I had mentioned 7 blood/image patterns that uniquely identifies the man on the shroud as Jesus. Another factor that dramatically decreases the number of possible candidates of who it can be is the cloth itself. According to Bart Ehrman, the vast majority of crucified victims were not allowed to be buried and thus would not end up being wrapped in a cloth, but thrown in a mass grave. And if they were buried in a cloth, it would’ve been after the bodies had rotted and the scavengers ate their flesh.
Everyone wanted a decent burial in the ancient world. It was far more important for people than it is to today. A decent burial, for many, was required for a decent afterlife. It honored the body of the one departed. Not receiving a decent burial was disgusting, scandalous, gut-wrenching, debasing, and humiliating.
And so Romans did not allow crucified victims – especially enemies of the state – to be buried. They left them on the crosses as their bodies rot and the scavengers went on the attack. To allow a decent burial was to cave into the desires precisely of the people who were being mocked and taught a lesson. No decency allowed. The body has to rot, and then we toss it into a grave.
Why did Jesus have a decent burial? Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a member of the council, got permission from Pilate to take the body.
Mat 27:57-58 (KJV)
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
Mark 15:43 (NKJV)
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Luk 23:50-53 (NIV)
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.
Jhn 19:38 (ESV)
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.
Since Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin (the Council), he would’ve had authority to ask Pilate for the body.
In the gospels, Mark and Luke identified him as a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council in Jerusalem.
He was a good and righteous man who managed to be both a member of the Council (the Sanhedrin) and a secret supporter of Jesus – which is why he did not join in the Council’s actions against Jesus.