he’s fighting a losing battle” because the evidence is mounting daily against him.

Now I do not have time to address all the details about the lost tomb of Jesus this morning (believe me there are tons of details) and so I will just look at some highlights. We are just going to look at a summary today, but you can look into this further to get the details. I have in the bulletin three places you can go on the internet to get in depth details. These people are solid people who are experts on the matter:

Professor Jodi Magness of the Society of Biblical Literature and

Steven Feldman of the Bible Archaeological Society – they give great in depth analysis; also

Dr. James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary – he gives a solid concise summary of the subject. Just Google them and you’ll find them, no problem.

(Note to reader: Start with and go to the lost tomb of Jesus links. There you will see links to both Jodi and James...and endless links from there)

Well, let’s quickly look at the claims and then, let’s look at the facts:

The basic claim is this:

The tomb found was the family tomb of Jesus and that the boxes containing bones found in the tomb are the bones of Jesus and his family – The film makers contend that this is proven by the names found written on the boxes in the tomb.

Here are the facts:

The tomb was found in 1980, 27 years ago, and was seen by the state of Israel as of no archeological significance. Professor Amos Kloner, who oversaw the original dig dismisses the documentary calling it, “completely impossible. It’s nonsense.” The bones found inside were reburied soon thereafter as is the practice in Israel so the film makers did not have access to the bones.

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