Thought for the Week: Don’t keep it a secret, make it known to all

Cover-ups seem to be a characteristic of modern society, raising their heads in government scandals and in almost every area of public life.

By Rev Jim Rea
Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 12:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2022, 9:26 am
Rev Jim Rea, of the Methodist church
Rev Jim Rea, of the Methodist church

The most recent and horrendous cover-up must be Vladimir Putin’s attempt to cover up the killings of many thousands of people in Ukraine.

As for many other cover-ups in our time, sadly the truth may remain hidden until one day when God will reveal all wrongdoings, and all evildoers will be judged.

Interestingly, in the gospel of St Matthew there is a story of an attempted cover-up around the death of Jesus. The Jewish chief priests and elders, hearing from the soldiers that the tomb of Jesus was empty, realised they would be in trouble with the Roman authorities.

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These worried Jewish leaders decided to bribe the soldiers with a large sum of money. The story to the Roman governor was that the disciples had stolen the body, implying that the soldiers had not guarded the tomb properly. But this could not be covered up or kept a secret - God had raised Jesus from the dead.

Three days after the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to the tomb, where an angel appeared to them and told them that Jesus had risen. Then the risen Jesus Himself greeted them and told them to go and tell His disciples. The disciples were so afraid of the Jews that they had locked themselves in a room, when suddenly Jesus appeared to them.

The resurrection of Jesus is recorded by all four gospel writers. What they report is not exactly the same, just as different newspapers would report an event differently. However, all four writers agree that the tomb was empty and the stone was rolled away.

In the days following His resurrection, Jesus appeared in many places, as witnessed by many and recorded in the New Testament. The Apostle Peter, who earlier had denied Jesus, appears 50 days later at Pentecost, transformed and passionately preaching and explaining the meaning of the cross and resurrection to the Jews who were in Jerusalem.

The cross and resurrection of Jesus alters history. It is the message of salvation. On the cross Jesus took the penalty for our sins, as the hymn-writer Frances Alexander puts it - “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”

And yet there is more. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means that death, our worst enemy will ultimately be defeated. On the night before His death Jesus told His anxious disciples He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house and He would come back again.

One day He will, to establish His eternal kingdom for all who love and follow Him. This is the wonderful news of Easter. If we have accepted Christ into our lives we should never want to keep it a secret, but make it known so that others too might believe.