What is your feeling about this Jesus tomb found in Jerusalem?  They say the odds of a "Jesus son of Joseph" and Mary on the same tomb together is 1 out of 600.  Does this mean Jesus had a son? 

When I saw the article in yesterday's paper, I just knew someone would eventually ask about it.

Let's look at what is known:

1) A tomb was found in 1980 with ten limestone burial boxes. Five of the ten boxes are inscribed with names also used in the Bible. Among them are:

  1. Jesus, son of Joseph
  2. Mary
  3. Judah, son of Jesus
  4. Jose
  5. Matthew

2) The names were in common use in those days. There is another such burial box marked "Jesus, son of Joseph" on display in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a part of a traveling museum exhibition of early Christian artifacts.

3) DNA tests on the bones in the box marked "Jesus" and "Mary" show that the individuals were not near relatives.

4) The tomb where these burial boxes were found is quite a ways from the location of Jesus' tomb indicated in the Scriptures and marked by tradition.

Now let's look at what is not known:

1) A 1 in 600 odds is not that impressive. I live in a town of 800,000 people. That would mean that if we had the same odds for names and burial, there would be 1,333 tombs in our area with the name "Jesus, son of Joseph." Thus, we do not know this is the same Jesus mentioned in the Bible.

2) The researchers concluded that this Jesus and Mary were married solely on the fact that they were not related.

3) Though they have a box marked Judah, son of Jesus, no DNA studies of this box's contents were mentioned. Wouldn't you think it would have been of interested to see if the son had a DNA match to the Jesus and the Mary in this tomb?

4) Why are the other five boxes being ignored when they were in the same tomb?

As reported in McClatchy Newspapers: "Biblical experts and archaeologists who are familiar with the central evidence instantly discounted the claim as an ill-informed, recycled publicity grab. ... When the tomb was uncovered in 1980, specialists were called. The man who lead the effort was Amos Kloner, and archeologist from Bar Illan University, who meticulously documented the findings. ... After watching a review copy of the documentary, Kloner critiized it as little more than a publicity stunt. 'The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any new idea. It is only an attempt to sell,' Kloner said. 'It's a waste of money.'"

What is worse, is that all of this "excitement" ignores the direct evidence given by the eye-witnesses of Jesus' death. All the gospel accounts tell us that the tomb of Jesus was found empty three days after his burial. In Acts 1 we read that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven. The Bible cannot be accepted as true and for a box containing Jesus' bones to exist at the same time. In addition, God stated long before that Jesus would have no descendants. "He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken" (Isaiah 53:8). If Jesus had children, then this prophecy would be false. Like a thread unraveling a clothe, the entire Bible would be untrustworthy as a result.

But, the fact remains that these people have not found the tomb of Jesus. Nor could they ever prove it. But Christians have the recorded testimoney of reliable eye-witnesses whose words were proven by miraculous signs given by God. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full" (I John 1:1-4).

This is just another scheme of man to interject doubt against the unstopable kingdom of Christ.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Apologetics
Questions and Answers regarding Jesus