Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the day Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples before his crucifixion. On Good Friday, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus and reflect on the meaning of His death and resurrection.
Then comes Easter Sunday, a joyous celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and a celebration of eternal life in Him. Together, these three days represent a journey from sorrow to joy, from grief to hope and from death to new life.
Dr Brendan Roach, Founder and President of Axx Bible Teaching Ministry, is passionate about archaeology and dedicated to teaching the Word of God and training people for ministry. He recently joined us on 20Twenty to share his belief that archaeological evidence provides a better understanding of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus during Easter.
The Historical Nature of the Bible
Brendan had the privilege of studying biblical archaeology at Hebrew University, spending three months in Jerusalem. He says one of the most interesting discoveries that was made was a crucifixion nail through the heel bone of a man around the time of Jesus.
‘Biblical archaeology provides evidence of the truth and the historical nature of the Bible,’ says Brendan. ‘For example, we know The Holy Sepulchre has a history dating back to the fourth century of Christians who have come and worshipped there as an actual physical location.’
For visitors to The Holy Sepulchre, Brendan shares that they can explore behind the tomb of Jesus and find other tombs from the same era. This is a result of Jerusalem being plowed back to its foundations during Roman occupation.
A typical practice in the ancient world was for conquering empires to build temples over existing religious sites to demonstrate their dominance, and at The Holy Sepulchre, there is even graffiti from the second century that further supports this theory.
‘We also need to know about the Garden Tomb,’ says Brendan. ‘We know what a wonderful site it is. The Garden Tomb has the skull-shaped rock, which is linked to the idea of Golgotha as a place of execution. Then there is the actual tomb itself. But the one thing that says this is not the location, is that many archaeologists in the last 20 years have examined the site with new techniques.’
Brendon says he loves the Garden tomb, and he enjoys going there to pray and reflect on Jesus’s death. ‘But unfortunately, the Garden Tomb is not the location, in my humble opinion.’
Bringing The Story To Life
Archaeology has continued to help bring the narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ alive. Through excavation, researchers have been able to uncover pieces that support and provide greater insight into the events that took place that day.
‘As we approach Easter,’ says Brendan, ‘It can become all about the resurrection. But on Good Friday, let’s remember the suffering. Let’s actually take communion and weep for what Jesus did for us.’