Today Christians entered a period of Palm weeks.
(Bible Reading: John 12:12-19)
Remember and celebrate the events of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Welcomed and hailed as king by many people - five days before the crucifixion (Good Friday).
Jesus' trip to Jerusalem was part of the rescue mission of God. In the welcoming atmosphere of the Easter feast, which celebrates the victory of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem is filled with the arrival of Jews from various places for this celebration.
Information coming of Jesus into Jerusalem, received a positive response. It could be because of Jesus' ministry is phenomenal and recognized a lot of people.
Verse17 speaks of the living testimony of those who saw the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, which encourages many people with alacrity welcomed Jesus with joy.
They raised his hand and waved palm branches as a form of homage to Jesus as a figure that is expected to become the king of the Jews politically.
They raised voices and convey words of praise: Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in the name of God, the King of Israel (Verse13).
Compliments containing the hope that Jesus can save them as soon as possible from the shackles of Roman occupation.
They are convinced that Jesus is the King and also Messiah; God's promised to save them from the shackles of colonial oppression and the Roman Empire. Because they have seen the authority and power that exist in Jesus. Because of their belief, they welcomed and hailed Jesus by waving Palm leaves.
Hosanna ... which means we survived, became an expression of hope and at the same time their belief in Jesus as the King of God that will save and bring peace to them.
That is why they were waving palm leaves which also is the symbol of peace. Jesus the King came to Jerusalem riding a donkey. Symbol of a humble king who comes to terms with the people of Jerusalem.
Jesus the Prince of Peace who came to Jerusalem was greeted with great fanfare, but we know the story goes that things change so fast when later the people of Jerusalem asked Jesus to be crucified ..................
John 19:15: “But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.”
Church of God ... !
Today is the last Sunday of Lent is celebrated all over the believers.
Word of God now invites us all to realize fully what the Lord Jesus has done in our lives.
Lord Jesus who taught us to believe in Him "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.“ (John 14:6)
Lord Jesus, who is the Bread of Life so that in Him we live forever (John 6:58).
Lord Jesus is our prayer intercession, so that the whole family needs is fulfilled abundantly.
Lord Jesus is doctor above every doctor so that any disease can be cured if we believe and love God.
Therefore, our journey of faith in the Lord Jesus should we fill it with an attitude of worship and praise.
Have we worship and praise the Lord with our hands and mouths, and in solidarity with all those who love the Lord Jesus?
The Lord Jesus did not reject the worship and praise him.
But God does not only want formality in religious ceremonies, but also in a real challenge.
So it does not turn around by saying:
“Away with him! Away with him! Crucify Him!, Crucify Him!”
As performed by Jews who welcomed him with great reverence and praise him but then screaming that he should be crucified.
The behavior of the believer to live a life of faith often unconsciously been like the behavior of the Jewish people.
Vehement in praise of God, but it is easy to forget Him.
So excited in worship, but in real life as lost hope when experienced problem after problem.
Talk about the communion of love, but also easy to accuse someone else's fault. Some time seem so pious, but soon turned into bad, become evil. We are often so fragile.
Therefore, let us emulate the attitude of Jesus who remained calm and steady in facing all the trials. We practice our attitudes that are pleasing to him and shared with all the people who believed in Him, prepare our-self, hearts and minds welcoming His second coming.
"Hosanna! Blessed is HE who comes in the name of God, the King of Israel! " Amen
Source: GMIM USA file Sermon delivered on Sunday Service, April 13, 2014.
A miserable trip of the Lord Jesus
Sermon delivered by Rev. Cynthia Londah-Kekung S.Th.
On Sunday worship, February 21, 2016
In the second week of Lent, Jesus steadily approaches Jerusalem, and from that moment to the point when Jesus predicted that He were to die and rise from the dead on the third day, He had not shown any sign of anxiousness about what is going to happen.
In the reading today, Jesus also predicted that He will die in Jerusalem. Jesus believed that He had to go through that, despite knowing the difficulty of the task that is filled with misery and pain.
Perhaps Jesus knew the details about His upcoming misery that he expressed His grief about how heavy the road is going to be, and He prayed to the Father. “If You are willing, take this cup from Me… (Luke 22:42).
The reading today tells a story of a few Pharisees who reminded Jesus to leave the area, because Herod wanted to get rid of him. Jesus was not like by Herod, because Herod thought He created confusion, chaos, and discord between the Pharisees.
The interesting bit is that the people who warned Jesus were the Pharisees, a group who collectively did not support Jesus and His actions, but there were a few speculations that these Pharisees, who wished Jesus to leave, did not want anything to do with Jesus, but we can speculate that they agree with Jesus’ teachings and His services about repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven that is near.
Every struggle requires bravery. Jesus realized that His struggle is not something that is elementary, but it is a struggle via Dolorosa, a Way of Suffering. That is why the information and advice that was given by the Pharisees were given the answer that was consistent toward the Way of Suffering.
The threat of death did not phase Him. Jesus’ attitude was based on the fact of His knowledge that He would not have been prosecuted in Galilea, but in Jerusalem as it says on verse 35, that was why He was not afraid to go to Jerusalem anyway.
He also did not ask for a compromise to satisfy Herod’s needs, He remained adamant.
That was why Jesus answered the Pharisees by calling Herod a wolf. An animal often pictured as being sly and cowardly, hence why Jesus did not need to be wary of his threats. In fact, that information could be purposely be spread by Herod with the purpose of getting rid of Jesus from his own territory, and at the time, killing Jesus directly was not easy, as it would provoke chaos.
In His lifetime as a servant, Jesus had visited Jerusalem a couple of times. As a Jew, Jesus always admired Jerusalem and viewed the city as a symbol of the Holy city, and also because the Temple was there. He also knew that there were many prophets from the Old Testament who were killed in Jerusalem.
Nonetheless, Jesus did not avoid that God wanted Him to go to Jerusalem to finish His job, that is why Jesus approached that town with a very latent sadness.
Why should a horrible history be repeated? Why does the place that we love keep getting tainted with evil doings that resulted in the death of the prophets and in the end, Jesus Himself?
Jesus have always loved Israel, but Israelites did not accept him, that was what Jesus felt that made him experience sadness as He approached Jerusalem.
Jesus actually claimed many times that He wanted to gather all His children as the Hen gather her children under her wings (Verse 34).
The love of Jesus toward Jerusalem symbolized His love toward Israel. Jesus’ lament is for the Jewish people, although there were only few who would be saved in the end.
But the love that has been given by God toward Israel is not automatic, that would get rid of his Justice; therefore, everything that is not pleasant in God’s eyes will be punished.
Verse 35 is the punishment that will be given to Jerusalem for the things that will happen in that town. Jesus said, “Look, your house is left to you desolate.”
That was exactly what happened, after about 40 years after Jesus’ exclamation, in the year 70, Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed by Emperor Titus and Nero, and that was followed by the exile of the Jewish people in 135 by Emperor Hadrian. Jerusalem was pulverized along with the relocation of the Jewish people from their own homes.
Jesus then quoted Psalm 118:26 that says, “you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” What He meant was that He was the Messiah and He will return to Jerusalem with thankfulness, and Jerusalem will become a new Jerusalem and everyone will welcome His second coming.
The Word of God today gives a lesson about a few important things that we can take. First, let us not generalize everything and produce a false interpretation.
If all these times we know how evil the Pharisees were toward Jesus, we cannot generalize them now, because we know that there were a few who supported and sympathized Jesus. Generalization have the potential for false accusations and sin. This is something that we must avoid from our peers. We cannot create a judgmental stereotype toward people based on characteristics of a few members of that group.
There are many of us who think like this. Many of us with a bad experience toward a certain people from a certain group will often generalize everyone in that group and attribute that negative label to them.
One bad experience cannot be the concluding end of how that person is, because the following experiences with those people will consequently be negative. To judge a book by its cover is a mistake, to regard a person based on their appearance is wrong. Therefore, let us be careful to draw conclusion toward people based on stereotypes. To avoid the stereotypes, let us start a new and get a new perspective clean from judgments, and look at the world from an objective perspective.
The second lesson from this reading is that whenever there is a path or goal, there will always be obstacles, temptations, and threats.
The threats can even go as far as taking one’s life, but as we read, even then Jesus was not afraid. Abraham was not afraid to hold on to God’s promise (Exodus 15:1-12). Jesus was not afraid because He knew what was beyond His death. He was posed, because His way was clear. We should ask why did Jesus want to go through all that.
33 years prior to this event in Luke 2:11 it says, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Thirty-three years long Jesus lived for His one mission, Salvation, and in the span of 33 years, the temptations to abandon His mission for salvation arose many times. We know that in Jesus’ times, Israel was under the Roman ruler, and Israel needed a savior from the ruling of the Romans. Many Israelites wanted Jesus as their new king. Jesus was tempted to save Israel from the Romans and become King of the world, or to follow His mission of salvation, and die on the cross for us, for those who believe in Him.
Do we not live in this world with a mission that we have to hold onto? Many times we face obstacles, and temptations.
