Showing posts with label Declaring Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Declaring Christ. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2011

What do you need?

Part 5

A five part series dissecting the last moments of Jesus and its relevance on our lives

Given a choice between the two, would you like your needs satisfied or your wants fulfilled?

What is  your greatest need?
A new car? New home? More money? Promotion? High paying Job / Profits from business? Lots of clothes?

If you find yourself nodding to any of these, don't be surprised. So did a billion others too. Strangely, not many people would actually prioritize God in their lists of needs.

In my concluding part of the five part Series on what Jesus Christ really wanted to tell us without telling us, I am going to explore how we can have a New Beginning in Him.

In the cloak of darkness, we are said, Nicodemus visited Jesus. Now, we all know how Jewish leaders hated Jesus. He was a rival that threatened their very existence. Convinced in some way that Jesus does hold the key to eternity and salvation, he appears to have come to meet him out of personal admiration of the divine authority that Jesus possessed. Curious as he was, he wanted Jesus to teach him the way to salvation. Cryptic in His answer, yet poignant, Jesus told him that he must be reborn to be able to see the Kingdom.

At a time when Pharisees are hard pressed to be critical of His teachings and His followers, Nicodemus was confused by His answer. To many Jews at that time and many people in today's society, being born in the 'right' family, is all that mattered. Too many Christians think that being born as a Christian and attending Masses are enough to reach salvation.
Just as Nicodemus figured that by the virtue of his physical birth and his religious status as the leader of Pharisees that he is destined for the kingdom of Heaven, too many Christians think by elaborate prayers and measured tithes, they've booked their 60x40 in the Kingdom of Heaven.

O you, of little faiths! How far from the truth are you?

Reading on, we can also picture the shock and disbelief in the face of Nicodemus as he is asked to do the impossible task of being reborn. Jesus explains how a person must be born of the water and the spirit to be considered eligible to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Perhaps Nicodemus came to Jesus with an agenda to trap Him or to prove Him wrong. Yet maybe, he might have come with a need to be validated.
But Jesus's answer stumps him. Nicodemus struggles with the answers but goes back a changed person. From a haughty and proud Pharisee, he becomes a humble believer.

To all who come to Jesus, there is good news.
The Bible is replete with stories of people who has a need. We all have unending lists of needs. But are we really satisfying our Spiritual needs too?
There's healing available for everyone.

There's healing for everyone..
Faith is all that is required. Learning to exercise faith in Jesus and the willingness to humble yourself is the only thing that can save you.

The problem with religion is that people are constantly trying to complicate things. Followers are led to believe that they must go through a series of rituals to be saved. Jesus tried to simplify Godly living by showing us that He can do it even as a human being. Its doable!

'Here I am, Lord, Use me as you will'
Salvation is yours, the moment you confess this with your heart.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not so tough now, are you?

Part 3
A five part series dissecting the last moments of Jesus and its relevance on our lives

A phrase that has been immortalized in Hollywood movies, how many times have we thought  we were strong enough to not stray away from the path of God, but have failed. Miserably.
Very similar to how Peter denied Christ.
The most famous denial in Christianity is something that has fascinated me every time I've read about the last few hours of Christ and his Passion.
As a child, I've wondered how someone could say something and not stick by it. I've wondered how Peter could deny our Lord so easily and to complete strangers at the speed at which he did.
But of course, Sunday School teachers won't ever tell us why he did deny Jesus or what Peter really went through post his denial. Most people that I've spoken to could not really explain why.
But the answer is there in our midst.
When Peter proclaimed his undying love for Christ and his wish to follow Christ unto death, Christ's response to him is quite different from how we would respond to, if someone said the same to us.
Very long ago, a girlfriend told me that she would never leave me and declared her undying devotion and unabated love until death does us apart. Great! I thought. But her 'unabated and devotion' to me lasted only for 2 years when she found another person to shower her 'undying love' to.
If only I knew then what I know now, I would have told her to measure her words and to use it only if she meant it truly. 
But of course we all mean what we say when we say it. Specially when we are in love. And I am not even talking about romantic love. It would be our love for our parents, our teachers, colleagues, friends or even movie actors. But just as the seasons change, our love fades and our words are just as easily dead.

Christ's words might have cut Peter like not before, but I dont think he would have thought much of His rebuttal. Peter continued about his motions of following Jesus, unaware that he was witnessing Creation's most incredible event. Like a deer caught between the headlights, Peter was 'caught' by various people, who where not even important or threatening, but caught at a point where he was witnessing a huge travesty of justice, he simply caved in. 
Jesus, looks at him. Not with disgust, hatred or anger. But with a look that has compassion.
Like a bad case of deja vu, his deep despair and anguish of having let his Lord down, is something that we have all experienced, most surely more than once.
As a stronger believer in Christ, I can now identify myself with Peter. I have disowned him many times, only to realise how foolish I am. I have resisted walking in His path even when I promised not to stray.

Having promised our utter obedience to our Lord Christ, how many times have we faltered and 'given in' to a temptation?
How many times have you thought you were strong enough to beat a habit, but caved in at the first instance?
How many times have you felt invincible but fallen to the gutters of sin?
Peter, however, went on to become one of Christianity's greatest disciple, preaching, practicing and living a life like his Master even to his death.

What is important is not how much you've denied Him in the past, but how much you are ready to let go of yourself for Him right now. 

I've realised that being 'born again' mustn't just be a tag that sets you apart but an experience where you realise that you will fall. How you pick yourself up, dust off and walk with a clearer picture is what will save you.

Part 2 here
Part 1 here


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