Last week, a limestone box made quite a stir. Apparently, some 15 years ago, a man in Jerusalem obtained an "ossuary" (a small box used to hold human bones) at an antique store, and just recently it was discovered to have very interesting carvings on it. In the first century, people were buried in cave-like holes carved in the rock of hills. The need for tombs commonly exceeded the availability, and to free up “tomb space,” they would remove a loved one’s bones after a year and place them in a box. The carvings on ossuaries usually made reference to whose bones they held. This box gathering such attention was inscribed with three names, very uncommon. It reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The question swirls: “Is this the Jesus? If so, it would be the earliest historic artifact referring to Jesus. Historians say this find could rival the Dead Sea scrolls in their importance. I say, “so what?”
I find it interesting that a box is sparking renewed debate about the existence of Jesus. Ironic actually, because many times, our scope of understanding is referred to as a box. It doesn’t matter what it is, Jesus, physics, or space-time continuum; our minds can understand and comprehend a defined set of principles or specific sets of data—that’s our box. Anything challenging the contents of our box, or seeking to enlarge it, is questioned, debated, and often dismissed as improbable.
This is precisely what Jesus has been doing since He arrived on the scene, challenging the contents of people’s boxes. Everyone was looking for a savior, He had been prophesied about for years, but no one wanted to believe He would arrive as a baby born in a barn. A messiah, one who would deliver Israel out of oppression, is anticipated. A mighty man who would conquer the ruling kings and free all people. No one could imagine a simple man who would challenge the religious leaders of the day, so they killed him. End of the story? More than 2000 years later, you tell me.
So what’s in your box? What does it say about Jesus? Mine is a mess. He surpasses my understanding daily. He is constantly overflowing the edges, and just when I think I understand what He’s all about, He grows a little bigger. Most days all I know for sure is that my life is incredibly changed for the better since I put Him in my box. And the truth is, once He entered, He changed the way I view everything else in my box.
In spiritual matters, it’s difficult to find ancient pots and pans to help you understand. The Bible says many won’t be able to understand spiritual truths—they will seem foolish to them (1 Corinthians 2:14). The good news is that God wants you to understand. And just for the asking, and a little faith on your part, He will give you the Holy Spirit to guide you. Just an added word of caution: your box will become a bit messier, but it’s a good thing.
Dig Deeper: 1 Corinthians 2
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