And He (the LORD) said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O LORD God, You know." Then He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.'" Ezekiel 37:3-5
Can dry bones live? Can they tell a story?
The book of Ezekiel says, "Yes." Today, James D. Tabor, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, most certainly would agree.
Professor Tabor has recent photographs of a first-century tomb in Jerusalem, which shows some ossuaries or bone boxes.
That's not unusual. Bone boxes which date before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem are found on a pretty regular basis. But these bone boxes are different, really different.
They are different because of their engravings. On one of the boxes there is a four-line Greek inscription that speaks about God "raising up" somebody. Another nearby bone box seems to be telling the story of Jonah: the story Jesus used to describe His own resurrection.
In short, these boxes are really different because they appear to be the burial boxes of Christians, Christians who died right around the time the Gospels were being written. Now if everything the professor is saying is true, it is quite a negative blow for skeptical souls who say,
1. Christianity is a faith which slowly developed in later centuries;
2. the disciples made up the story of Jesus' resurrection;
3. Jesus never physically rose from the dead;
4. Jesus revived in the tomb, ran away with Mary Magdalene, and founded the French ruling dynasty.
Now you and I know believers don't need all kinds of outside proof to believe on the Savior and His blood-bought plan of salvation. We know in Scripture we have been given all that is necessary to have a saving faith.
We also know, as the story of the rich man and Lazarus says, if unbelievers "... 'do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead'" (Luke 16:31b).
Still, there is a certain satisfaction in knowing the evidence that is being unearthed by archaeologists is overwhelmingly substantiating Holy Scripture and what God's people have known and believed all along.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "The fool says in his heart 'There is no God' ..." (Psalm 14:1a). Please send Your Holy Spirit upon those who doubt, so they may see the reality of Your love and the salvation found in the Savior's resurrection. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries