There were a number of people allowed to take part in the Jesus story leading up to the crucifixion, people who thought they were making their own decisions but actually were putty in the hand of God. For prophecy to be fulfilled Jesus had to be crucified but woe to those who were chosen to be the actors in the story. Caiaphas was one of these people.

He had gained his position by cosying up to Caesar. With Jesus standing as a captive before him he was consumed with fear. Not fear of Jesus though in the long run he had every reason to be fearful of Him. Caiaphas was afraid of being thrown out of office, losing face with his people or worse still losing face with the Romans as a whole

Caiaphas had no excuse to doubt the sovereignty of Jesus ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One,’ he asked.

Jesus replied, ‘I am.’

You can’t get any clearer confession than that. Caiaphas thought he had so much power, but actually he had no power at all; he was just everyone’s pawn.

Name Change

‘How come your husband is called Pop when you have no children?’ ‘He was christened Lawrence which became shortened to Lolly, then Lollypop and finally Pop!’ It was explained. Pop is not the only one to have his name changed. It happened quite a bit in the Bible.

God changed the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah. After his encounter with God, Jacob’s name was altered to Israel. Joseph was given an Egyptian name – Zaphenath-paneah to fit in with that culture. Hoshea’s name meaning ‘salvation’ was changed to Joshua meaning ‘Yahweh saves.’ King Solomon, meaning ‘peaceable’ was altered by the prophet Nathan to Jedediah (beloved by God). Naomi after all her tragedies changed her own name to Mara – ‘bitter’. Daniel and his three friends had their names altered to fit in with the Babylon culture.

In the New Testament Simon whose name meant ‘one who hears,’ was changed to Peter meaning ‘rock’. At that time that would have seemed a strange choice but it proved that that was his final true character. Jesus had His own name fore-ordained for Him. Even I have had my name changed. I am now called a ‘Child of God.’

Complex Jesus

I find myself amazed at the complexity of Jesus. At one time we see Him as a teacher instructing the disciples as well as very large numbers of crowds. We are told He taught as ‘one having authority.’ Then we see Him taking little children in His arms and blessing them . He is gentle and loving showing the importance of these little ones.

He is not always sunshine and light; He shows His ire when He sees the misuse of the temple and tables are overturned and coins sent rolling across the floor. Another day Jesus is healing the sick , a young child, the blind, the crippled and restoring life.

Then under God’s allowance the body of Jesus is whipped and scarred and left to die on a cross. His mutilated body is then buried before the miracle of His resurrection and ascension. Our human eyes only see a small facet of His character. Imagine how much more wonderful it will be when we see Him face to face.


Each week I go to a Bible study with another denomination from the one I belong to. I also join with a prayer group again with another denomination. Although a protestant myself, I’ve just been to a lecture from a Catholic author. I’m sure that each Sunday our services are different, but what we all have in common is that we love the Lord and believe that He died for our sins and believe in the sovereignty of the Bible.

It is sad when the world sees parts of the church working against each other. According to the Bible it is not God’s wish that we should be at loggerheads. We need to concentrate on what we have in common. Emphasis on our similarities and the same leader should be in our minds. As the hymn writer says ‘The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.’ S. J. Stone

Would I have Believed?

I often wonder what type of person I would have been if I had lived at the time of Jesus. In those days I would probably have obeyed my husband but as i live in this modern age, I’m always a little a wary of new types of worship or ‘forward-thinking’ ideas on religion. I like to wait and see what happens. What would I have thought about this itinerant young preacher named Jesus. Would I have been one of those who was sceptical?

It is easier for us today, we know of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. We know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose again and ascended up to heaven. We have the New Testament which tells us of the adventures of the early church, we have the apostolic letters which help us in our knowledge. But It is only by God’s grace that we do believe.

Fake News

At the present time there is an abundance of fake news. I’ve read about anti-holocaust protesters who claim it never happened. The Manchester bombing was only a publicity stunt; it never happened. Just ask the grieving parents! Donald Trump never lost the presidential election; it was fixed.

Back in the time of Jesus, Pilate asked ‘What is truth?’, which is a question we too may be asking. Everything around us is on shaky ground, but let us build on the rock which cannot be moved. There is nothing fake about Jesus. ‘O Thou, who changes not, Abide with me.’


Our sermon the other week was about Solomon. When one studies his life you realise how rich and powerful he was. He was also noted for his great wisdom. But by looking closely at the passages in the Bible we see that he is only pointing to a greater one. Solomon’s fame was only human, the power of Jesus is divine.

David was a powerful king and we are blessed today by his wonderful psalms, but again he is only a pointer to one who is greater. Jesus is the greatest. Prophets, saints and revered Biblical figures come no-where near Him. ‘It’s Jesus, the first and the last.’

The Holy Name

At critical times in our lives it seems that secular words fail us; we need a touch of the divine. In times of national disasters, the country holds services and times of prayer, no doubt attended by many who never darken the doors of a church. But nevertheless it meets a need.

‘Lord, if You act, I promise …..’ No doubt this is a promise which will never be kept but it shows that earthly promises are not sufficient. When one of the Chinese women of Gladys Alyward’s acquaintance was being attacked and abused by Japanese soldiers, she cried out repeatedly, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,’ Her attacker fled at at the sound of that name.

Sadly, that same name is often used as a swear word. ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear.’

Target Fixation

I’ve only just come across this phrase. It seems t be used mainly about driving. An individual becomes so focused on an object that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with it. The person loses sight of the bigger picture. The solution is to force your attention elsewhere.

Is it possible for us to treat sin in this way? All our concentration is focused on avoiding sin and when our minds are thus engaged, we find that sin multiplies. The answer is to stop looking at the sin and failings and to concentrate on God. Helen Howarth Lemmel put it so clearly when she wrote,

‘Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.’

Just a Few Days

In just a few days we will once again experience the time when the world was tipped. The days of the first Easter was when life was turned up side down. Things would never be the same again. My life and yours would never be the same again. Jesus payed the ultimate price for our sins. We would not now be judged. Jesus has taken our place.

Because we remember every year it does not lessen the miracle. Jesus is the Son of God; we are just mere mortals. This death has decided our eternity. Oh, that everyone would recognise the true meaning of Easter. It is for anyone who will listen. This truth is for believing Jews, trusting gentiles, every nation of the world and places which are not even a nation.

Shouting the news from the roof-tops will not make people listen; announcing it on the news will not tell people and even when I tell my neighbours they will not care. Prayer is the only answer. It is God’s work, He will do it. My only task is to pray and to speak when the time is right. But we know that by Sunday, hallelujah, Christ is risen.