Yannick Clément wrote a great comment. But first, a quote from Thomas Cahill:
But it is the face in Secondo Pia’s negative [of the Shroud of Turin] that is the most arresting: humane, majestic, beyond conflict. Only a Rembrandt or an early icon artist could have come close to catching such an expression. – Thomas Cahill, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills”
Rembrandt understand something important about the mystery of Christ and it is the Incarnation of God ! And he had enough wisdom and talent to translate this in his paintings. That’s why they are so different than what was done before him.
And for me, the Shroud is a bit like a painting of Rembrandt, in the sense that he played an important role in my life for a better understanding of the Incarnation of Christ. The data that were gathered by the scientists (mainly by the STURP and some more researchers after that) proved that it was a REAL human being who was enveloped in this cloth ! Yes, a real human like you, me and anyone else !
The data (from the blood particularly) tell us that this man had normal human blood like everyone of us with a probable AB blood type. Some non authorised DNA researches (made in France by a specialist) even showed that this man had chromosome X AND Y in his blood, just like us ! I know this last data isn’t official but it MAKES SENSE ! Also, the data showed that this man really suffered and really died like everybody would if he was scourged and crucified. The data even tell us that the most probable cause of death was normal in the context of a crucifixion : Asphyxia. And I would go as far as saying that the body of this man even experiment the first few stages of decaying like every corpse would (if we believe, like I do, that the Maillard reaction had something to do with the body image formation). So, this man lived and died just like every human being on this planet ! There’s nothing special about those data. It could be the body and blood of anyone except for the fact that the Shroud shows EVERY marks (and some more) of the Passion of Christ reported in the Gospels !
So, if the Shroud is genuine (like I believe it is), here’s one of the most important message he can tell us : Jesus was human as much as he was God and as much as any person ! A REAL HUMAN. Not a God with just an appearance of humanity. It’s not a banal statement. I think this reality is too often forgotten. Many people tend to only look at the divinity of Chris and it’s even true when they look at the Shroud. In fact, when it comes to the Shroud, I’ve not seen too many talks about this idea of the Incarnation. I would love to see some Shroud experts put this idea forward in the future when they do lectures on the Shroud. Almost every expert who talk about the Shroud, talks about the Passion, the death and the resurrection of Jesus, and rarely (almost never) about the Incarnation of God.
For me, it was also like that when I first got interested by it. But now, when I look at the Shroud, I see the humanity of Jesus FIRST ! I see a real man who really suffered and who really died. IT WASN’T A JOKE ! Only after, I start meditate about the Passion, the death and the resurrection. And I think it would be a very good thing if every Christian could also reflect about the MYSTERY of the Incarnation of God when he looks at the Shroud.
It’s true, the more I look at the Shroud and the more I see the HUMANITY of Jesus. That’s a very important part of the mystery of Jesus-Christ (as much important as the Passion, death and resurrection in my opinion) and we should reflect more about this, because it can help us understand better who God really is ! For me, the Shroud help understand that God is Love ! Yes, God so love the world that he accept to take a complete part of our fragile human nature. It’s a great SIGN of the immense LOVE of God for us ! He is WITH US into our humanity !
We tend to forget it but Jesus was a REAL human being like us ! The Shroud, with his awesome body image and all the blood stains on it, can really help us to understand this part of the MYSTERY… I really think so !!! By the way, the Sudarium of Oviedo is another important relic that also can help us understand better the humanity of Jesus-Christ, especially when the data concerning it are put in relation with those of the Shroud.