Maybe today we look at our family life that is currently in disarray, daily arguments, unstable economic standing, or even the lack of harmony. As Jesus did in His mission, we must continue to press onward to recover our family’s wellbeing.
Maybe today there are many of us who is yet to be employed, even though we have been looking tirelessly. That is our mission, to not give up on seeking a job that God is willing to give us.
Maybe even today there are some of us who are fighting a sickness. Whenever we battle sickness whether temporary or chronic, we are tempted to complain, lose hope, and show anxiety. Our mission is to battle the struggle and believe that God will help us through the hands of the doctors, and let us continue to hold on to faith that we have toward God.
Maybe even right now while we are practicing a life filled with love as Jesus has taught us, but there are not many warm receptions in this world. Maybe our hearts will be filled with sadness, but continue to love each other. Continue to live in love as Jesus did. Continue to point your steps toward Jerusalem, toward the Way of Suffering to complete the way toward salvation by the cross. For all of us, and everyone who believes.
Fontana, June 28, 2015
1 Corinthians 12: 12-26
"DIVERSITY IS THE GRACE DIVINE"
Church of God
A husband and wife in Washington, DC, invite their friends to a party. Because the event was held to raise funds for social action, guests are asked to bring their coins. So, they took the coins were found in their homes. Altogether more than 1,500 dollars.
Some people find the coins are scattered in their homes worth more than 30 dollars. But really all Americans have abandoned nickels worth approximately 7.7 billion dollars. And the researchers say that the same thing happens in many other countries in the world.
This incident became a beautiful illustration that actually collectively, as one big family, all believers in Christ is very rich and valuable. Bible many times mentions the church as the "body of Christ" and said that "all members of the body, though many, are one body" (1 Corinthians 12:12). Each member has a different but being in one body.
Therefore, every person is different though is that important and valuable part of one entity. Sometimes we may feel insignificant, is not required, and the low value as a dime. However, as part of which forms a unity, each of us is necessary (verse 15-22).
In the current Bible readings diversity, diversity or differences in the assembly Corinthians ensued due to encouragement of creativity to build and improve services so that the emerging groups of service in the church at Corinth.
According to Paul, is theologically and service management something like this is a positive thing because it can potentially alter the church weaknesses into strengths and challenges into opportunities to realize the unity that presents shalom for the construction of the church is the body of Christ.
That is why in paragraph 18 to 21.25 Paul writes: But God has given to the members, each one specifically, somewhere in the body, such as He wills. If they were all one member, where would the body be? Indeed there are many members, yet one body. The eye can not say to the hand: "I do not need you." And the head can not say to the feet: "I do not need you." ...... .. Verse 25, "that there should be no division in the body, but the members may have the same care one for another."
By likens diversity or differences in the roles and functions and responsibilities in congregational ministry like "limbs" that God has placed in its place and function of each is uniquely different in its existence but still one in spirit, "all for one" and " one for all ".
Supposedly diversity as assets to be able to realize the great works are pleasing to God and the hearts of others, but if the diversity of the body used for unfair competition and used for self-interest and a specific group that is contrary to paragraph 25: "Lest occurred discord in the body, but the members may have the same care one for another ".
Well, that happened in the Corinthian church were each members of each other and mutual boasting harassing each other, that one feels not need the help of other members of the body: legs like a say in the eye: I do not need you, or like lung say on the nose, I do not need you. Then what happens is that the body is not functioning perfectly.
That is the reality of what happened in the Corinthian church that time, divided communities, communities are losing tolerance, community lost harmony, community experienced the death of solidarity and unity experienced death, which resulted into a community or congregation fails; failed to present himself as an instrument of peace for others,
Church of God,
Through the experience of congregational life in Corinth, the Word of God through the Apostle Paul's writings advises us as a church fellowship which is the body of Christ so that together we realize the reality of the differences that exist in domestic life and congregational life to complement each other, helping each other, hand even hand in order to realize the theme of the service in 2015 it is "live in LOVE".
In life we do not always get what we want, the reality of life is not always a straight comparable with what we expect. Various conflicts in life will always happen when we do not get to see the diversity (difference) that exists. In everyday life we constantly meet and interact with different people (background, character, personality, social status, etc.). In differences there, we do not need to find out who is better, because all created uniquely, even with His Love God created diversity differences so that people can respect each other.
Therefore, as in verse 25 by Paul explained that God had set up relationships between members of the human body in such a manner complementary, mutual help and need, and diversity (difference) it has been united in one God, then let us begin opening mind and a positive outlook, with respect to any differences that thus we too realize the full life of love that is willing to accept all the difference as a unique creation of God.