Thursday, 26 December 2013

Saturday after Epiphany, 12 January

I. Reading: 1John 5:14-21: Whatever we may ask, he hears us.

Gospel: John 3:22-30: The bridegroom’s friend is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.

The Revelation of Jesus, The New Master, Jn 3:22-36

This passage points that Jesus Christ as the New Master, the One whom God has set before man as the only Master worthy of serving.

1. The setting for the revelation (v.22-26)

a. Jesus and His disciples were baptizing in Judaea

b. John and his disciples were baptizing close by

c. Two basic questions of life

          1) who really purifies man’s heart?

          2) who is the supreme Master?

2. Answer 1: Jesus alone was God’s appointed Messiah (v.27-28)

a. God alone appoints men

b. God had not appointed John as the Messiah, but as the forerunner

3. Answer 2: Jesus alone was the Bridegroom (v.29-30)

a. He is the One by whom the friend stands

b. He is the voice that is to be heard

c. He is the cause of joy

d. He is the only object of loyalty

4. Answer 3: Jesus alone was from above-from heaven (v.31)

a. Meaning: “Out of”

b. Result: Jesus is above all

5. Answer 4: Jesus alone was God’s spokesman (v.32-34)

a. He testifies

b. some reject

c. Some accept and seal His testimony

d. Proof: Sent from God and speaks God’s Word

6. Answer 5: Jesus alone had the Spirit without limit (v.34)

7. Answer 6: Jesus alone determines man’s destiny (v.35-36)

a. To believe Him brings eternal life

b. Not to obey Him brings wrath

Thought: Only Christ can cleanse and purify a man’s heart and give him true cleansing from sin. 

The true servants of God are appointed to their service and ministry by God.

Friday after Epiphany, 11 January

I. Reading: 1John 5:5-13: The Spirit, the water and the blood.

Gospel: Luke 5:12-16: And the leprosy left him at once.

Jesus Cleanses the Untouchable, Lk 5:12-16

Some persons are treated by society as though they are untouchable. Some persons are so gripped and enslaved, so depraved and destitute, so different and derelict, so down and out, so helpless and helpless that they become untouchable to most people. But not to Jesus. And that is the whole thrust of this event. Jesus will touch the untouchable and he will cleanse the untouchable.

1. Jesus was confronted by a desperate man, an untouchable (v.12)

a. He was full of leprosy

b. He saw Jesus: fell on his face and called Jesus Lord; he begged for cleansing

2. Jesus cleansed the untouchable (v.13)

a. Jesus touched him and said, “ I am willing-I will make you cleanse”

b. The leper was cleansed

3. Jesus charged the newly cleansed man (v.14)

a. To tell no man: Boast not; watch being prideful

b. To rush to obey God

4. Jesus made an impact (v.15-16)

a. His frame spread rapidly

b. The crowds thronged to hear Him and to be healed by Him

c. He withdrew into the wilderness to pray

Thought: Jesus wishes to touch every person who has become untouchable. The Lord’s Word is sufficient, able to save and heal unto the uttermost (Heb 7:25).

Thursday after Epiphany, 10 January

I. Reading: 1John 4:19-5:4: Anyone who loves God must also love his brother.

Gospel: Mark 4:14-22: This text is being fulfilled today.

The Parable of the Sower or Farmer:

How Men Receive the Word of God, Mk 6:1-20

There are two great lessons in this parable.

First, there is the lesson of sowing the seed, the lesson to the messenger of God. The messenger of God or the genuine believer is to sow the seed, the Word of God, wherever he/she is no matter the difficulty, the opposition, or the discouragement. When Jesus stood before people, He knew the kind of people who sat before Him.

Second, there is the great lesson on receiving the seed, the lesson to the hearers of the Word of God. The soils, that is, human hearts, varying among people. The condition of his/her heart determined how he/she will love God and his/her neighbour, whether he/she will be responsive or close minded.

The point is that God holds a person responsible for the condition of his heart and for how he responds to the gospel.

In this parable Jesus paints the picture of various soils (hearts) and how they receive the seed, the Word of God. (Mt 13:1-9; Lk 8:4-15)

1. Jesus began a new method of teaching-the parable (v.1-2)

2. The parable: a sower or farmer sows (v.3-9)

3. The response to the parable (v.10-12)

4. The meaning of the parable (13-20)

Thought: There are many who are outside…who are hard-hearted and close minds against spiritual things.

Wednesday after Epiphany, 9 January

I. Reading: 1John 4:11-18: As long as we love one another God will live in us.

Gospel: Mark 6:45-52: They saw him walking in the lake.

Five Wise Lessons for Service, Mk 6:45-52

Jesus wanted the disciples to learn five lessons for service-lessons that would prove invaluable in their ministry to the world.

1. Lesson 1: Crowd excitement is not always wise (v.45)

2. Lesson 2: Prayer after service is wise (v.46)

3. Lesson 3: Crying for help in time of need is wise (v.47-49)

a. Their struggle was long

b. Their fear was horrifying

c. Their cry was desperate

4. Lesson 4: Receiving the presence of Jesus is wise (v.50-51)

a. His presence erases fear

b. His presence calms the storm

5. Lesson 5: Remembering and trusting the power of Jesus is wise (v.52)

Thought: Receiving the presence of Jesus Christ takes care of all problems and trials. He gives the strength to row through all the storms of life, no matter their turbulence and severity.

Motive, objective and personal control are what make the difference. Excitement due to wrong motives and desires can lead  to several problems.

Tuesday after Epiphany, 8 January

I. Reading: 1John 4:7-10: God is love.

Gospel: Mark 6:34-44: By multiplying the loaves Jesus shows that he is a prophet.

The Attitudes toward Human Need and Resources, Mk 6:35-44

The feeding of five thousand is the only miracle recorded by all four gospel writers. The miracle is so close to God’s heart: human need. Jesus deals with our attitudes toward human need. He is concerned with how we handle our resources, with how we go about meeting the needs that confront us. The lesson is powerful for us all.

1. Two attitudes toward human need (v.35-37)

a. Individual responsibility

b. Corporate responsibility

2. Six attitudes toward resources (v.37-44)

a. Questioning one’s ability to give

b. Checking to see what one can give

c. Organising to use what resources one has

d. Being thankful for what one has and can give

e. Giving what one has

f. Being careful in the handling of resources

Thought: Jesus Christ takes whatever is given to him, and he multiplies its purpose, meaning and significance.

Monday after Epiphany, 7 January

I. Reading: 1John 3:22-4:6: Test the spirits, to see if they come from God.

Gospel: Matthew 4:12-17. 23-25: The kingdom of heaven is close at hand.

Jesus’ Ministry: Going Forth with Purpose, Mt 4:12-17

The time had now come-the time when Jesus was to go forth to His great purpose. This is for every believer, laypeople, and ministers alike. Every believer is called of God, actually sent into the world for a specific purpose. The sad fact is that too many believers are not aware of their purpose. They do not know why God sent them into the world. Let us go forth as Jesus Christ went forth, to carry on the great task which God has given him to do.

1. There was the sign to begin: John’s imprisonment (v.12)

2. There was the chosen headquarters: Galilee (v.12-13)

a. Jesus left Nazareth

b. Jesus headquartered in Capernaum

3. There was the deliberate decision to fulfil Scripture (v.14)

4. There was the mission (v.15-16)

a. To go to needy lands

b. To take people in darkness and show them great light

c. To take people in death and give them light

5. There was the message (v.17)

a. Repentance

b. Reason: The kingdom of heaven is near

Jesus’ Dramatic Fame: A Successful Ministry, Mt 4:23-25

A successful ministry is a ministry that follows in the footsteps of the Lord. This message shows forth what the Lord did and the results of what He did. His activities set a pattern for every believer, minister and laypeople alike.

