"The question is not how many scholars hold such-and-such a view, or what trends have dominated intellectual thought, or even how surveys tell us the majority of people think. The real issue is what the data tell us about the Jesus of history."
Every year science takes another step in confirming the authenticity of the Biblical story of Jesus. In the last 20 years archaeological findings together with several fascinating DNA and scientific studies have strengthened the evidence for the existence and historical accuracy of Jesus Christ presence on the earth.
We already had extra biblical evidence from Josephus, an early non Christian Jewish historian. We had a number of other written non biblical references to Jesus existence from Thallus (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1), Tacitus (Annals’ of 116AD), Mara Bar-Serapion, Phlegon, Pliny the Younger (letter to the Roman emperor Trajan), Suetonius (Life of Claudius, 25:4). These and other written works have provided significant evidence of Jesus Christ as a real person in history.
In the last 100 years however, and especially in the last 20 years we have seen a substantial increase in scientific evidence for Jesus Christ and his time on earth. Here are a few things I’ve found that support the claim that Jesus Christ walked the earth in human form.
Evidence pointing to Jesus childhood home discovered:
In November of 2006, archeologist Ken Dark is working in the depths of a crypt underneath the “Sisters of Nazareth” convent. As he does so he begins to wonder if he has stumbled upon the childhood home of Jesus Christ. This finding was well documented in 2020 when Ken Dark made public his findings. The home has been confirmed to be from the first century, had prominent value to the first century church and was built by a master craftsman… something Joseph would have been. While it is not conclusive it adds to the already established evidence within scripture and aligns with the timelines.
The biblical “Pool of Siloam” found:
In 2004 the pool of Siloam mentioned in John 9 was found during a drainage system repair. Archaeologists Eli Shukron and Ronny Reich were called in to excavate and unearthed at least 20 steps that led downwards from the street and the pool itself. Pottery was also found from the first century AD. This is widely believed by scholars and archaeologists to be the same pool Jesus healed the blind man.
Jacob’s well confirmed:
In John 4 we read of Jesus encounter with a Samaritan women at Jacob’s well. French archaeologist Andre Parot describes the water from this well as “cool and pleasant-tasting…drawn from a depth of 128 feet.”. This again substantiates the biblical story.
The High Priest Caiaphas Ossuary found:
In Matthew 25 we read of Jesus standing before the high priest Caiaphas before he was handed over to Pilate. The ancient historian, Josephus, records that Caiaphas’s full name was Joseph Caiaphas. In 1990 a construction crew that was building a water park near Jerusalem accidentally bulldozed through the roof of a first century tomb.
Archeologists were called in and they discovered a variety of ossuaries from the first century AD. Ossauries were used in the first century as “bone boxes”. One of these boxes was entitled “Joseph son of Caiaphas”. Inside were six bodies - including one of a 60-year-old man which many scholars believe are the remains of Caiaphas himself.
The Pilate Stone found:
In John 18 after Jesus was handed over from Caiaphas He stood in Pilates Praetorium awaiting judgement. The Pilate Stone was discovered at Caesarea in 1961 and affirms the historicity of Pontius Pilate. This stone is on display in the Isreal Museum in Jerusalem. The judgement seat of Pilate has more recently been discovered as well as announced by archaeologist Joel Kramer. Aside from discovering the location of Pilate’s judgment seat, archaeologists have also found the remains of Pilate’s palace, where Jesus was flogged.
I’ve saved the most interesting one for last here… there are many more recent discoveries that are affirming the Biblical story… but I’ll just cap off with this one about Jesus:
The Shroud of Turin,
The Shroud of Turin has been a controversial part of history for hundreds of years. In the 1980s it appeared to be debunked as being dated to the mid 1300s… however recent scientific studies on this incredible burial blanket have revealed some very interesting findings.
Gary Habermas has spent much of his career specifically studying evidence for Jesus resurrection and the shroud of Turin. His findings are astonishing and while even by his own admission are not conclusive, they add to the already substantial trove of evidence of Jesus life, death and resurrection that already exist. Here is some excerpts from Gary’s exhaustive work on this:
“the nature of the image on the shroud now comes prominently into focus. While it may be said that no image-creating technique has been clearly established, the leading candidate still seems to be that it is most similar to some kind of radiation. In a little-publicized survey by Robert Wilcox of 26 of the 1978 scientific investigators, most did not give a specific answer concerning the cause of the image. Of the seven who did, five said that they thought it fit into the category of radiation.
Add to this John Jackson's hypothesis of a cloth that collapsed "into and through the underlying body structure.'" This and other tantalizing suggestions over the years add to the possibility of radiation being the best suggestion concerning the cause of the shroud image.
Some would go a step further and relate such a scorch to the resurrection of Jesus, as well, although comparatively few have published these views. Robert Bucklin is an exception. He said, "a few of us have openly expressed our opinions that there is support for the resurrection in the things we see on the Shroud of Turin. Elaborating, Bucklin added, "When this medical information is combined with the physical, chemical, and historical facts, there is strong evidence for Jesus' resurrection."
See Gary’s 1999 article here: https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/habermas.pdf
In the last twenty years however more has been added to the debate around the shroud, with DNA on the shroud appearing to indicate an origin right around 30-33 AD.
Wait what? It gets more interesting yet…
That radiation mentioned in Gary’s 1999 article has only recently been confirmed as scientists have now confirmed, the image on the Shroud had to be caused by a mysterious burst of light – that is, electromagnetic radiation! The evidence indicates that the body simply dematerialized without disturbing the blood clots on the cloth… the blood clots that according to Gary’s previous work align with the wounds that Christ endured on the cross and before. The carbon dating that in 1988 had incorrectly dated the shroud to the 1200s has been found to be flawed with all of the research and testing the shroud has undergone in the last 20 plus years.
The faint high-resolution, photographic-negative, 3-D image that appeared on the cloth after the wounds, blood flows and blood clots had formed - impossible to replicate - had to have been formed with incredible electromagnetic power. Ironically, such a burst of radioactive energy would also greatly affect carbon dating.
Gary Habermas in a 2015 interview remarked:
"This is one of the best indications that the man in the Shroud, who was dead and was crucified, (has) radiation coming out," he said of the teeth discovery. "And if that's what this is, you've got something from the inside (coming out).
"(The teeth) are on the inside, but on the photo they are showing outside. Whichever way (the radiation) is coming, it dragged the image from the inside to the outside."
While I could continue just on this piece… my point is simply this. Jesus Christ existed - even still exists in human form. His teachings are held by both skeptics and believers as revolutionary. His impact on history is undeniable. His claims were astonishing… calling himself “the IAM”… even saying that He was there at the creation of the world.
Today as I write this… on December 25th of 2023 I am contemplating the impact of Jesus appearance on this earth. What will I do with Jesus?
I know what I will do… I will seek Him, continue to search His truths, press into His presence through prayer and submission. Not being perfect but rather being perfected by a Jesus that is authentic, real and present.
What will you do with Jesus?
Relegate Him as liar?
Reject Him as lunatic?
Or… accept Him as Lord?
I would challenge everyone to look for His truth and allow themselves to be transformed by the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead? There is so much more to Jesus than a baby, a manger and a few wise men!