“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Php. 3:10)
The Shroud of Turin is a relic held by the Catholic Church in Turin, Italy. It is believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ.
Whether real or fake, there are a few facts about it that cannot be disputed.It is approximately 12 ft. long and 2 ft. wide with discolorations in the cloth that resemble the figure of a man that would have been laid on the cloth with his feet at one end and then the cloth would have been folded over the head to cover the front of the body ending at his feet.
When a photograph of the shroud is taken, the negative of the photograph clearly shows the image of the front and back of a man bearing in his body the exact wounds that the Bible declares were inflicted upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
The wounds in his hands and feet from the nails, the spear hole in his side, the stripes upon his back, the thorn prints in his head, all there exactly as the Bible describes.
Scientists cannot duplicate nor can they explain what caused the discolorations in the cloth.The only thing similar that they know of were negative imprints of individuals found on the rubble left by the flash and blast of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.
One can only imagine the power that was manifested when God raised Jesus from the dead in the borrowed tomb on that first Resurrection Sunday.
Whether the Shroud of Turin is real or not is not the issue. The real issue is the power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What is the power of the resurrection? Before we can answer that question, we must first understand who God is.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exo. 3:14)
“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exo. 3:15)
The LORD is the Hebrew word Yhovah (Jehovah) which means the “self-existent one.”
The Lord said that He is “I AM THAT I AM”. In other words “I exist because I cause myself to exist.”
Every person, every place, everything is dependent on someone or something else in order to exist. If you did not have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat you could not continue to live. If gravity did not hold you to the earth you would fly off into space and die.
Animals are dependent upon the same things we are. Plants are dependent upon water, soil, and sun. Sea creatures are dependent upon the oceans and seas. Even the earth itself is dependent upon the gravitational pull of the sun to keep it in orbit.
Everything is dependent upon something else in order to survive, EXCEPT FOR GOD. God is only dependent upon himself to survive. He is “the self-existent one.”
That is why the Bible says, “Power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11) God is the source of all power, even the power which He needs to exist.
Now let’s look to Jesus.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
The Jewish religious leaders were questioning Jesus, and Jesus made the statement that Abraham had rejoiced to see His day. When they contended with Him about the statement, Jesus said that before Abraham had even existed, I AM. He used the term for the self-existent one, and they wanted to stone Him.
We see the proof of Jesus statement in what happened at His crucifixion and resurrection.
After the crucifixion of Jesus, He knowing that all things were accomplished according to the Scriptures said, “It is finished” and gave up the ghost.
Wanting the executions to be finished because of the Sabbath, the officials gave the commandment to break their legs so they would be unable to push themselves up to take a breath, and thus would suffocate.
The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves that were crucified on either side of Jesus, but when they came to Jesus they saw that he was already dead.
They thrust a spear up and into His side just to make sure that He was dead and unknowingly fulfilled two prophecies about Christ.
“For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:36-37)
Then something happened that became one of the foundation stones of the early Church, not only establishing their faith in who Jesus is but also in the power of His resurrection.
“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” (John 19:34-35)
The Apostle John emphasized twice that there came out blood and water. He wanted to make sure the reader realized that this occurred because this understanding is a basis for believing.
What did the blood and water mean?
There was something special about the believer understanding that there was water and blood.
There is a membrane filled with clear fluid that surrounds the heart called the pericardium. The blood and water that flowed from the wound made by the huge Roman spear is proof that the spear pierced the pericardium and the heart of Jesus.
With His arms outstretched on the cross and the nail holes in His wrists and feet, the piercing of His heart assured that all of the blood that was in His body flowed out upon the ground.
There was no blood left in His body.
This was the miracle of the resurrection!
There had been other people in Scripture that God had brought back from the dead. Jesus had raised the son of the widow of Nain and He had raised the daughter of Jairus. He had even raised Lazarus from the grave and Lazarus had begun to decompose. There had even been other prophets that had raised the dead back to life.
But there had never been anyone raised from the dead who had been drained completely of all their blood.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)
When Jesus rose from the dead there was no blood flowing through His veins. This is why it was so hard for Thomas to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave. Thomas had seen the blood pour out of the body of Jesus. It had all been left at Calvary. As a matter of fact, there was a huge gaping hole in the heart of Jesus.
Even if God did bring Jesus back to life, how could Jesus live if there was no blood to flow through His veins? “The life of the flesh is in the blood.”
“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:26)
“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27)
“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
The hole was still in His side. There was no blood flowing through His veins. Yet, He was alive. There could only be one explanation.
Thomas said, “My Lord and My God.”
He is the “I AM THAT I AM.”
He is “The self-existent One.”
Thomas knelt and worshiped Him. Jesus said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
This is the power of the resurrection: a life totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to live.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
This is when we enter into the midst of the river, waters to swim in; waters that cannot be crossed over, but waters that catch us up and sweep us along in His direction according to His will.
This is when we awake each day realizing that my life today is totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. That every step I take, every decision I make is as dependent upon the Holy Spirit flowing in me as my body is dependent upon food to eat and air to breathe.
This is when our communion with the Holy Ghost is so close and constant that His faith and power for miracles is as natural as taking our next breath.