Recently, I came across another reminder of a matter that periodically surfaces among Christians all across denominational lines. It is the subject of the “shroud of Turin,” which its advocates assert is the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. Detractors say there are too many scientific reasons why the shroud cannot be the burial clothing of Jesus Christ. A basic amount of information about this shroud is found in this link.
I’ve seen documentaries and writings from advocates and detractors and many do not go to the heart of the matter. This link cites radiocarbon dating that the shroud’s fabric dates to the Middle Ages (not the 1st century AD) so it cannot be the burial shroud of Christ. Those who have “faith” in the shroud will not be convinced by scientific objections. The “heart of the matter” is “What do the scriptures say?” Obviously, the scriptures do not directly address the shroud itself, but they do document the burial practices used for Jesus Christ’s body (and for one other prominent person in the Bible who was a friend and contemporary of Jesus Christ). What the Bible records about Jesus Christ’s body after his death conclusively answers whether the shroud is genuine or not. Let’s examine them as they give us their firm answer.
John 20:7 describes the scene after Jesus was resurrected and no longer in the tomb in which his physical remains were buried. The King James Version of the Bible states concerning his grave clothing when Simon Peter saw them: “And the napkin, which was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself (Emphasis added). “For a more modern language version of this verse, the New Scofield Study Bible states: “And the face-cloth, which had been about his head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself (Emphasis added). Clearly, Jesus Christ’s body was not wrapped in a single body-tunic or robe like the “shroud of Turin.” That shroud is a one-piece garment that has a discernible image of a human body on it. The Bible states that Jesus Christ’s body was wrapped in a minimum of three separate burial garments which were not connected to each other. The “linen wrappings” or “linen clothes” are mentioned in the plural so there was a minimum of two body garments and likely several more than that as his body was likely wrapped in fabrics which were wound around his body. Both versions state the head of Jesus’ body was wrapped in a separate burial garment that was obviously not connected to the wrappings that covered his body. Indeed, Peter saw the face garment in a location within the tomb that in a place different from the other grave wrappings and the Scofield Bible states the face-cloth was “rolled up in a place by itself” physically apart from the other burial garments. This scriptural account proves the shroud of Turin cannot be the burial garment of Jesus Christ. His body was wrapped in multiple garments not connected to each other and his facial burial garment was very clearly not attached to the burial garments that had been wrapped around his body.
Whose image is on the shroud of Turin? No one knows. What we do know is that it isn’t the image of Jesus Christ’s body.
The above biblical account of the positioning and numbers of Jesus’ burial garments answers the question in the title of this post. Is the shroud of Turin the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. The answer is a clear “No.” The Bible asserts that Jesus’ body never had a single “shroud” as a burial robe or tunic. For that reason, the shroud of Turin, a single-piece robe-like garment,cannot possibly be the burial garment of Jesus Christ.
This post could satisfactorily end at this point, but I will give an additional scripture that confirms that the shroud of Turin cannot be the burial garment of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ resurrected the body of his friend, Lazarus, Lazarus’ body was clearly buried in the same type of burial garments as was the body of Jesus Christ. John 11:43-44 states that after Jesus shouted the words, “Lazarus, Come forth,” the four-day old dead body of Lazarus (verse 39), became a resurrected Lazarus who clumsily walked out of his tomb still clad in his restraining burial garments. The New Scofield Study Bible translation states Lazarus was still bound hand and foot with wrappings, and “his face was wrapped around with a cloth.” Jesus had to order people to unbind him from his burial wrappings and also from his face cloth. Clearly, Lazarus’ body was buried in the same manner as the body of Jesus Christ: an unspecified number of wrappings which wound around his arms, torso, legs and feet plus a face-cloth that was separate from the other wrappings. The Scripture makes it very obvious that there is no possibility that any single garment covered the body of Jesus Christ. The scriptural evidence shows the shroud of Turin never touched the body of Jesus Christ.