Jesus' Photograph Left For Us
by Rita Bennett, D.Litt.
R I T A ' S    R E F L E C T I O N S

June 1998, Rod Baskett and I co-led a tour group to Turin, Italy to see the Shroud of Turin, believed by millions to be the Jewish burial cloth of Jesus (Yeshua). I had become a widow in 1991 and felt that our photographs were my major gifts of memories of my husband.  

When I interviewed Rod on a TV program in Federal Way, Washington, he mentioned taking a group to Italy to see the Shroud of Turin. During the program I had shared my interest in going to Italy for that purpose and announced that I would help anyone who would like my help. A few days later Rod phoned to say that through an auto accident he had recently, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was now in both hands and asked if I would help him with the tour. I gladly accepted. 

While in Italy, our group was allowed to attend a several day symposium peppered with scholars who would share their experiences on their years of studying the subject of the Shroud of Turin. One of these was Gilbert R. Lavoie, M.D. author of Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud, (Thomas Moore, 1998, Allen, Texas). He signed his book for me dated June 6, 1998.  His 224 page-exciting book is a one of science and faith that reads like a first-rate mystery. 

Shroud of Christ Revealed
Twenty years before my tour experience, scientific carbon-dating tests on the age of the Shroud were allowed by the Vatican. They have preserved this relic since 1532, having been obtained from the Dukes of Savoy. I saw it in St. John the Baptist Basilica (a pilgrimage site) and it is still in Turin as of 2016. Only on special occasions is the Shroud of Turin shown to the public. In 1998, my group and I joined a crowd that stretched for many blocks and extended about eight people wide. We did not know that one needs black and white film, not color, to take a picture of this holy cloth. Even then one would have to have permission to do take a picture. 

We saw the long linen cloth 14' x 4' out of its casing. The blood stained cloth shows the body of a man from head to toe, front and back. It’s like the negative of a picture that only becomes visible when a picture is taken and developed. That is what happened to an Italian lawyer, El Segundo Pia an amateur photographer, when in 1898 he was asked to take a picture of it with his cumbersome Voigtlander camera. He nearly dropped the glass film when he saw the image of a man, scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, and pierced through the heart! “And Pia was the first man to look upon it in nineteen centuries!” (Shroud of Christ by Jose Luis Carrelo, 1980 by Salesian Missions of St. John Bosco, p.9.) 

The Latest
In 1977, during the London Symposium, several professors from the Academy of Aeronautics of Denver, Colorado and scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, California reported that, by using NASA’s most sophisticated instruments, they had discovered that the IMAGES ON THE SHROUD ARE THREE-DIMENTIONAL . . . by using image-analyzers like those used for the study of Mars, they obtained three-dimensional photos of the Shroud images, thus squelching any possibility of fraud.” (Salesian Mission.)

The Shroud Traveled 
To get the whole picture, I recommend that you read Dr. Lavoie’s 12 chapters. The Shroud once found was passed around to many different countries. Other scientists studied the pollen found on the cloth. It proved that the Shroud was very much in Palestine, Israel for a number of years. More proof of authenticity. Named Shroud of Turin as been there longest. 

Don’t Worship the Shroud, Enjoy it  
In Western European history by Geoffrey de Charny are the quotes that he uses to build up the evidence for his case. They carry with them a definite common theme. They tell us (1) that in the East there existed a cloth that carried an image of Jesus (2) that there was something unusual about this image, that those who described it believed that it was not a painting, that it was not the work of an artist, that it was ‘not made by the hands of man.” 

Author Dr. Lavoie goes on to say, “It was years later before I realized that the Bible was very much concerned with this very same concept: things are made either by human hands or by God. From Deuteronomy I read, ‘There you will serve other gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone that neither see, nor hear, nor eat nor smell” (Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud, p. 51; Deuteronomy 4:28). 

“The corollary is well defined in Hebrews ‘“ . . . then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)” (Hebrews 9:11). The biblical meaning is clear: that which is made by human hands is from man and that which is not made by human hands is from God.”  

In Conclusion, Rita says:
In other words, the Shroud of Turin cannot be an idol, if it is not made by human hands. I’m glad the Bible makes it clear, since God has given us this wonderful photo. God the Son loved us so much that He left His photograph for us, until we one day see Him face to face!  

In His day 2,000 years ago, there was no camera or photographs, but God saw that we would be able to have His resurrection photo by His own radiant light. And one day we would discover this miracle that He left for our generation. 

This is the reason God arranged for me to go to Italy to see this miracle of His love for us. It is the sign of His resurrection. He arose! I went to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, and saw the sign on the door proclaiming: “He Is Risen!” The response is: “He has Risen indeed!” 

©2016 Rita Bennett (order bookmarks at

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