Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Real Face of Jesus?

Anyone catch the documentary "The Real Face of Jesus?" on the History Channel last night?  I caught wind of this yesterday morning, as they talked about it on Good Morning America and I thought it would be interesting to watch.  Unfortunately, I missed the first hour of it, as I came home from Divine Service last night and turned on the Red Wings game.  After the game, it dawned on me, so I tuned in.  Fascinating stuff.  A group of scientists spent a year using sophisticated computer technology to create a 3-D image of the face (and body) of the man whose image is captured on the Shroud of Turin

The Shroud has always fascinated me, especially in its ability to give modern scientists fits.  They can't figure it out.  Is it a fake?  Is it authentic?  If it's authentic, could it be the actual burial cloth of Jesus?  If it's a fake, how did the person(s) who fabricated it pull it off?  How did that image get on that cloth?  No one has come up with a definitive answer to these questions yet.  Some think they have, of course, but they haven't.  The Shroud continues to defy modern science.  Just when they think they've figured it out, new evidence derived from better technology sends them back to the drawing board.  Hundreds of thousands of hours have been spent studying and analyzing the Shroud and it remains a mystery.  Fascinating, indeed.

Anyway, this new documentary is very interesting.  Whether or not these scientists have actually produced the "real face" of Jesus, we'll never know, since, well, we can't say for sure whether or not the Shroud is Jesus' burial cloth.  But, their process and conclusions are intriguing, and they make a compelling argument for having created a 3-D image of the man on the cloth, whether Jesus or not.  Here's the video from Good Morning America advertising the documentary:

You can also read about this here:
What I find amusing about this story is the warning reporters feel compelled to issue to viewers, such as this one, also from Good Morning America (found within this post): 
Viewers should be prepared: The results achieved through the convergence of science and religion doesn't resemble the popularized images of Jesus. 
Now, think about this.  If the Shroud was proven authentic and the 3-D image created from the Shroud by these scientists proved to be the "real face of Jesus," it would be very odd to imagine that Christians would be bummed since it "doesn't resemble the popularized images of Jesus."  I would think that we Christians would be pretty darned excited to have such an artifact that substantiates our faith and gives us an accurate picture of our Savior.  Duh!  What these reporters don't understand (not surprisingly) is that we Christians do not put our faith in the "popularized images of Jesus" and recognize that we do not know exactly what He looked like.  Besides, which "popularized images of Jesus" are they talking about?  Jesus has been depicted in many and various ways throughout history.  If they're talking about the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus popular here in America, I hate to burst their bubble, but we're already well aware of the fact that our Savior did not look like that.  The fact that they think this new face of Jesus would shake the faith of Christians shows how very little they understand about Christianity (again, not surprising).  
The bottom line is that we don't need a Shroud or a 3-D image extracted from a Shroud to authenticate our faith.  So, whether you are a believer or a skeptic, it matters not.  We have God's Word, and that is authentic.  And that Word assures us that our Savior, Jesus Christ, lived, died, and rose again from the dead for us.  We need not know what He looked like.  Those of us who have been given the faith to believe in Him will find that out soon enough! (and so will everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, when He returns on the Last Day). 


meggers said...

I saw an article on this yesterday and immediately dimissed the concept when I read the fine print: "Some images have been enhanced for dramatic effect."

Thanks scientists, but I will stick with the Jesus I see during Divine Service. I KNOW that is real.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

I hear ya. Still, what they've done is very interesting. And, from what I saw, the "enhancements" were limited to adding eyebrows and skin pores (and color). But, yes, better to stick with the Jesus we see during Divine Service ("Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation . . .").

IggyAntiochus said...

I didn't see the show, and only saw the first minutes of the ABC report, but I hope this "Jesus" they are talking about looks like a 30 year old Jewish man living in the Middle East around the time of Christ.

To Megan's point, if the disciples on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize the resurrected Jesus until the breaking of the bread, how else would we recognize Him?!