Unbelievable truths associated with Easter and Holy week - and Jesus's ministry

One of my favourite BBC 4 programmes is the amusing quiz game Unbelievable Truths. In it contestants deliver a short talk on a subject – but containing a string of falsehoods and fantastic untruths. The winner is the one who includes up to five unbelievable truths - which of course sound like lies.  For instance, it is said that Donavan swapped an Andy Warhol painting for a sofa – which was true! (The painting is now worth £850,000)

I always think Holy Week would make and excellent subject for a programme - provided the participants were all atheists or unbelievers

In short you couldn’t make up all the unbelievable but necessary truths associated with both Holy Week or indeed the whole of Our Lords Ministry

·        Who would have believed Our Lord’s detailed prophesy of His own death and resurrection

·        Who would have believed that he raised Lazarus after being in his tomb for 4 days. However, it was witnessed by hundreds of people

·        Who would have believed Jesus then had supper at Bethany with Lazarus – again witnessed by a large crowd - who were there for Lazarus as much as him

·        Who would have believed that the man who rode into Jerusalem heralded by thousands would be crucified and entombed within 7 days and rise again from the dead. Again, hundreds of people witnessed both his trial and crucifixion.  Equally hundreds of people saw him resurrected from the dead over the subsequent 60 days.

·        Who would have believed these extraordinary events were prophesied centuries before by prophets such as Zechariah and Isiah. In fact, there we up to 39 potential prophecies of His coming  

The unbelievable events of Holy Week and Easter had to happen in order to change the world. They were the final finale to our Lord's Teaching

·        There had to be the clearing of the money changers from the temple – possibly a final straw. The religious establishment had to be challenged

·        There had to be a Last Supper – now the basis of our Holy Communion

·        There had to be a Judas - to betray him

·        There had to be a ‘Pontius Pilot’ for the sentence of the crucifixion to be authorized

·        There had to be our Lord’s awful sacrifice and suffering for our sins – Jesus was to be sacrificial             lamb for the Passover

·        There had to be the Cross. What would our faith be without the Cross?

·        There had to be a Tomb – resurrection is central to our faith

·        There had to be a Pentecost – witnessed by hundreds of people

 All were unbelievable but necessary truths

 Equally the whole of our Lord's ministry was unbelievable – but true – and necessary. The seven great signs recorded by St Johns in his Book of Signs were written to prove Our Lord’s Divinity - and ultimately to turned into his Gospel of John

 The Signs were:

1: Changing Water into Wine at the Cana Wedding (John 2:1-11) Witnessed by wedding guests

2: Healing the Royal Official's Son (John 4:46-54) Witnessed by a crowd 

3: Healing the paralytic at the pool (John 5:1-18) Witnessed by followers

4: Feeding 2,000 and then 5,000 with fish and loaves (John 6:1-14): Witnessed by the crowds who ate them

5: Walking on the water (John 6:15-25) Witnessed by people in the boat

6: Healing a man born blind (John 9:1-41) Witnessed by a crowd

7: Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46) Witnessed by huge crowd

 They were all unbelievable truths - however they were collectively witnessed by tens of thousands of people. They changed the ancient world

 In retrospect our Lord ministry all seems so choreographed - almost forensic

 However as appealing and necessary these events were the spiritually motivating the scenes demonstrating Our Lord forgiving and loving character were as important

 He forgave Peter after his denial in the high priest’s house before His trial

He forgave the soldiers who flogged, abused and crucified him

He forgave and blessed the criminals on crucified with Him

He was full of compassion and concern for his Mother Mary at the foot of his cross arranging for her to be cared for by John – as He died!

 I was in the Holy Land in January. In some ways it was so small and, in some parts, quite underwhelming. Without the Our Lord’s life and all the unbelievable truths associated with His ministry it would be just another tourist destination

 However, combined with the witness of thousands of followers and His teaching and his saintly love, compassion and immortal wisdom the Holy Land became the place which changed the world and crucially pointed directly to the world to come

 In Jesus’s name - AMEN




John 20:1-18 

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.


Acts 10:34-43 New International Version

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.





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