Archive for Friday, October 23, 2009


Matthew 5:3-12
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

As Jesus continued to teach in Galilee, these were some of his words that to me stood out in chapter 5. They stood out because these were a preamble to his teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge and loving our enemies. What specifically got me again and will never stop is the fact that Jesus is talking not to the rich, the strong, the wise, the faithful, the righteous, the saints or the people we perceive as the ones whom he would recognize among us but instead, his words were to the poor, the sick, the broken, the frustrated, the suffering, the weak, the hungry or in essence the ones who realize that they need help, over and above anything they can get from this world or the powers and authorities of this world.

Jesus spoke then and still speaks now in the same language. He does not want our wealth because he has more and he does not want the ones who have achieved a lot because they believe in themselves and their own efforts and feel no need for a God and savior. Therefore, whenever I hear people saying ‘Believe in yourself; Mind over matter; self realization; power of inner self; etc’, it worries me because these people are capitalizing on the one thing we all desperately need, a SAVIOR. When our savior becomes anything but the Lord Jesus Christ, we are serving no one else but the devil whose only goal is to steal us from God and ruin our lives. Are you in need of saving? Turn to Jesus and know that you can have newness of life, unceasing joy and peace in his him and through his love and sacrifice for us.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

There are 4 major themes in chapter 4 and choosing Jesus’ temptation seemed fitting because it is something I personally battle with; what about you? What first got me was the realization that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted. I constantly pray that God would protect me from the fowler’s snare and here God himself is being led into it. To add to the challenge, Jesus fasts forty days and nights which means he did not eat a morsel. Fasting one meal for me is a challenge because I’m a foodie and often that sacrifice of meal consumes me so much that I chicken out of fasting. Then Jesus was tempted with things no man could refuse. Satan throws food, comfort, power and majesty in Jesus’ feeble hands as these are things most of us would clutch on to when we are tempted but Jesus refuses every one of them and counters each one scripturally, finally to be rid of the devil.

In our context, what does this mean? We live lives filled with challenges. To some it’s basic necessities, to some money, to some power, to some relationships, to some respect and honor and so on. These challenges all revolve around us and we are constantly seeking ways to resolve them. The poor want to be rich, the weak want to become strong, the sick want good health, the old want youth and the young want age! When we realize that it is not I that matters and we cross the I, we are led to the cross. In Christ, there is surety of being recognized as precious because he died for us which none can match, there is eternity which is unthinkable, there is peace which is unaffordable and there is joy that comes from his love in our lives. Which path would you choose?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet