Posts Tagged ‘Yoke’


Numbers 19:1-3,9,20,22 (NIV) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence”… “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin”… “But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean”… Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.”

Another beautiful animal destroyed for a hard-hearted nation it seems and what is the relevance of all of this in our lives today? (more…)


Acts 15:1-2, 7-11
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them…Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

As you must probably be aware, the winter Olympics is currently taking place here in Vancouver, Canada and the world’s best athletes are here to win the Olympic medal for their country and for themselves. These athletes are the best in their fields and had to qualify by participating in several local, regional, national and international competitions to get a chance to compete here. They are called Olympians just because they qualified and not because they won a medal. In much the same way, we believe that in every area of our lives, people need to qualify. Whether it be a job, education, a loan and even in religion. This seems to be the issue reflected in the passage above where the Gentiles (Non-Jews) were expected to be circumcised to be saved.

When Jesus came into this world, he seemed to be anti-establishment in some ways and that specifically related to areas where rituals and expectations became a part of religion. With his death, the curtain that prevented the Jews from entering the holy sanctuary in the temple was torn because through Jesus, we are given access to God directly with nothing holding us back. We never qualified to be found acceptable in the eyes of God. It is God’s mercy for us that gives us access to Him. We are reminded today to put away the rituals and pre-qualification standards we have in our minds to reach the lost for Christ. Lets go out and show the world what a loving God we serve!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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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