Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I Reading: Genesis 2:7-9;3:1-7: The creation and fall of our first parents.
II Reading: Rom 5:12-19: However great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater.
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11: Jesus fasted for forty days and is tempted.
Jesus’ Temptation: Overcoming All, Mt 4:1-11
Why was Jesus being tempted now, right after his baptism (a mountaintop experience) and right before the launch of his ministry? There is one primary reason. He had to be prepared-prepared mentally, spiritually and physically. How he could prepare himself? There was only one way: He had to get alone with God and subject himself; to gain complete control over His body and spirit. He had to get completely apart from the world.
He got alone for forty days and nights in order to be with God. He prayed, he thought, he meditated on the Scripture. Finally he planned to bear heavy1 responsibility to launch his ministry after conquering the temptations.
1. Jesus’ temptation (v.1)
a. Led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted
b. Tempted by the devil
2. Temptation 1: To prove his deity by using his power for personal reasons (v.2-4)
a. The temptation
          1) To meet needs by His own power
          2) To trust himself and his own  ability instead of God
b. Jesus’ answer: From Scripture
          1) Man needs more than bread
          2) Man needs God’s life spiritual
3. Temptation 2: To prove his deity by the spectacular (v.5-7)
a. The temptation
          1) To test God
          2) To attract attention by the spectacular
b. Jesus’ answer: From Scripture
          1) God is not to be tested
          2) God is to be trusted, not the spectacular
4. Temptation 3: To prove his deity by compromise (v.8-10)
a. The temptation
          1) To achieve his purpose by another route
          2) To switch loyalties or to take a short-cut
b. Jesus’ answer: From Scripture
          1) A decisive choice
          2) A worship of God alone
5. Conclusion: The triumphant victory over temptation (v.11)
Thought: The devil knows just where to tempt a person.
1. In the wilderness or desert: in the time of poverty or need
2. On the pinnacle, the highest point of the temple: in the time of richness, multitudes, power, fame etc
3. On a high mountain: in the time of prayer, peaceful life, serenity etc.
Thought: Jesus Christ met temptation by doing three things:
1. He spent time alone with God
2. He made sure he was led by the Spirit
3. He relied upon the Scripture
Thought: God created us out of his love to trust His love. But the disobedience of our first parents and our own disobedience brought suffering and death and injustice to the world. We are naked now, that is, powerless, miserable, destined to death, incapable of seeing God as a blind person. Lent is a time to come back to our senses; to realize our sinful life, foolishness, disobedience to God’s command and will. Let us pray to God with repentant heart so that God may heal us from our sins, strengthen us and lead us back to himself.
Thought: The armor of God is the glorious provision God provides for the believer’s victory over temptation (Eph 6:10-20)

I Reading: Isaiah 58:9-14: Your light will rise in the darkness.
Gospel: Luke 5:27-32: I have not called the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus Reveals His Great Mission: The Greatest Mission of All (5:27-39)

The greatest life ever lived on earth was the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore no mission can ever compare with the mission which he was sent to do. The greatest mission of Christ was...
·        A quickening mission: to make people alive to God.
·        An eternal mission: to give people life forever.
·        A purposeful mission: to cause people to commit their lives to God unconditionally.
Luke’s very purpose in this passage is to reveal the greatest mission of Christ. With the skilful mind of a man who knew the Lord intimately, he waves several events together to spell out the great mission of the Lord.
1.     The mission of calling outcasts (v.27-29)
a.     He went forth
b.    He saw
c.      He called
d.    The outcast left all and followed Jesus
e.      The outcasts reached his friends
2.     The mission of calling sinners to repentance (30-32)
a.     The religionists questioned Jesus’ associations
b.    Jesus’ answer
i.                   He illustrated his mission
ii.                 He stated his mission
3.     The mission of bringing real joy (33-34)
a.     The religionists questioned Jesus’ behaviour
b.    Jesus’ answer: his presence brings joy and vitality to life
4.     The mission of dying (35)
5.     The mission of launching a new life and a spiritual movement (36-39)
a.     Illustration 1: not patching the old, but starting a new
b.    Illustration 2: not putting his teaching (wine) in old wineskins, but in a new wineskin
c.      Illustration 3: the new is difficult to accept- it takes time

Thought: Jesus’ call is issued to all people, for all people are outcasts, the outcasts of heaven. However, there is a condition to becoming an acceptable person to God. A person must humble him/herself before Jesus, just as Jesus humbled himself before us (Mt 18:3; 2cor 7:10; phil 2:8; 2:6-8; Ps 2:6-9; Joel 2: 12).

I Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9: Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me?
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15: When the bridegroom is taken away from them, they will fast.
Jesus Answers the Question about Fasting:
Ushering a New Age & Covenant, 9:14-17
The question of fasting had already been answered by Jesus (Mt 6:16-18). What Jesus did was enlarge the question of fasting to include all religious ceremony and rituals, rules and regulations. He used three illustrations to show that he was ushering a new life, a new age and a new covenant between God and people. The truth of the old religion and practices were to be preserved (v.17). But now the truth superseded all former truth.
He had been sent by God to bring a new life to all people. The focus of this new life was His presence, the presence of the Bridegroom. Christ is the bridegroom of the new age, the new life and the new covenant. He is the bridegroom the Church.
1.     John’s disciples (v.14)
a.     Questioned Jesus about fasting
b.    Received three illustrations from Jesus
2.     The Bridegroom: A new life & age of Joy (15)
a.     His presence brings joy
b.    His prediction: Death
c.      His death shall bring fasting
3.     The new cloth: A stronger life and age (16)
a.     The new is stronger
b.    The old is weaker
4.     The new and old wine: A new life and age of more power (17)
a.     The new would burst the old bottles
b.    Both are to be preserved

Thought: The believer’s joy or sorrow is determined by his sense of the Lord’s presence. This is true with the bridegroom and his immediate attendants. It is true with us today.

I Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20: See I set before you today a blessing and a curse.
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25: Anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it.
The First Prediction of death: Who Jesus really is, Lk 9:18-22
The Terms of Discipleship, Lk 9:23-27
Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God, the Messiah and the Suffering Servant (OT- Hos 6:2; Dan 7:13; Is 52). Jesus was to bear the cross for humankind. He had just discussed this fact with his disciples (Lk 9:22). Now he said there was another cross-a cross which man was to bear for him. If a man wishes to follow Christ, he had to bear this cross. There was no option. Discipleship demanded it.

1.     The full meaning of conviction (v.22)
a.     The full meaning: was not yet grasped
b.    The full meaning: Jesus was the suffering and conquering Saviour
2.     The terms of discipleship 9v.23)
a.     Must deny self
b.    Must take up the cross-daily
c.      Must follow Jesus, not someone else
3.     The warning to the materialist (24)
a.     Do not save life for self
b.    Spend life for Christ
4.     The question for the materialist (25)
a.     If he gains the world
b.    And loses his life
c.      What does he gain?
5.     The judgement of the materialist (26)
a.     The reason: He is ashamed of Jesus and His Words
b.    The judgement: counted unsuitable for glory
6.     The disciples’ reward: God’s kingdom (27)

Thought: Take up your cross daily means self-giving and self-forgetting everyday to know God and to fellowship with God as well as with people to help and save a world lost in sin, shame and suffering.

