Archive for the ‘Matthew’ Category


Matthew 27:27-31
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

After 27 days of following the life of Jesus Christ through the gospel of Matthew, we seem to have reached the end of his life. All those years of humble selfless service and the one eternal sacrifice of his life penned in a few chapters seems so little but amounted to an event that would be etched into the hearts and minds of billions of people over the years. Many would never believe that Jesus was anything more than a great teacher, a prophet maybe and at most a saint but few would actually be able to believe in him and be willing to submit their lives in his service. What is the mystery to this man and his life? If he was the son of God, why would we, the world, find it difficult to accept him as God’s son?

To answer that question, we need to ask ourselves what is it that we are looking for? To me it seems like everyone of us are seeking something which we can never find in our own strength and therefore refocus our attention to things we can work towards like careers, wealth, family, friends, status, power, prestige, respect, etc. However hard we try and however successful we are, there never seems to be the satisfaction of having achieved. In Christ, the pyramid of success is reversed because we are called to serve him and work towards his glory, not ours, because that was the purpose of our lives. We are called to bless those around us with all that we have and share the good news and in everything seek God’s glory, not ours. In this we have the most amazing gift of sharing eternity in God’s presence much after our earthly bodies rot into dust on this earth and we are a forgotten. Are you satisfied with where you are heading?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

 

Seasons of Change

Seasons of Change

 


Matthew 26:6-15

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

Today’s chapter was the meatiest of the 26 we have studied to date in the gospel of Matthew and therefore it would’ve been a challenge to understand what God wanted us to hear today. However, the 2 tales of money mentioned above caught my eye as amazing. On one side, you have the lady who spent a fortune on an expensive perfume and poured it into Jesus’ hair and on the other side, Judas offers to lead Jesus’ enemies to Jesus for a lot of money. When you look at the question asked by the disciples and the one asked by Judas, don’t you see such an amazing contrast. On one side, the disciples are asking if all that money was worth pouring on Jesus’s head and on the other, Judas is trying to understand how much Jesus’ head was worth? What a crazy contrast?

In your eyes, what is the cost you are willing to pay to follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is there any value that you can put to following Christ when you are guaranteed that following him means walking against the grain of this world resulting in persecution? Are you trying to weigh the cost? If you are, know this that the gain of loosing yourself to Christ is to share eternity in heaven with him, long after our physical bodies turn to dust on this earth. It’s about spiritual blessings that far outweigh all the material blessings this world has to offer and a chance to communicate with your maker which we were robbed off by our sinfulness and filthiness that stands no ground before God the father.

In His Loving Service,

Vineet

Journey to the misty summit

Journey To The Misty Summit

 

 


Matthew 25:3, 29, 45

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour…For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him…‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

These powerful statements spoken by Jesus at the end of each parable pretty much sum up what the Lord is saying to us today. The first parable is about the 10 virgins who come to meet the bride. The virgins here refer to the Church which is us children of God collectively. The second parable is about the 3 servants and how they put the money their master entrusted them to good use and this again refers to us. The last is a revelation of the end times and how God will judge the living and the dead in spirit, rewards for the saved and damnation for the lost.

Clearly today, we are reminded that we need to be seeking from God and sharing with everyone who is needy that which God has blessed us with. We need to be relying on God for everything and not on our own selves, whether as a Church or as individuals and therefore we need to keep going back to God and asking for God’s leading in every area of our lives. We might think we know how to do some things well but that’s when we take over the reins and that is not what pleases God. We need to submit our all to him and he will lead us to victory over sin and death through the shed blood of Jesus Christ for us. We cannot live partial Christian lives where we are Christians at Church and secular in the world. God wants our all! Are you willing to give him your all?

In His Loving Service,

Vineet

A Long Walk To Victory

A Long Walk To Victory


Matthew 24:3-8, 36

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains…“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.


As Jesus approaches his betrayal and death, his disciples start to wonder when it is that he will come and rescue them? They had Jesus beside them and they followed him but when Jesus was gone, what would happen to them and their loved ones? If Jesus was going to be killed by human hands, what would these human hands do to them? These were questions that worried them and a solution was what they sought. Jesus answered them but he did not specify the time or date when he would come again because he said that he himself did not know, only God the father did. How would the disciples have felt by this response? What hope would they have had? Do you think they could loose their faith in him because of this?

It’s amazing to note that all the disciples except for Judas who betrayed Christ spent their lives, after Christ’s death and resurrection, in sincere service to God, a transformation only possible through the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. However, at the point where we are at, the answer Jesus gave must certainly have worried them but like many of the mysteries surrounding Jesus, they did not question it but listened and followed Christ. When I read the warnings Jesus specified, I feel the time is here because everything that Jesus spoke about seems to be happening now. We therefore need to be faithful servants and be on our alert to serve God and his people sincerely and share the good news with many and help them find the same hope we have in Christ.

In His Loving Service,

Vineet


Matthew 23:33-39

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

 

Today’s chapter shows the anguish in Jesus’ heart for how the priesthood of Israel were misleading God’s people for their own selfish reasons. They are warned of unimaginable ends and some of it seems too ancient for us to worry or consider except for the fact that Jesus speaks to us today in the same manner as he spoke to them then. The warning holds true today as much as at that point in time because we are not living lives that give glory to our maker. We live lives that give glory only to ourselves and this is far from God’s will for our lives.