1. Jesus’ sphere of activity (v.23)

a. Through all Galilee

b. In the Synagogue

2. Jesus’ daily activities (v.23)

a. Teaching

b. Preaching the gospel

c. Healing    

3. Jesus’ fame: Spread throughout all Syria (v.24)

4. Jesus’ power (v.24)

a. Over the spiritual

b. Over the mental

c. Over the physical

5. Jesus’ following (v.25)

a. Large crowds followed

b. From everywhere: Both Jew and Gentile

Thought: Where are the large crowds today?

i. Are people no longer hungry for God? Are the fields no longer white unto harvest? (Jn 3:35)

ii. Do preachers not seek God as much as Christ did? (Mk 1:35, 6:46; Lk 5:16, 9:18, 22:41)

iii. Are preachers not as compassionate and concerned as Christ was? (Mt 9:36, 14:14; Is 63:9)

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


I.                  Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6: Above you the glory of the Lord appears.

II. Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3.5-6: It has now been revealed that pagans share the same inheritance.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12: We saw his star and have come to do the king homage.

Jesus’ Acknowledgement as King by Wise Men or Magi:
An Unexpected Worship.

The Feast of the Epiphany we are celebrating today is the oldest feast in the Church after Easter and Pentecost. It has been celebrated long before the Christmas was; it took the place of Christmas many years, since the birth of Jesus was one among the various events remembered on this day by the early church. The word “Epiphany” in Greek means “Manifestation”, that is, the clear appearing of something or of one, unknown to us before.
Today we celebrate the unknown one (JESUS) who has made us known himself to all of us.
The purpose of the Epiphany is: To praise God because Christ has made himself known to people for what he really is: The Son of God and our Saviour.
The wise men (magi) are a picture of those who seek Jesus.  As they sought him, events totally unexpected happened time and again. This is usually the case with those who seek Jesus. But God is faithful.  If a person truly seeking Jesus, God takes the unexpected events and works them out for good (Rom 8:28). God leads the person to Jesus regardless of circumstances and events, expected or unexpected.
1.     The unexpected Saviour: Jesus was born in Bethlehm (v.1)
a.     In the days of king Herod
b.    Magi came seeking him
2.     Their unexpected question: Where is the new born king? (v.2)
a.     The unusual journey from the east
b.    Their purpose: to worship
3.     Their unexpected disturbance (v.3-6)
a.     Disturbed all the people in Jerusalem
b.    Disturbed Herod: he misconceived a threat
c.      Disturbed the religionists
i.                   Herod quizzed them
ii.                 They had ignored the Scripture (until now)
4.     Their unexpected commission: having to search for the new born king (v.7-8)
a.     Their testimony: the star
b.    Their commission: to go-search-find
5.     Their unexpected sign: the star guided them again (v.9-10)
6.     Their unexpected king: a humbled child in humble surroundings (v.11)
a.     They found him in a house
b.    They gave Jesus worship not to the king Herod neither they obeyed Herod’s command rather they obeyed God’s command
c.      They gave him gifts( gold for the kingship of Jesus, incense for the divinity of Jesus and myrrh for the humanity of Jesus)
Our whole life is a continuous Epiphany: Jesus goes on manifesting himself to us at all times.
Thought: God’s ways are not man’s way (1Cor 1:26-31). The newborn king is not a humanistic Saviour. He is God’s Saviour who has come in God’s way (Phil 2:7-8; 2Cor 8:9).

7 January
I. Reading: 1John 5:14-21: Whatever we may ask, he hears us.
Gospel: John 2:1-12: This was the first of the sign given by Jesus: It was given at Cana in Galilee.
Revelation: Creative Power: Sign (God takes initiative to act/make miracle)
After the epiphany-the appearance or manifestation of God on earth/world shows the true kingship of Jesus in the world as against the king Herod. This was the first miraculous sign Jesus performed. It demonstrated His very purpose for coming to earth: to reveal the creative power of God. He had the power to create or to make (parallel to Genesis 1: 1f) and produce what was needed to meet human’s need.
1.     A wedding in Cana of Galilee (v.1-2)
a.     Time: third day
b.    Mary attended: invitation is very important otherwise there won’t be a miracle
c.      Jesus and the disciples attended
2.     The concern of Jesus’ creative power (v.3-5) parallel to Gen 1:1f.
a.     Mary’s social concern
b.    Jesus’ deeper concern: To meet man’s spiritual need
c.      Mary’s confidence in her Son
3.     The revelation of Jesus’ creative power (v.6-8)
a.     The materials: Water Jars-used for cleansing and quenching thirst
b.    The command: Prepare/fill the jars
c.      The obedience: They drew water and experience the creative power of Jesus
4.     The results of Jesus’ creative power (v.9-11)
a.     People’s needs were met
b.    Christ’s glory was revealed
c.      The disciples’ faith was strengthened
Thought: Jesus honoured marriage by attending the wedding feast and by meeting the urgent need of the bridegroom. He graced and blessed the marriage because he was the wedding. So invitation to Jesus and Mary and disciples of Jesus is very important to see the creative power of God and the miracle of Jesus Christ.

