Why Do I Do This?


Why do I do this? "The Bible is like a telescope. If you look through it you can see worlds beyond, but if you look at it, you see only the telescope."-- Anon. I am learning to look through it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Being Loved by Jesus

Jesus showed the "full extent of his love" by becoming a servant for his disciples. Sometimes out of false humility we refuse to be loved by Jesus. Life could be full of small and big things where Jesus shows his love for us. To love Jesus is one thing, but it is equally important to accept Jesus' love showed on the cross and also the love he shows everyday in our life. It is wonderful to have a loving relationship with Jesus.

The act of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is considered as part of his teaching on serving each other. I would not contend on that. however, there is still another side that we ignore in that incident. The Gospel of John chapter 13 verse 1 says, "having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love" (NIV). This sentence is the introduction to the feetwashing that follows.

The act of washing the feet of his disciples was act of his love. If we go by the NIV translation "the full extent of his love" (other translations: "he loved them to the last") it means that this act is the climax of his acts of love. Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus was involved in acts that showed his love for God's people. Though cross is where God showed "so loved the world" (John 3:16) Jesus earthly ministry was acts of his love. Cross is God's expression of his love for the world which includes the disciples, however, washing the feet is the expression of his full love to his friends the apostles who were gathered in that room for the Passover meal.

However, Peter was not willing to let Jesus to wash his feet because he misunderstood the purpose of what Jesus was doing. For Peter, Jesus should not do what a servant or an inferior person usually do. Jesus' reply is remarkable: "Unless I wash you, you have no part in me" (John 13:8b). Jesus was using the tactic of mild threatening which friends usually use. That sentence is the words of a friend begging another friend to let him show his love.

Jesus showed the "full extent of his love" by becoming a servant for his disciples. Sometimes out of false humility we ignore and sometimes refuse to be loved by Jesus. Life could be full of small and big things where Jesus shows his love for us. To love Jesus is one thing, but it is equally important to accept Jesus' love showed on the cross and also what he shows everyday in our loves. It is wonderful to have a loving relationship with Jesus.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

God's Deadly Silence!

For a believer in Christ the relationship with God is a living relationship because it is a relationship with a living God. This living relationship is possible because God and the worshipper are always in talking terms. The worshipper talks to God in worship, prayer and meditation. And God responds in various ways: sometimes by giving them great joy in his presence, sometimes by answering prayers and sometimes by endowing them with the "peace that transcends all understanding" (Phil 4:4) in order to pass through difficult patches in their life.

NOW READ ON...

God's word creates! That's what we learn from the first chapter of Genesis. Peter summarized the whole thing in just one verse: "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water" (2 Peter 3:5).

God speaks because he is the living God. He speaks to guide his people, to tell that what is going to happen, etc. False God's cannot speak or reveal themselves to their followers because they are dead. Psalm 115 describes what is dead gods like:

"But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them" (Psalm 115:4-8).

For a believer in Christ the relationship with God is a living relationship because it is a relationship with a living God. This living relationship is possible because God and the worshipper are always in talking terms. The worshipper talks to God in worship, prayer and meditation. And God responds in various ways: sometimes by giving them great joy in his presence, sometimes by answering prayers and sometimes by endowing them with the "peace that transcends all understanding" (Phil 4:4) in order to pass through difficult patches in their life.

However, there are times when this relationship turns to a monologue. At times we don't hear God speaking to us. The psalmist in Psalm 28 is going through that experience and he expresses his fear in verse 1: "If you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit (meaning: grave)." Many times we don't care when we haven't heard from God! However, a person like this psalmist cannot afford to live without hearing God's voice daily. I wish I had this longing for the voice of God and dependence on a living and speaking God.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Waiting for God's Mercy

"For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer" (Isa 54:7-8)

God is a holy God. The earlier chapters of the Book of Isaiah present the awesome holiness of God (chapter 6). Since God is a God of wrath and justice he punishes sin and wickedness. God sometimes may use ungodly people to punish his own people who are disobedient. That was the role of Assyria, Israel's political enemy who brought the Northern Kingdom of Israel to destruction. God described Assyria as the rod of His anger (Isa 10:5).
That's only one side of God. The other side is that of a merciful God. Years later, after he inflicted punishment upon his people at the hands of the pagans, he raised up another pagan emperor to show kindness to them. That is Cyrus the Persian Emperor whom God describes as His anointed (Isa 45:1). Hitherto only specially chosen leaders of Israel were called "anointed". But now here is a pagan king who does not know God is called his anointed, because he is going to be instrumental in showing God's mercy to his people.
Isaiah 54:7-8 portrays this picture of God's punishment and kindness in a graphic way. His mercy has overtaken his wrath. He has abandoned them but only for a while.
Though this verses are the story of a nation's abandonment and their reinstating, it has a personal dimension as well as the story of this young man tells. Probably many of us may be able to relate to this story as well.
He had come to the seminary from a not so well-to-do family. In the seminary he goes through a nervous breakdown. All his plans to complete studies, get married and then get ordained into ministry are foiled. To add to the misery the seminary advises him to take a break. An year goes by and then he joins the seminary again to find that he had to get regular help of a psychiatrist and go on his studies on a slower pace. He had to see his class graduate without him. His juniors also passed before him. Finally, his day came and he graduated. However, he was told that, knowing that he has a history of psychological illness, his church is not really willing to trust him with a church. Long internship begins; finding a marriage partner for a person who carries the stigma of mental illness was difficult in his culture.
However, he gets married much later in life than his friends. It was a long wait. The church finally is convinced that he is fully healed. Now, in a few weeks time he will be ordained into the ministry of his denomination. He decided to print Isaiah 54:7-8 on the top of the invitation card: " For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back." He has crossed the lines over to the compassion field. What God has done in his life is certainly an encouragement for all those who are waiting on the other side of our existence under God's wrath or negligence (whatever you would like to call it) to cross over. The waiting may be long, but it will certainly not be futile.