ContentsThe Ninth Hour News. It relied on Mark doing a very passable impression of John Cole who was, at the time, the BBC News Political Editor. He was renowned for his distinctive Northern Irish accent and his authoritative, impartial reporting littered with mixed metaphors.
In the The Ninth Hour News John Charcoal is reporting on Jesus' birth - here he is reporting on the political ramifications of Jesus' resurrection (the fact that these events are actually separated by over 30 years is excusable artistic licence we feel!!). The real purpose of the sketch is to get out some of the basic evidence for the resurrection. So this sketch was successfully used at University CU missions as well as in our home Family Services. The sketch is based on Matthew's account of the resurrection (Matt 27:62-28:15)
The sketch has been downgraded to three pots as the use of John Charcoal is so dated. However, the principle remains valid and it could be successfully rewritten to match a more up-to-date political commentator (at the time of writing Andrew Marr surely?) with few other changes as the "news" items are fairly generic.
Iona: [Bright, sparky but probably a bit dippy] Good morning and welcome to today's edition of Sunrise TV - we have an exciting line up for you this morning as later Katherine will be coming in to show us how to make Passover Pie.
We'll be talking to Sextus Surplus on cheap, Spring fashion ideas for those of us who didn't get to the Rome Fashion Show this year.
But first we have a report from Anthony Gadabouticus on Bargain Breaks in Crete this summer.
[she puts her finger to her ear as if listening to instructions from the producer] No - I'm sorry we're going over to the weather now with John...Oh I see...No we're going straight out now to our outside broadcast unit to talk to John Charcoal about some [slowly as if repeating someone else] exciting new events which are unfolding as we speak.......Hello, John are you there?
John: Undoubtably Iona.
Iona: And where is "there" John, the details we have are a little vague.
John: I'm outside a garden tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. Here is where they buried the controversial teacher, some say prophet, Jesus of Nazareth after his crucifixion on Friday.
Iona: So what's happening John?
John: Well, Iona, as you should be able to see behind me Jesus tomb is open to the world, the huge stone covering the entrance has been rolled away and there is no sign of a body - or anyone else for that matter ... apart from a few bits of Roman armour!
Iona: Roman armour John?
John: Indeed, a group of 16 soldiers have been guarding the tomb since Friday supposedly to prevent the body being stolen. Sources in the Procurators Palace have revealed that the Procurator, Pilate, was asked to guard the tomb by the chief priests as they feared that Jesus' disciples would try to steal the body.
Iona: So this is a little bit embarassing for the government then John?
John: Undoubtably Iona, and especially for the soldiers who are currently under interrogation for failing to prevent the stone being moved and this body-snatching taking place. Some say heads will roll!
Iona: Little bit of rock and roll at the palace then?
John: Well no actually Iona, a stony silence has been heard. Herod has apparently taken his usual morning sauna seemingly quite unperturbed. He is however meeting Pilate later today for high level talks. This may concern the chief priests who may well see this as an Alliance forming against them.
Iona: What news from Rabbinic sources then John?
John: Well the chief priests and Sanhedrin are said to be apoplectic with rage as this is the "worst case scenario" for them. In a leaked memo from them to Pilate they say that whilst he was alive Jesus said "After 3 days I will rise again". They requested that the tomb be made secure, as I said earlier, to prevent Jesus disciples coming and stealing the body and then claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. Resurrection claims could derail the chief priests attempts to steam-roller the emerging cult religion centering around Jesus.
Iona: So the disciples have stolen the body?
John: Well that's difficult to say categorically. It seems unlikely that a bunch of disorganised fishermen could overpower 16 trained military guards. Especially as since Jesus' execution they have appeared totally demoralised remaining in hiding behind closed doors - closed windows as well actually!
Iona: Has anyone else been to the tomb this morning?
John: Yes apparently some women were seen in the vicinity of the tomb earlier this morning - maybe they can shed some light on what happened here this morning - that is if their word can be trusted!
Iona: So where do you think the body is, John?
John: [looking behind him] Well its certainly not in the tomb Iona. It is very difficult to say at this stage where Jesus body might be. The Romans nor chief priests have it as I'm sure, if they had, they would have produced it straightaway to save face. The only people who have to gain from the theft would be the disciples. But even then, if they did steal the body, then their advantage would only be short lived as the chief priests will continue to make every effort to find the body, prove the theft and discredit the disciples.
Iona: So if the disciples don't have the body where is it?
John: I wouldn't like to guess but I would say that as Jesus life was marked by many miracles I am keeping ...oh... 5% of my mind open to the fact that he may indeed have risen from the dead. Only time will tell who's right!
Iona: Thank you John. Well we've run out of time for now. So we'll take a break - see you after the commercials. Bye.
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