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Have we got the schedule for Easter wrong?

Have you ever sat and read through the gospel accounts of Passion Week, and tried to work out chronologically what is happening? And have you done that with the four gospels? (It is easiest to do that latter using a synopsis, either in print or using this one online.) If you do, you might notice several things.

Though there are variations in wording and in some details, there is a striking agreement between all four gospels in the order of the main events during the week.
The events at the beginning of the week around Palm Sunday, and at the end of the week around the crucifixion seem very busy, yet the middle seems very quiet—the issue of the ‘silent Wednesday’.
The main issue on which the gospel accounts disagree on the order of events is in relation to the denials of Peter by Jesus, which come earlier in Luke’s gospel, and are spread out in John’s gospel.
Jesus’ trial is more detailed, with more people involved in different phases in John than in the Matthew and Mark, the latter two treating it in quite a compressed way as more or less a single event.
The synoptics claim explicitly that the last supper was some form of Passover meal (which must happen after the lambs are sacrificed), whilst John makes no mention of this, and appears to have Jesus crucified at the moment that the Passover lambs are sacrificed.

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What is the evidence for the resurrection?

When considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, we need to separate two issues. First, what are the historical facts that require an explanation? And, second, what is the best, most plausible, explanation for those facts? What are the facts to consider in relation to the resurrection? First, Jesus died on the cross, a victim of […]

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Do Christians really not believe in the Resurrection?

Peter Ould writes: The recent BBC commissioned poll on belief in the Resurrection of Jesus has attracted a lot of media attention. Gavin Ashenden, the former Queen’s Chaplain, pointed out in a letter to the Times (and subsequent news piece) that belief in the resurrection is a core Christian doctrine. If you don’t believe in the resurrection, […]

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Compassion and power in John 11

If someone is in a fix, do you listen sympathetically and show you understand, or do you try and remedy the problem? Of course, that is a false dichotomy, but it a challenge we face often. If you want to take a stereotyped or generalised view of sex difference, by and large women tend to […]

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surprised-face

The surprise of the resurrection

Think back to the last time that someone surprised you. What does surprise do to you? Some people love surprises; others like surprises as long as they know exactly what the surprise will be! Our common experience is that surprise is highly disorienting; we don’t know where to turn or what to do next. Even […]

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What does resurrection mean?

The idea of resurrection is central to Christian belief and theology—but it is also the key idea which separates the New Testament from the Old. The Old Testament appears to assume that, after death, people continue in some sort of shadowy existence in a place called Sheol—often translated ‘grave’ or ‘pit’ in English Bibles. There are some examples of resuscitation (see 1 Kings 17:17-24 and 2 Kings 4:18-37)—but these are acts of compassion and never shed any light on life after death.

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Resurrection as surprise

Think back to the last time that someone surprised you. What does surprise do to you? Some people love surprises; others like surprises as long as they know exactly what the surprise will be! Our common experience is that surprise is highly disorienting; we don’t know where to turn or what to do next. Even […]

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JesusTomb-1200x760

Evidence for the Resurrection

When considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, we need to separate two issues. First, what are the historical facts that require an explanation? And, second, what is the best, most plausible, explanation for those facts? What are the facts to consider in relation to the resurrection? First, Jesus died on the cross, a victim of […]

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JesusTomb-1200x760

Evidence for the Resurrection

When considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, we need to separate two issues. First, what are the historical facts that require an explanation? And, second, what is the best, most plausible, explanation for those facts? What are the facts to consider in relation to the resurrection? First, Jesus died on the cross, a victim of […]

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What is central to Christian belief?

One of the things that has marked recent disputes in the church, both nationally and internationally, both formally and informally, is the question of what is central to Christian faith, and over what can we agree to live with difference with a clear conscience. Although this discussion can seem tiresome, it seems to me that […]

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Our bodies our sexuality

Sean Doherty, who is on the staff of St Mellitus in London, offered two teaching sessions at New Wine on the subject of same-sex sexual relations and the current debate. He tells his story, along with others, in a recent edition of Christianity magazine. In essence, he understood himself as same-sex attracted as long as […]

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