6 January
I. Reading: 1John 5:5-13: There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the Water and the blood.
Gospel: Mark 1:6-11:You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.
Jesus Christ and His Baptism: A Decision for God (Mark 1:9-11)
Jesus’ baptism pictures what happened when a person makes a decision for God.
1.     There is a decision for God and submission to God (v.9):
A total surrender to God’s Will & Mission:
i.                   The sacrifice of all that Jesus had in Nazareth.
ii.                 A sacrifice of a long earthly life. By choosing the mission of God, he was to be killed in only thirty-six months.
iii.              The sacrifice of His Godly righteousness, He was to become the sin-bearer for the world (Justification - Rom 5:1; 1Pet 2:21-24).
iv.              The sacrifice of God’s presence. In death, God was to forsake Him (Mt 27:46-49).
v.                 By being baptized Jesus was leaving Nazareth and surrendering totally to God’s will and mission to save the world by His death on the cross.
2.     There is a beginning and an identification with God and His people (v.9)
3.     There is a commissioning and empowering (v.10)
4.     There is the approval and encouragement of God (v.11)
Thought: The decision to follow Jesus is a momentous decision. It involves the total surrender of all we are and have which means self-sacrifice until death with a joyful life following Christ the Lord.

5 January
I. Reading: 1John 3:11-21: We have passed out of death and into life because we love our brothers.
Gospel: John 1:43-51: You are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.
Jesus the One Prophesied: The Witness of Philip (Jn 1:43-45)
Philip’s discovery and witness of Jesus Christ was unmistakable. Jesus was the One prophesied in Scripture; He was the promised Messiah.
1.     Philip’s experience (v.43-44)
a.     He was sought by Jesus personally
b.    He was called by Jesus personally
c.      The reason: Philip knew Andrew and Peter
2.     Philip’s first concern: Nathanael (v.45)
3.     Philip’s conviction: Jesus was the one prophesied (v.45)
Jesus the Son of God, the King of Israel: The Witness of Nathanael (1:46-49)
Nathanael’s confrontation with Jesus was dramatic. Nathanael was a man of prejudice and strong feelings. Yet he knew despair and hopelessness; therefore, he was difficult to lead to Christ. However, despite all, his friend Philip persisted and refused to give up in witnessing to him. As a result, Nathanael was won to Christ.
1.     Nathanael’s experience (v.46)
a.     A man of despair and prejudice
b.    Invited to follow Jesus despite prejudice
2.     Nathanael’s confrontation with Jesus (v.47-48)
a.     Jesus knew him: his belief and character
b.    Jesus knew his innermost being-all things about him
3.     Nathanael’s conviction: Jesus was the Son of God (v.49)
Jesus the Son of God, God’s Mediator: The Witness of Jesus himself (1:50-51)
Jesus bore witness to himself. He clearly declared who he was.
1.     Nathanael’s experience (v.46-49)
2.     The revelation of God, the One who reveals greater things (v.50): Jesus was the revelation of God.
3.     The Mediator (v.51): Jesus is the Mediator between God and people.
4.     The Son of God (v.51): Jesus Christ is the Ideal man (cf. Mt 1:16; Jn 1:14; Col 2:9-10; Heb 1:3): the representative man, the perfect man, the pattern, the embodiment of everything a man ought to be in God’s plan for world history. (cf. Daniel 7:13-14; 1Cor 15:45-47)
Thought: A man or woman can approach God and enter heaven through Christ (Jn 14:6)