Saturday, April 5, 2014

Matthew 27


After scheming and planning on how Jesus should be executed, the Sanhedrin delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.

Matthew records traitor Judas' remorse. When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he flinged back those thirty pieces of silver to the treasury. However they refused, as it was against the law to put blood money back into the treasury. The elders instead bought a potter’s field with that money. This was in fulfillment of Zechariah, although Matthew wrongly cites Jeremiah. Judas hanged himself.

When the chief priests and elders accused Jesus, he stood silent before Pilate. He did not speak a single word against the charges that were brought over him. This amazed the governor. It was a custom to release a prisoner during Passover. The two possibilities were in front of them:
(a) Jesus, who is called the Messiah,
(b) Jesus Barabbas, a notorious murderer.

While Pilate was sitting on the judgement seat, his wife sent him a note about a disturbing dream she had on account of Jesus of Nazareth. The crowd insisted that Barabbas be released, and Jesus crucified. Pilate then washed his hands symbolizing he has no part in it.

Jesus was scourged. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Simon from Cyrene was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. Jesus was crucified on three nails. He was given sour wine and gall to drink - which has a numbing effect on mind and body. Jesus refused it.

Soldiers cast lots for his garments. Then, Jesus was mocked on the cross by those scribes and elders. Those crucified with Jesus reviled him. From the sixth to the ninth hour, there was darkness across the land.
Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Some thought he was calling for Elijah.

When Jesus cried out in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that instant, the veil in the temple, separating the holy from the most holy place was torn into two. Earth shook, rocks split, and tombs broke open. Dead saints were raised from the dead and appeared to many.

A centurion present there at the scene said, "Surely, he was the Son of God.’

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Joseph of Armithea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body to be buried. He buried Jesus in his own tomb. Mary Magdalene and other Mary waited on the other side of the tomb. The tomb was sealed, so that the disciples could not steal his body and claim he had risen from the dead.

Star Student


Having a 'Star Student' in the neighboring High School is a privilege. Knowing one is an honor. Being friends with one is a cool thing. Students graduate High School with varying degree of accomplishments. Some push it to the limit and excel in their field of choice, while others take it easy.

'Star Students' are those who accomplish a great deal, have outstanding credits and are high achievers. Good counsel, backing from parents, and blessings from above are vital when it comes to being a Start Student. Colleges throw their doors wide open to accommodate these "Stars." Any parent would dream of having these kids under their own roof.

King Solomon mentioned about such kids in Proverbs, at least on two occasions:
"The proverbs of Solomon: A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother." ~ Proverbs 10:1
"Sensible children bring joy to their father; foolish children despise their mother." ~ Proverbs 15:20
This past week, I read the story of such a 'Star Student', Kwasi Enin, who accomplished a rare feat of getting admitted into all 8 Ivy league colleges - Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, and Yale. He started his application process with a 2,250 score on SAT and a stellar academic record.

It is indeed a blessing to know such students and be associated with them.

Tap here to read the story of Kwasi Enin in WSJ blog.






Credits: WSJ

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

John 17


This chapter narrates the prayers of Jesus.

Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed to be glorified, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You."

Next, he prayed for his disciples, who accepted his words, who knew Jesus came from Heaven, and who were going to be part of the world. He asked Father to protect them.

In his prayer, Jesus tells the Father, "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." Still he prayed for their protection.


Jesus prayed that his followers may be kept in joy and sanctified, and be unified in belief. The glory the Father has given the Son, the Son may then give to those who believe in Him.

Monday, March 31, 2014

John 16


Jesus told his disciples that they will face persecution. Those persecuting the disciples will put them out of Synagogues, and even murder them thinking they are offering a service to God. All these they do because they have not known The Father or Jesus. Further, Jesus said,
John 16:4 - 5 "I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 

When Jesus departs, the Helper - The Holy Spirit will come. The Holy Spirit will help the world understand sin, righteousness and judgment. He spoke bit philosophically about the Holy Spirit, which the disciples were unable to digest it at that time.
John 16:12 - 15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Hearing all these, the disciples were in grief. Jesus assured them that their sorrow will soon be turned into joy. Whatever we ask of the Father in Jesus’ name will be given.
John 16:23-24 "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
Jesus said he came from the Father, and is now returning to the Father. The disciples believed so. He cautioned them that a time is coming when they will be scattered.

Another statement of hope and jubilation is that Jesus wants us to experience peace. He gives us the key to it as well:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

My Thoughts:
If you have been following this blog, you know where Jesus is going. He is going to his Father's house - the Heaven. That is where we are going too. Here is the plan - we will follow Jesus and we will arrive at our destination, those Pearly Gates of Heaven, de facto!

Jesus wanted to speak more, but he did not. He wants us to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Being scattered is an unpleasant feeling. It certainly is not something that Lord wants. He wants us to stay united. I wish everyone stays closer to their dear friends and family, without having to experience that bitter taste.

What a victorious and secure feeling it is to be with that One Person who has overcome the world. That is what we should be aiming for. It is certainly not easy - but we can keep trying. Remember, our opponent - the devil does not want us to win!



Credits:
Agnus Day appears with the permission of www.agnusday.org

John 15


Jesus expressed himself, saying, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away."

He also gave out the secret on how we can bear fruits:
John 15:5 - 8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Then, he talked about love and obedience, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends."


The message he conveyed is that whoever follows him can expect persecution from an antagonistic world. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Son from the Father, will witness testify of the Son.



My Thoughts:
How to experience the greatest love? The secret is giving - offering everything we have, to that person we love the most, without holding anything back. When we give out freely, we experience a sense of accomplishment. The most we can give is ourselves. This is such a vast topic, and we could talk about this for few years in one sitting!


Credits:
Agnus Day appears with the permission of www.agnusday.org