Here in Canada, today is the day when people remember those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty for their country. To us as Christians, today is also the day when we remember those who lost their lives in service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How appropriate that the passage this morning above reflects the atrocities committed to God’s anointed ones who lost their lives and suffered for his name. If you are not serving God and living a life glorifying his name, you are the lost sheep that Jesus came to save and I encourage you to ask Jesus what he wants of you and invite him into your life today so that you can enjoy the gift of eternity and the assurance of salvation possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus for our sins!

In His Loving Service,

Vineet


Matthew 22:11-14, 31-32, 37-39

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”… But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”… Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Jesus continued on in his ministry and faced the hard heartedness of his own people and that too from the people who considered themselves God’s workers in Israel. I cannot imagine how loyalists to a cause can go against the cause but I’m saying this after being saved by God’s grace and seeing the scriptures in a different light. These so called loyalists were worried that their way of life, power and wealth was being threatened by Jesus and if people continued to follow Christ, their rich ministries would soon shut down and therefore the only way to silence Jesus was to catch him in the wrong and that strategy was not working.

Every question thrown at Jesus was returned with a response that silenced the questioner, was pregnant in meaning and had God’s perspective at heart. We are warned against acting like one of God’s own but not meaning it, and the consequences are horrible. However, we are encouraged to love one another just the same way that God loved us and sacrificed his son so that we may have eternal life with him. Our neighbors might not be saved, might be hard hearted, might be atheists, might be different but these are the ones the Lord called into his banquet because he knows how much each one of us are hurting and in need of a savior. Lets share God’s love with others as he continues to love and dote on us. Let’s share God’s blessings and not hoard it because that is not’s God’s heart.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Servitude and Obedience

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009 in Matthew, New Testament
Tags: , , , , , ,

Matthew 21:6-11

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on  them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

In the last many days, we have been warned, corrected and led in tough teaching and that was good for our souls. However today, the passage that stood out to me in this very trying part of Jesus’ life is one of sorrow, yet great joy for Jesus. What joy can come out of knowing you are going to be publicly shamed, denounced, rebuked and executed based on false allegations? Christ just spoke of all of this because he knew what was about to happen and yet walked into it with purpose which is totally contrary to what any reasonable man would do.

It is ridiculous in our eyes because we run from death and hurt and therefore what Jesus was doing is considered a suicide wish because there was no way out of death for us. However for Jesus, there was purpose in his death because it was a fulfillment of scripture that the final sacrifice was made and man could once again be reconnected to God not by our own broken sacrifices but by the perfect sacrifice for us by God’s own son. However, the joy that I am referring to is not just this but the fact that the disciples obeyed Jesus’s instructions regarding getting the donkey and colt without too many questions and the crowd that spread their cloaks did so in recognition of the arriving messiah. After a long time, it must’ve been wonderful for Jesus to note that some people were obeying and serving him rather than themselves. As we approach the commercial season of Christmas, I pray that God would help us obey him and serve him in a way fitting for a savior and not in a manner fitting the world.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Matthew 20:9-11, 13-16, 25-28

“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner…“But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”…Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

When I read this chapter, I wondered why the disciples didn’t get it? Why were they so thick that they failed to realize what the Lord was teaching them? What was preventing them from understanding Jesus? Each parable seems complex when we try to understand it in its parts but sensible when we look at it in its whole. It’s not the specifics but the larger thought that matters. However, as I read more and reflect on it, I realize that we today are not very different from the disciples and Christ’s followers of that time. We, even though much advanced in our way of life and scientific thinking suffer from the same problems as them!

In God’s universe, everything revolves around him whereas in our paradigm, we want everything to revolve around us. It’s about us and nothing more. Our needs, wants, desires, achievements, objectives, and whatnots. Even when we walk with Christ, we tend to measure our effectiveness, our success and worth by our standards and this is when we are taking away from serving God. Today, God is reminding us that we are called to serve Him and when we accept His yoke, everything changes from us to God’s wants, needs and desires and success is not for us to measure but for God to relish. We should be grateful for having been given a chance of eternity and being looked at by God the father as worthy of inclusion only by the shed blood of his son, Jesus Christ. Our privilege is to serve God, not God serve us.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Matthew 19:11-12, 14-15, 23-24

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”…Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there…Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

Jesus seems to contradict everything known to the men of those times, even the wise and learned ones, and the passages above are a reflection of some of his statements that puzzled everyone, even his own disciples. It seems like he was getting them to unlearn all of Moses’ teachings, the traditions followed by the Israelites for 1,000s of years and the rules set to help people follow God diligently. What was the problem? Is this something we face today also? What is Jesus teaching us today?

One of the things we notice is that Jesus’ corrections were to do with the blindness of our beliefs. In those times, it was unthinkable for children to be given any importance in society and they were the outcast until they became adults, just like women always were. Divorce became a thing of convenience and was no longer a taboo like it is not today. Religiosity and religious fervor was determined by acts and deeds and not by a change of heart and faith. Jesus was trying to awaken their dead hearts which were living in their version of the present rather than what God wanted for them and this was the reason for conflicts. Are you fixated on your version of God’s will for you or can you hear what the Lord is speaking to you through his word today? For me, it’s going to be a lifetime of undoing what I thought and think about living and all I pray is that God would patiently love and lead me each day to make me more like his son Jesus and to change my heart to love and serve him in everything I do.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet