Saturday, April 01, 2006

Go to my brothers

Go to my brothers

“But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
(John 20:17)

Jesus here calls his disciples who deserted him at the hour of his greatest need “my brothers.” I am deeply touched by this. It shows complete forgiveness and acceptance of these “brothers” who had every reason at this time to fear reproach, condemnation and punishment. Oh that I may be as magnanimous as Jesus.

He also said here: ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ God is indeed my Father. This is a great encouragement when I pray to him today.

Jesus spoke these words to Mary of Magdala. (John 20: 17) Mary’s love for Jesus took her to the tomb first thing in the morning. Jesus rewarded this devotion and loyalty by appearing to her and making her the first messenger of his resurrection. There is a lesson here. When Mary took the word of Jesus to his brothers, they did not believe her. They had a stereotype idea of how such a message should come to them. I pray for grace to discern God’s word in my life, no matter from whatever source.

Thank you Jesus for your word this morning. Increase my faith and love for the Father. Open my mind fully to your messages today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

She is my mother

She is my mother!

“Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’  Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’  And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.”  (John 19: 26)

Jesus hung on the cross for three hours.  Mary stood by Jesus till the very last moment.  She stood there without support of any kind.  I think of occasions when I had to stand for about an hour in a function.  It was stressful.  But we see Mary here stood under the cross with her eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.  She saw everything.  She watched Jesus as they drove the nails into his flesh.  Then they hauled up the wooden cross with the body of Jesus and fixed it to a deep hole in the ground.  It can be safely said that not too many women from the beginning of the world had witnessed such a deep sorrow and suffering.  Mary did not faint nor swoon.  God gave her the strength to endure everything.  She became as it were, the first Christian martyr.

Jesus with eyes bloodshot from intense suffering saw his mother standing beside the cross.  He said to the mother, ‘Woman, this is your son, Emmanuel.’  As I stood there, crushed with sorrow, I heard Jesus say to me:  ‘This is your mother.’  What exactly does Jesus mean by saying to me, ‘This is your mother?’  I understand.  Life will present unbearable moments after his death.  I would need a mother to console me, advice and intercede for me.  I need Mary.  Yes, Lord Jesus, you are right.  I need a mother.  Thank you for your mother who is also my mother.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Amazing Demonstration of Faith

Amazing Demonstration of Faith

“The royal official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’  Jesus said to him, ‘You may go; your son will live.’  The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.”  (John 4:49 – 50)

I had been a Christian for many years before I understood what faith means.  I remember that the first time I came to realize that faith means believing or trusting in what God says to us, I was surprised.  It sounded so simple.  My immediate reaction to this definition of faith was:  “Would anybody doubt what God says?”  In fact, this is what we do most of the time.  

When Jesus said to the royal official, “You may go, your son will live,” scripture reported that “The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.”  Later when his servants met him on the way to inform him that his child was healed, he asked the time of his improvement in order to confirm to himself that it was Jesus’ action and not a coincidence.  His trust in the words of Jesus is to me an amazing demonstration of faith.

A centurion approached Jesus on one occasion and appealed to him saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.’  He said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.”  The centurion told Jesus that there was no need for him to come personally but to “only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  Jesus praised his faith and healed his servant.  For me this is an amazing demonstration of faith by the centurion.

The good Thief who saw beyond sense evidence to recognize the divine in Jesus when his bloodied body hung on the cross demonstrated an amazing faith when he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 42 – 43)

There are many amazing demonstrations of faith in the Gospel, but I chose to focus on these three today.