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Over the years, many TV quiz shows have developed a catchphrase; “Say what you see”, “Is it higher or lower?”, “You can’t beat a bit of bully”, “Cuddly toy”, “Our survey said”, and so on. But Mastermind’s “I’ve started so I’ll finish” is probably one of the most well-known of them all.

Mastermind was originally introduced by Magnus Magnusson and carried on by John Humphrys. This week the BBC announced that Clive Myrie is to be the new host of ‘Mastermind’. Myrie will take over from John Humphrys who has hosted the quiz show for the past 18 years, hosting over 750 episodes. I was surprised to discover that Mastermind will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, which makes me feel very old!!! 

Tomorrow is the beginning of Holy Week, and while we are unable to celebrate Easter as we would wish, the glorious message of the Easter Story remains undiminished!  

Palm Sunday is the beginning of the final week of Jesus earthly ministry when we celebrate the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The very purpose of Christ’s coming would be fulfilled as ‘Holy Week’ unfolded. In a strange way, I can almost hear Jesus saying as He talked with His Father, “I’ve started, so I’ll finish”! In the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prayed and asked His Father if there was a Plan B, he was still focussed on the task ahead, “Your will be done, not mine”. As the ‘cross’ grew ever closer, Jesus was totally obedient to His Father’s will.

As we know, some of the crowd that shouted Jesus’ praises on Palm Sunday, shouted “Crucify Him”, a few days later.     

On Good Friday, as Jesus hung upon the cross His earthly life ebbing away, He utters some of the most remarkable words recorded in Scripture. In spite of everything that had happened, Jesus asks His Father to “forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”….. I’m not sure if I would have been so compassionate under the circumstances!!!

As He breathed His last, Jesus shouts, “It is finished!” Many of us have started projects but not seen them through, but this was an assignment that when finished was to change the lives of billions through the years to come. Jesus said, 

I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work that You gave me to do’…

John 17:4

The Hymn-writer reminds us, “Lifted up was He to die, ‘It is finished’ was His cry; Now in heaven exalted high, Hallelujah, what a Saviour”…

In this Holy Week, we can take great encouragement because Jesus not only ‘started, but finished’ the task He came to earth to fulfil. As we look at the Cross, we see the outpouring of God’s love to humankind, and the Hymn-writer Isaac Watts reminds us that the Cross demands a response:

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all”…

Reflecting on those who ‘laid their coats’ on the ground as Jesus entered Jerusalem, maybe during this Holy Week, we too, are being asked to lay something down at the feet of Jesus. I pray that you feel able to ‘hand over’ to God those things that you are struggling with. In John Bunyan’s, Pilgrim’s Progress when ‘Christian’ reaches the cross, the burden that he was carrying leaves him and he ‘jumps for joy’ at being free. You too, can leave your ‘burdens’ at the foot of the cross and experience real freedom! 

Be encouraged.  

Author Paul Emmerson

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