Viewpoint from Tony Mallion 25/09/2020
Cliff Park Community Church
Hands up if you’ve ever been surveyed by someone clutching a clipboard in the street. Me neither. Yet surveys of one kind or another grab headlines and column inches in newspapers every day so they must ask someone! To mark its 20th anniversary, BBC History Magazine trawled a range of experts for their suggestions of the greatest mysteries in history. Top was whether Richard III ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower; second came the inevitable who built Stonehenge and why?
Third asked - What happened to Jesus’ body? Interesting. It may come as a surprise but the Bible doesn’t shy away from the idea of body snatching after Jesus’ crucifixion and burial in a sealed tomb
Matthew’s gospel (Chapter 28:11-15) reveals that even while Jesus’ followers were spreading the fact He was alive because they had met Him, the priests and others were paying a large bribe to the soldiers who had guarded the tomb to circulate the story that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body while the soldiers slept. Never mind if this were true the guards would have been totally neglecting their duty!
But the Bible also tells of many appearances of a very much alive Jesus appearing in bodily form to his disciples over the next 40 days until his ascension into heaven; returning in spirit to become a personal saviour of individuals who spread Christianity all over the world – something which continues to this day. “Christianity is not just a set of moral principles or religious beliefs. It is not just about church attendance that good people embrace as a habit. It is a daily walk with the person of Jesus” writes commentator Jeff Lucas
Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, famously missed out on one of Jesus’ appearances and refused to believe he was alive until a week later when he was able to meet him and touch the wounds made on the cross. He was doubting Thomas no more
St Paul - transformed into a great missionary after his conversion on the road to Damascus – spread the Christian message all over the Mediterranean as far as Rome. Writing to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 15:14) Paul tells them Jesus appeared to over 500 followers adding: ‘If Christ has not been raised then all our preaching is useless’. So perhaps not such a great mystery after all. How we respond is another question
also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury
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