Your E-mails: November

Your E-mails: November

AM: According to the Gospels Jesus was crucified, but in Acts 5:30 Peter says that he was hanged on a tree. Did Peter get it wrong? Ed: JESUS CHRIST died by crucifixion. This was a form of capital punishment which the Romans tended to use for the lowest criminals, and is possibly the most excruciating method of torture ever invented. The victim of crucifixion was hung on a ‘cross’. This is traditionally understood as a stake fixed upright in the ground with a cross-piece to which their hands were fixed. Actually when our English Bibles use the word ‘cross’, they are translating the original Greek word ‘stauros’ which simply means a stake or post. Some historians believe that crucifixion involved just the stake, without the cross-piece. The cross is at the heart of the Gospel message. Not the object itself—that was not important, and anyway no one knows what it

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

AT THE OUTSET, we need to realise that God loves the world with an everlasting love: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Salvation has come to humanity by means of Jesus Christ. It is the gift of God: ‘In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself’ (2 Corinthians 5:19). Human Wickedness God has given everyone the opportunity to choose between right and wrong, good and evil. He has promised everlasting life to those who choose to follow His way. Sadly, we often make the wrong choice. We ignore God’s principle of love. Down the centuries, millions have died in countless wars. Wars start because of human pride and greed (James 4:1–3). God is not to blame. Hunger, too, has brought suffering to millions. Yet one nation selfishly hoards food

Worse Than the Virus

Worse Than the Virus

COVID 19 has been a worldwide tragedy that has changed our lives. Some people are traumatised by it, while others deny its severity or try to ignore it. We can be enormously grateful for those scientists who worked hard to understand the virus and formulate vaccines. The Problem Many people don’t realise that there is a worldwide problem which affects us all, and is far, far worse than the virus. It is an old-fashioned word, and it is an unpleasant concept. But it features strongly in the Bible. It is ‘SIN’. Like it or not, we all sin. And like it or not, we all die as a result. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). For the wages of sin is death.… (Romans 6:23). Isolation is a good precaution against contracting the virus, but it cannot

The Governor’s Memoir

The Governor’s Memoir

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus Christ to death. This is an imaginary memoir, but it is based on the facts as we know them from the Bible and archaeology (except the ending, for which there is no evidence.) The Bible verses are given for reference. You can catch up with Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. Part 4I ORDERED WINE, and as I drank I summoned a scribe. Over each cross we wrote the crime for which the prisoner was being executed. I dictated to the scribe: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. I had it written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. I knew it would enrage the Jews. Sure enough during the afternoon a deputation from Caiaphas came with a demand: “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”

The Danger of Crowds

The Danger of Crowds

WE ARE USED TO CROWDS in our busy lives. Crowds in shops, at sporting events, at concerts, and in holiday resorts. During the Covid crisis crowds suddenly became hazardous, and we were urged to avoid them in order to avoid spreading the disease. They can also be hazardous in other ways: people have been crushed while panicking and fleeing from danger, as well as while rushing together towards something they want. There is another hazard associated with crowds. Being in a crowd affects how we feel, and in a crowd we can do things that we would not do when alone. It is easy to get drawn along instinctively by the mood and emotion generated by large numbers of people. This can give us a sense of courage, and engender strong feelings about things which have previously been of little interest to us. We can be drawn into doing things

The Governor’s Memoir

The Governor’s Memoir

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus Christ to death. This is an imaginary memoir, but it is based on the facts as we know them from the Bible and archaeology. The Bible verses are given for reference. You can catch up with Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Part 3 THERE WAS NOTHING I could do. I had given them the choice, they had decided, I hated the situation but I could not go back. I gave the order for the release of Barabbas, turned my back on the mob and stalked back into the Praetorium. The prisoner was dragged after me (Matthew 27:27–29). I sat weakly on my seat. This was a part of the proceedings which I often enjoyed, but today I had no stomach for it. The hall was filling with soldiers, word had got round and anyone who was off duty was