Archeology of Easter
Biblical archaeology reporter, Bryan Windle, walked us through the latest discoveries about the historical evidence for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Discussion with Bryan Windle
We were thrilled to have Bryan on the show to talk to us about the archaeology of Easter! He was recently a guest on Krista's Theology Mom podcast back in December where he talked about the archaeology of Christmas. You can check out that conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/live/-i9X3ecT3QA?feature=share
Bryan Windle is a pastor, researcher, and writer in Ontario, Canada. He teaches with a passion for highlighting the historical context of each passage as well as how archaeology demonstrates the reliability of Scripture. Bryan follows the latest happenings in the world of biblical archaeology and publishes a weekly blog called Bible Archaeology Report (see resource links below). His goal is to make biblical archaeology more accessible to the average person, and in particular, the younger generations.
Here are some highlights from our discussion with Bryan:
Why is Jesus' resurrection and its tie to history & archaeology so important?
For Christians, Easter represents the climactic event in all of human history--the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ!
1 Peter 2:24
1 Corinthians 15
Christianity rises and falls based on the death and resurrection of Jesus. We can look at archaeology and look for evidence of these claims.
The historicity of Jesus is important! Bryan has two blog posts on this topic:
Top Ten Discoveries Related to Jesus: https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2021/04/02/top-ten-discoveries-related-to-jesus/
Top Ten Historical References to Jesus Outside of the Bible: https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2022/11/18/top-ten-historical-references-to-jesus-outside-of-the-bible/
The good news for Christians--there is A LOT of evidence to support Christianity! We are not building our faith on a legend or embellished story that we *hope* is true.
When the Bible tells us about places, people, and geography, these are details we need to pay attention to! For instance, the Garden of Gesthemane. What do we know about Gesthemane?
Gesthemane means "olive press" or "the place where oil is pressed."
No actual mention of "Garden" of Gesthemane in the Bible, but instead references to olive trees/olive grove. Therefore, the question for archaeologists would be: Is there evidence to suggest there was a place where olives were pressed from the 1st Century? Short answer: YES!
Who was Annas? Was he a real person?
He was definitely a real person! He was a wily old guy! He had been the High Priest from AD 6 to AD 15. He got his sons and son-in-laws into the role after him. He often influenced the reigning High Priest (because they were his sons/son-in-laws). Jesus was led to Annas to be interrogated...John 18:13.
What about Pontius Pilate? What do we know about him?
He was the Roman Governor of Judea. He was the one who convicted Jesus. Information from Tacitus is provided from his historical writings. Archaeology also relates to Pontius Pilate...a stone engraving mentions him as Prefect.
What do we know about crucifixion?
The Romans didn't invent crucifixion, but they perfected it as a method of execution and torture. It likely originated with the Assyrians and was also used by the Persians.
Romans crucified thousands and thousands of people and they did so publicly. In 1968, a heelbone of a man who was crucified was found (showing that crucified people could still receive a proper burial).
What about the "Shroud of Tourin" or the linens Jesus was wrapped in?
Testing has shown the shroud to be an authentic, 1st Century burial shroud, but to there is no way to know if it was the actual cloth that Jesus was buried in.
What do we know about burial practices during the 1st Century?
Typically, the body would be anointed with oils and then be put in a cave-like tomb. After about a year or so, the bones could be removed and placed in an ossuary, which is a chest or container used as a final resting place for the deceased.
Of course, the question about Jesus' tomb always comes up! People want to know:
Where was Jesus' tomb?
There are three locations that are potential burial sites of Jesus' body. Bryan has an article that describes the 3 potential locations and reasons for the conclusion he's made as to which location is *most likely* the tomb site. Check it out here:
What about the James Ossuary?
Bryan has a brand new article out about that! Check it out here:
In conclusion, archaeology is the study of the material remains that humans have left behind. Archaeology can show us a lot about a culture and time period. It can also demonstrate that our faith is rooted and grounded in space-time history, but it CANNOT prove a miraculous event beyond any reasonable doubt. We can make educated inferences, but we must remember that we walk by faith.
The team recommends these resources:
Bryan's blog, "Bible Archaeology Report": https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/
Associates for Biblical Research: https://biblearchaeology.org/
Check out the great content from Bryan and his colleagues on YouTube at, "Digging for Truth":
Connect with the Guest
Personal website: https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/
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Closing Thoughts and Show Sponsors!
Krista and Monique's thoughts on the Nashville shooting:
--Hits close to home as the pastor of the church where this occurred is an alum of BTS
--*This* is WHY the truth of the resurrection matters! As Christians, we have a living hope and we will one day be resurrected with Christ
--Back in 2020, there was a call to "say the names" of the Black victims who were killed by police officers...why isn't anyone calling out to say the names of the school victims?
--There is a purposeful narrative here...the media is portraying Christianity as the oppressor and the shooter as a victim/marginalized.
--Important for us to differentiate between ideas and individuals! As we walk a road with people who are struggling, we must not give up on people. We can be compassionate, but also need to bring clarity. Remember, we're in a spiritual battle! Ephesians 6:12
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