Believe It or Not!

As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice

“Believe It or Not!”


            Do you remember the radio and eventually TV show called “Ripley's Believe It or Not!”?  It is an American franchise founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims. Originally a newspaper panel, the “Believe It or Not” feature proved popular and was later adapted into a wide variety of formats, including radio, television, comic books, a chain of museums and a book series.  The TV show debuted on NBC on March 1, 1949, hosted by Mr. Ripley himself.  I can still hear the old tag line from him, “Believe it, or not!”  Sadly Mr. Ripley died shortly after the 13th show aired.  Several of his friends filled in as host over the show’s tenure.

            Mr. Ripley would have several odd, strange, and just unbelievable items and events on his show.  Some them left you wondering, “Is this actually real or is it a fabrication like a carnival side show?”  Reportedly, all the things that made their way onto the show were unfabricated, unaltered, and absolutely, unbelievably real (much to the dismay of the viewers)!

            One of the things hardest to believe that we see on TV is when a magician makes things disappear.  One moment an object is there and the next, it’s gone!  “How did they do that?” we wonder.  Of course, it is a trick or slight-of-hand.  But what if something really did vanish into thin air that one moment earlier was there?  We have such an event recorded, with actual eye witnesses!

            Jesus predicted His arrest, trial, beatings, death and resurrection three times to the disciples, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.  Basically, He was telling the Apostles to, “Believe it or not!”  He went into intimate detail of how everything would happen, but the Apostles failed to believe.

            On the morning following the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to anoint Jesus’ body.  They wondered on their way to the cave where Jesus was laid how they would roll the large stone away.  Guards had even been placed at the tomb to keep the disciples away.  But when they got there, Jesus was gone and an angel stood at the opening.  “He is not here; He has risen as He said,” the angel told them.  Surely it was a “Believe it or not” moment.

            But as the angel appeared and rolled the stone back, the guards stiffened and fell to the ground.  They were able to see and hear everything!  They had to be coherent because they went back and told the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees exactly what they saw!  Were they credible?  Absolutely!  Their lives depended on keeping the tomb sealed!  Whether they believed it or not, they were the only ones who saw it first-hand!  The Pharisees must have believed it as well, as they paid the guards “hush money” and told them to lie.

            There were eye witnesses, credible evidence, and the risen Jesus appearing to the two women.  Jesus DID rise from the dead and is alive, even today.  Believe it or not!  It is a choice we all have to make!


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