Often what Christians need to explain is “significance” or “Biblical relevance.” This is particularly true about artifact discoveries. By the example of Paul (and it is imperative to follow his example for all Christians [this too needs explaining definitively but this is not the subject of this post]), he was ready always to give a defense and rationale of the Christian faith. Peter also says: “be ready always to give a reason for the hope (here “hope” means-confident expectation) that is in you.”
To show this artifact’s relevance we must look for how it relates to the accuracy of the Biblical text. As I have commented previously about Gen. 3.15, from the beginning, when humanity fell in Adam, the “curse on the serpent” provided the promise of deliverance through “The Seed of the woman” who would crush the enemy’s head and for the sake of humanity would have His heel pierced.
Here is evidence of the Roman crucifixion practice of piercing the heel unlike what is often displayed by later artists’ depiction of nails through the instep of the feet of Christ. So this artifact is strong proof of the accuracy of the redemptive promise set forth from the foundation of the world.
The Romans were adept at crucifixion, according to many historical sources. The first archaeological evidence of crucifixion was uncovered in 1978 [1968; see comments] when an ossuary (bone box, or receptacle) was found north of Jerusalem containing the bones of a man who had been crucified. His name was “Yehohanan, the son of Hagakol.” He is thought to have been between 24 and 28 years of age, and was about 5 feet 6 inches in height.
Both the ossuary and a replica of the heel bone are displayed in the Israel Museum. When Yehohanan was removed from the cross the nail pulled away from the wood.
On Pentecost, Peter proclaimed the truth about Jesus. He said,
This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (Acts 2:23 NIV)
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