My husband likes to watch the History channel. He also like to put on programs about Christianity, Religion in general, or the Bible and make me watch them with him. This rarely ends well. I usually do not like what I hear and he doesn’t like that I have to speak up about it. It was another usual experience last week when he put on “Jesus: The Lost 40 Days.” The purpose of this show is to “fill in the gaps in the historical record.” Meaning that the producers of this show want to fill in what happened where scripture is silent. There are four gospels and they each contain an account of the Resurrection, as well as encounters with Jesus before the Ascension. Using the Shroud of Turin as a basis for the face of Jesus, a team of computer experts sets out to create a visual representation of the Resurrection, Jesus appearing to the disciples, and other visions of Jesus up to the ascension.
(Image courtesy of matthew2262.wordpress.com)
I found myself thinking most about whether the Shroud of Turin was real. Even though this was not the main crux of the program, nor did they even discuss the controversy over the Shroud, I find that to be quite a philosophical minefield for many people. Humanity has spent countless dollars and man hours searching for artifacts, relics that prove scripture. We have searched and searched for evidence that will prove to disbelieves that there really was a destructive flood in Genesis, that there really was an Exodus from Egypt, that Jesus did rise from the dead. We have not found any indisputable evidence, and I do not think we ever will. Why? If we have indisputable evidence, then our faith does not need to be as strong. That’s standing on fact, not faith.
Facts will not save us from death or the power of sin. Facts will not heal our damaged spirits. Jesus tells both the sinful woman (Luke 7:50) and the blind beggar near Jericho (Luke 18:42) that it was their faith that saved them. Even as the disciples witnessed his many miracles, he asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25), because it was vital that they have it. If God gave us all the proof we wanted, all that science demanded, then we would not need strong faith. God wills it otherwise. God gives each one of us our own personal experience with the divine which is enough proof for each individual. Is it enough to convince Atheists? Of course not. Is it conclusive, scientific proof? No. If God wanted to give us proof, God could. If God wanted to prove Jesus rose from the dead, then Jesus would be here in the flesh on worldwide television, giving DNA samples out like candy to anyone who wanted to put it under a microscope.
Instead, I have had a personal experience. There are no words which can describe it, no physical evidence to reveal it. There are no photographs, no video, no forensic evidence to enter. Just me, and my testimony. Which you have to take on faith. Not so different from the testimonies for four authors who wrote down their experiences in the Gospels. So we can keep looking for proof, searching for facts to justify our belief. Or, we can do what Jesus asks and have faith, letting it heal us and the world as God has done for two thousand years. It’s a slow process, but who am I to question the will of God?