Monday, December 26, 2016

Consecration for new beginnings

The command to consecrate is found throughout the Old Testament and the Bible in general. The priests are to be consecrated, the place of worship and all its artefacts are to be consecrated. However, the command ‘consecrate yourself’ found in Joshua 3:5 carries a special significance. ‘Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”’
It is a consecration for a special purpose. The reason for this consecration is that tomorrow they are going to see great miracle that God is going to do for them. They are going to cross over to the land that was promised to their ancestors centuries ago. Moreover, they are going to cross over the turbulant waters of Jordan that is overflowing over its banks.
The people whom Joshua addresses are the new generation of Exodus group who are born in the desert, except for Joshua and Caleb. Their parents who left with the hope of reaching the promised land perished in the wilderness unable to see the fulfillment of the promise. That promise was made by God to Abraham almost 500 years ago. God had promised Abraham that he will give his descendants the land of Canaan.
However, about five centuries have elapsed. Now they are at the verge of the fulfilment of that promise. It was 500 years away from Abraham, forty years away for Moses and the original group left Egypt, but for this new group it is less than 24 hours away.
But life has taught all of us that many things could be missed at the last point. In the finals of the sprint event, though we were in the lead all throughout, it was the feet of the person just behind us that touched the line first. We were pushed to second place at that crucial last split second. 
However old be the promise, it can be missed even in the last few hours. These less than 24 hours are crucial. They are going to cross over. Joshua instructs the people, ‘consecrate yourself.’ That is how we prepare ourselves for new beginnings. Another year is almost over, a few more hours remain. These are the hours to consecrate ourselves in order to see the miracles that the Lord is going to showcase before us in the New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

'Command me!'

And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matt 14:28-33, ESV).

I have heard preachers say that there is only one person who ever walked over water and that is Jesus. That is an oversimplification and a misreading of the scripture. However, I read Matthew 14:22-33 again to find out that there are two people who really walked on water—Jesus and Peter!

Most of us focus on Peter beginning to drown. However, the scripture passage clearly says that Peter walked over water and reached Jesus. He began to drown only after reaching arms-length from Jesus.

The first step in Peter accomplishing world record as the first human being to walk on water is to be commanded by Jesus. Jesus assured the disciples that it is not a ghost but he himself who is walking on the water. Peter’s immediate response was, ‘Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ Jesus commanded him by saying, ‘come!’ Then Peter steps out to the stormy sea and walks just as Jesus was walking.

For Peter, it was not just a thrill, but it was a test. The test is if it is Jesus and not a ghost who is walking over the water, then his command will make it possible for Peter to walk. The ghost cannot command and make it happen.
 
Peter has illustrated another aspect of Christian faith. This truth is that we cannot do things unless God has commanded us.

But why did he begin to drown? That is because he was afraid of the wind. He was with Jesus, he is on a firm glassy ground with Jesus. There is nothing to worry but he was afraid of the wind. If we step out on faith in response to his command we do the impossible. Jesus commands and things happen. However, our fear makes us drown.

Burning Bushes

'And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning,...