The Greatest Story Now Rarely Told (3)

4-2013In the evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later the disciples were again inside, and this time Thomas was with them. Jesus appeared among them even though the doors were shut, “Peace to you!” He said to them all and then to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

And  Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written down but these details are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name

The Greatest Story Now Rarely Told (2)

On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the door-stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran and came to Simon Peter, and to John, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Simon Peter and John ran together, and came to the tomb. And John, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there. Simon Peter followed him, went into the tomb, and he also saw the linen cloths lying there and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

risenAs yet they did not know the Scripture, that Jesus must rise again from the dead so the disciples went away to their own homes.

But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

He said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him “Teacher!” Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”

Mary Magdalene did as Jesus said and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

The Greatest Story Now Rarely Told (1)

golgothaBearing His cross, He was taken to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him

Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. It said: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

The soldiers took His garments and shared them up as spoil but his tunic was seamless, woven from the top in one piece. So they decided, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots to decide whose it shall be,” and the Scripture was fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, said, “I thirst!” and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When He had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out,fulfilling what scripture said: “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate that he might take away Jesus’ body; and Pilate gave him permission. So he took the body of Jesus and bound it in strips of linen with spices according to the burial customs of the Jews. In the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new, unused tomb and they laid Jesus’ body there.


As a final post for 2012 here is something about Christmas that I wrote 7 years ago:


It’s getting very close to Christmas.
Should we be celebrating even though we know there is no real connection with the 25th December and the birth of our Lord? Should we shun the celebration because the REAL source of the holiday is a pagan celebration?

Some Christians proclaim we should “Put the Christ back into Christmas”. I’ve heard others saying we should take the Christ out of Christmas because the event was never really about Him anyway – pointing to all of the closely held traditions that originate in pagan practices.
But please let me make this point. At what other time of the year are unbelievers willingly confronted with hymns praising our Lord – even singing along?

Despite attempts to replace the “religious” carols with American songs about Jingling Bells, snow men, and reindeer with unusual facial colouring, the Christ praising songs still hang in there among the favourites. At this time of the year, despite attempts to secularise Christmas, in our western tradition, it has remained acceptable, (even among unbelievers) to remember that our Lord was born into this world as a human baby.

Surely, while this acceptability remains we should make the most of it. There is a starting point for the preaching of the gospel while people have this seasonal awareness of the beginnings of Jesus human life.

How can we “exploit” this situation? By belittling the occasion because the date has no historical fact? By shunning celebration because of its pagan roots? Or by recognising an opportunity to make people aware of Jesus BEYOND the manger?

I recall several years ago one radical group of Christians in my home town joined a Christmas parade. Their contribution was a man dressed as Jesus carrying the cross being whipped as he walked along. The person with the whip was dressed as Santa Claus. Now did THAT cause an uproar in the local press!

Now this brings me to another point I’d like to make – the difference between Christmas and Easter (yet another pagan celebration appropriated by the church). Around the time of Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ” I was astonished at the reaction of the major movie reviewers. These people who can eagerly type their praises of intensely violent and ugly films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and others – somehow found the brutality of Jesus being scourged and crucified as intensely offensive.

I realised then how acceptable Jesus can be when He’s no more than a baby in a manger. But Jesus suffering and dying for our sins, the brutality of the crucifixion, the sheer ugliness of torn flesh and shed blood – well it’s just not acceptable is it? At least not in the world’s eyes – it’s too confronting. A baby receiving birthday presents and visits from angels and shepherds, all of the peace and goodwill messages, THAT is what they can accept. But move that baby on to adulthood and look at the end purpose of His life and the world doesn’t want to know. They’ll celebrate His birth with songs of paraise – but His death?

Just pass them more chocolate eggs.