Jesus last week of Passion was a “world-changer.” What Jesus accomplished by means of His death and resurrection provided the world with the hope of salvation.
Archaeology actually reveals part of the Gospel story about Christ’s death and resurrection. For instance, we know for sure the Pontius Pilate was a real historical person. Discovered in 1961 in “secondary use” in the theater in Caesarea, the large stone with an inscription on it was found. In part, it reads, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judaea.”
In God’s redemptive plan, Pilate was the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to death (Matthew 27:22). Pilate most likely condemned Jesus to death while residing at Herod’s palace (while making his decree from the lithostrotos – “stone pavement.” See John 19).
Ossuaries (stone containers) were used to collect the bones of a deceased person. Essentially, ossuaries were limestone bone depositories. Literally 100s have been found in Jerusalem alone. But two ossuaries draw our attention. Found in the first ossuary (found in 1968) was a heal bone with a Roman nail through. Simply, this man was someone who was crucified. The second ossuary (found in 1990) was a more ornate one. Etched on this one was the name “Caiaphas.” Could this be the same High Priest who bore this name, one who took Jesus custody in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Additionally, many “2nd Temple tombs” (called kochim or “niche” tombs) have been found in Jerusalem. About 2 dozen of these type of tombs were found in the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional location for the burial tomb of Jesus. While we can’t be sure that the primary tomb “on display” within this 4th century AD church, as “traditional” as this location is, odds are that this was at least the area where Jesus was both crucified, buried, and rose again. Most likely, Jesus rose again from an arcasolium tomb, also found in Jerusalem.
Once again, archaeology doesn’t need to prove every part of the Passion story as historically true (the story stands on its own), it sure sheds light on the “story of all stories” … the story of God’s redemption in and through Christ!