I Reading: Joel 2:12-18: Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn.
II Reading: 2Cor 5:20-6:2: Be reconciled to God...now is the favourable time.
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18: Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
The Right Motive for Giving, Mt 6:1-4
God expects a people to be kind and to do good in the world: to help others both through personal involvement and through giving generously and sacrificially. Above all God expects a person to have the right motive. Because a person’s eternal fate is determined by his/her motive. Because of this, Christ warns us about right and wrong motives.
1.     Acts of righteousness-doing good and giving (v.1)
a.     Warning: Do not seek recognition
b.    The reason: God will not reward
2.     The wrong motive (v.2)
a.     Giving for recognition
b.    Characteristic of hypocrites
c.      Reward: Recognition by men only
3.     The right motive (v.3-4)
a.     Giving unconsciously
b.    Giving quietly-privately-secretly
4.     The reasons (v. 4)
a.     Father sees in secret
b.    Father rewards openly
The Right Motive for Prayer, Mt 6:5-6
This passage is speaking to those who pray-people who take prayer seriously. Prayer is one of the greatest acts of the Christian believer. God desires is fellowship with man (Is 43:10). Jesus’ concern is how we pray. Christ sets out to teach us the right and wrong motives for praying.
1.     The wrong motive: Praying to be seen by people (v.5)
a.     Place: Loving to pray
i.                   Only in the Synagogue
ii.                 Only in the streets
b.    Reason: For recognition
c.      Reward: people’s esteem
2.     The right motive: Praying to be heard by God (v. 6)
a.     Place: in one’s private place
b.    Reason: God is in one’s secret or private place
c.      Reward: will receive open blessings from the Lord
Thought: Many pray on the run; few pray in secret.

The Right Motive for Fasting, Mt 6: 16-18
Biblical fasting means more than just abstaining from food; it means concentrate upon God and his answer to a particular matter. Biblical fasting involves prayers intense supplication before God. The benefits of fasting are enormous, but there are also dangers. We can fast for the wrong reasons. This is the point of the present passage. Christ counsels us on the wrong and the right motives for fasting. Jesus reveals what God means by fasting in today’s Gospel.

1.     The wrong way to fast (v.16)
a.     Fasting as a hypocrite
b.    Fasting for recognition
c.      Reward: to receive only human recognition and esteem
2.     The right way to fast (v.17-18)
a.     Fasting as a duty
b.    Fasting without notice
c.      Fasting to God alone
d.    Reward: God shall reward openly
Thought: A religionist fasts before people. A genuine believer fasts before God.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tuesday: 7th Week in Ordinary Time-A

Gospel: Mark 9: 30-37: The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men. If anyone wants to be first, he must renounce himself the last of all.

The Second Prediction of Death: Intensive Training in the Death of Christ (Mk 9: 30-32)

The thrust of this passage is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus drilled the truth of his death and resurrection into his disciples. It is absolutely essential that every man grasp the death and resurrection of Jesus.
A person’s eternal destiny depends upon his/her grasping the truth.
The fate of the Christian message depends upon the believing the truth.
The fate of the world, mortal truth and justice, depends upon people’s grasping and believing the truth.

1.     The preparation: Jesus got alone with his disciples (v.30)
2.     The lesson: Jesus taught his disciples that he was to die and arise (v.31)
3.     The response: The disciples rejected what they did not wish to see (v.32)

The Disciples’ Terrible Ignorance of Messiahship:
A Problem of Ambition (Mk 9:33-37)

The disciples, on more than one occasion, argued over who should hold the highest position in the kingdom (Mt 18: 1-2; 20: 20-8; Lk 22: 24-30). Their desire was for recognition and honour in an earthly kingdom. Jesus had to re-educate their thinking. The same re-education is needed by all people. All people have the same needs of for some recognition, prestige, authority, position, money, esteem, physical satisfaction, pleasures etc.
There is nothing wrong with these needs. They are human and legitimate and must be met, but people allow their hearts to be overtaken with selfishness. People begin to want more and more to the point of lusting and consuming and hoarding. They become prideful, covetous, worldly, ambitious, envious, and hurtful even to the point of destroying and killing in order to fulfil their lusts (Jas 4:1-3).
What Christ sets out to do is to challenge the lives and re-educate people’s concept of greatness.

1.     Jesus returned to Capernaum (v.33)
a.     The disciples argued
b.    Jesus questioned what they were arguing about
2.     Ambition can shame (34)
3.     Ambition needs instruction (35)
4.     Ambition is a virtue, but it must be directed toward the right goal: To SERVE (35)
5.     Ambition for serving proves a person’s discipleship (36-37)
a.     The illustration: Welcoming a child
b.    The lesson: Proves one’s discipleship
i.                   Proved one has received Christ
ii.                 Proved one has received God

Thought: Ambition that leads to argument and division is wrong. Every ambition needs instruction and right direction by the teaching of Jesus Christ.