The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Are we getting the 'naked' truth: Is the tomb really empty?

It was really weird.

I was laying on the sofa Sunday afternoon, trying to get some badly needed rest to combat an oncoming cold, when daughter Elizabeth stopped flipping the channels long enough to catch some show called (and I kid you not) "The Naked Archaeologist."

It seems we caught two episodes, but I'm not sure. Chalk it up to the fog of phlegm. But the one episode I recall was a pseudo-debate over whether King David's biblical empire was a real empire, or whether he was just another Jewish boy in the hood. Elizabeth and I chuckled at the cheezy cuts of old movie clips and cartoonish images. It was more humorous than informative, and only slightly balanced.

We sort of liked it.

And then, there he was on the Monday morning news show with the mighty James Cameron of "Titanic" fame. I found out "The Naked Archaeologist" actually had a name: Simcha Jacobovici. I also found out he wasn't an archaeologist at all, but maintains he's merely a journalist detailing and interpreting the findings of those who wear the true cloth of archaeologists. (I guess he is naked after all, huh?)

And what was he detailing and interpreting now? The supposed discovery of the tomb of Jesus, replete with the ossuary that he believes once held the Messiah's bones.

Well, what he was really detailing on network news was that we can all find out more about this by either buying his book, "The Jesus Family Tomb," which went on sale Tuesday, or watching "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" on The Discovery Channel on Sunday.

I'm almost surprised they didn't debut this thing on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, or Easter Monday with Wal-Mart placards proclaiming, "The Tomb Isn't Empty!" But then they would miss all those sales between now and Easter. After, all, if you're going to claim that the tomb is not empty, that there was no physical resurrection, you want to give people plenty of time to get razzled.

Pardon me if I sound cynical, particularly since I have yet to read the book or see the film; in fact, I really shouldn't get started on this, but as a pastor and journalist, I am already facing questions from people. So, here are some questions of my own that I trust will receive some answers:

  • Probably even more so than today, there were a lot of attempts to discredit the faith during the days of the early church. If there was truly a 'Jesus family tomb' located just outside of Jerusalem, don't you think someone would have said then, "No, no! The tomb is NOT empty. There he is, right over there!"
  • Isn't it just as possible -- or even just as nakedly ridiculous -- that in the days of the early church, someone seeking to discredit the faith could have set up a hoax 'Jesus family tomb' just outside of Jerusalem, saying, "No, no! He is not risen! There he is, right over there!"

  • I'm not a scholar of the writings of Flavious Josephus and his "Antiquities of the Jews," so The Naked Journalist will have to tell me: Did Josephus mention this? Certainly he would have ...
  • I'm curious: What does the DNA of someone who is 100 percent human and 100 percent divine look like?

Just some early questions that I hope "The Naked Archaeologist" addresses.

Finally -- and I've penned this in something of a rush, so forgive me -- but the question is not, "Was the tomb really empty," but "Is the tomb empty for you?"