(Jesus said) "And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there He is!' do not believe it." Mark 13:21
Through most of last year we heard skeptics say, "Jesus wasn't real and, if He was, He certainly didn't rise from the dead."
Last week the wind blew from another direction.
Simcha Jacobovici, a man who has won TV's Emmy Award three times, claims he is in possession of two Roman nails that might have been the very ones used in Jesus' crucifixion.
Now the Romans made a lot of nails. So what is so special about these nails to encourage anybody to make such a statement? Jacobovici comes up with a number of reasons.
First, these nails were supposed to have been found in the tomb of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who was instrumental in Jesus' death.
Second, the nails have tips that are curved. The curved tips, Jacobovici claims, were necessary to stop the condemned from pulling himself off his cross.
So there you have it. Is it powerful proof that Jesus was crucified?
No, not really. The Israel Antiquities Authority -- the group that oversaw the excavation of the tomb -- says nails are often found in ancient graves, and they can't be sure the tomb belonged to Caiaphas at all. I might add there is no explanation as to why Caiaphas would keep the nails rather than getting rid of them.
The reality is this: Scripture tells us God's Son, the Savior of the world, was crucified with the blessing of the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate. The Gospels record Jesus' resurrection, the change in the disciples from cowards to proclaimers and the eyewitness corroboration of hundreds who say they personally saw Jesus alive.
This means all the criticism of doubters and deniers, all the proof given by those who -- like Jacobovici -- make empirical claims, must always be seen in the light of God's Word.
Paul made that point in his letter to the Corinthians: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures ... After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 6).
And that ought to nail it down.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your resurrection which guarantees I shall also live with You. May I live in a way that others may see the faith You have given. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries