Posted by: Akash Vansal | December 24, 2014

Hindi Gospel Tract For Hindu Friends

Mere Jivan Ka Anth Kahaan Hoga?

If you are unable to read Hindi text, please download and install for free The Marathi Lekhani font from the link given below, Thanks

Marathi Lekhani Font

Advertisements
Posted by: Akash Vansal | April 5, 2012

The Trial of Jesus

On The Way To The Cross : Jesus Examined By Caiaphas

Matthew. 26:57-68

We saw that only John gave the account of Lord Jesus’ examination by Anna and today we see that the examination by Caiaphas is reported in detail by Evangelist Mark and Matthew whereas Dr.Luke and Evangelist John are silent over this incident. For today’s study we consider either of Mark or Matthew’s passage which are almost identical.

Let’s go through Matthew 26: 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. 59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” 62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus  replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”

Verse by verse…..

Verse 57: Those who had arrested…This was but after being questioned by Anna (John 18:24). Lord Jesus was taken to Caiaphas (residence) and there teachers of the law, the elders and the chief priests (Mark 14:53) were already assembled. Though this was not the way the Sanhedrin (The religious court that dealt with matters related to Jewish religion) functioned during night times with the sole aim of putting someone to death. But since these were the people who made up the Sanhedrin, we may call the group as Sanhedrin.

Verse 59-60: Can you see the high-handedness of the law enforcers? They were looking for false evidences as they were also sure that they won’t succeed in gathering honest evidences as they never existed. But they could not gather even false evidences. Evidences did came forward accusing various things but it did not stand. Mark states that (14:56) many testified falsely against Him but their statements did not agree. Now what does this mean?

The law required and demanded that if someone brought accusation against any person, the same had to be testified by at least one more person to verify for the truth in the accusation. And this was never done in the same chamber , SO, if there was any truth in any accusation, their statement even when recorded separately was sure to match. Based on these, judgments would be passed.

This is also surprising isn’t it that after every possible effort to convict falsely, the judges were wanting (honestly?) two people’s matching witness! And by doing these, it was proved that whatever charges that were leveled against Jesus Christ were false and unacceptable according to the laws (and traditions) of Israel.

Verse 60-61: When they failed to gather identical accusing statements from minimum two people, they admit accusations of two (Mark says some)…that of “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Literally speaking it was true. But spiritually speaking,. Lord Jesus had meant His Body and not the building called the temple. But even their statements did not match!(Mark 14:59). But the judges decide to admit the charge and move forward to verify the charge.

Verse 62-63: Ah! Finally the clueless ‘Sanhedrin’ got some ‘solid’ clue. After persuading, forcing Jesus Christ to defend Himself against those charges, the high priest, we read, is leveling a charge not leveled by anyone. “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Verse 64-66: Upon Jesus agreement to high priests examination, the high priest is convinced that the job has been done and exudes in winning tone, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses?” Now, they had enough evidence to put Lord Jesus to death. What Jesus Christ claimed and agreed ( as being the Son of God) was surely a matter of blasphemy for those who did not accepted Jesus Christ as ‘The Son of Man’, ‘The Son of God’

In Luke 9: 20-21, we read the disciples accepted Jesus as The Son of God and again in John 5:16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17Jesus said to them, ”My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Blasphemy invited death punishment. The disciples believed and accepted Lord Jesus as Christ. It was revealed unto them by the Heavenly Father (Matthew 16:17)

John the Baptist testified Jesus as The Son of Man which he also believed on. He says in John 1:32-34 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

But the Jews refused to believe, Jesus Christ tried to explain them in different ways like…

John 8: 54 Jesus replied, ”If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 ”You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 ”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, ”before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. 

Or again John 5: 19 Jesus gave them this answer: ”I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 ”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

But they stuck to their adamant of stubborn stand. And then and there they tried to stone Him for His blasphemy.

The Lord had through Moses given the law that had provision of death for blasphemy which we read in Leviticus 24: 12 They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them. 13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 ”Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire  assembly is to stone him.15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blaspheme the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blaspheme the Name, he must be put to death.

So, by refusing to believe and accept Jesus as Christ, the Sanhedrin implicated Him for ‘blasphemy’.

The Sanhedrin is happy that they got the much-needed breakthrough in their pursuit. And they discuss then and there itself, “What do you think” is the general question put forward to give their judgment, And the Sanhedrin pass the judgment, “He is worthy of death”

The law of Moses also required that the trial take place fairly and impartially. If the Testimony of the witness were found to be false, they were to be put to death or some action had to be taken but we see nothing done

Deuteronomy 19: 16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, 17 the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, 19 then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you.

 The sufferings of The Lord Jesus.

Verse 67-69: One of the hundreds of prophecies concerning Lord Jesus is of His suffering.

Assault is more bearable than insult. Lord Jesus suffered all trials, hardships, bore all insults, faced mocking that I ( and I assume most) can never bear. I just can’t imagine someone spitting on my face, someone hitting me for none of my wrong doings. I may be weak, but still I will try my best to defend self, and resist my persecutor. Jesus bore everything for me and for your sake. The soldiers made fun Him, challenged Him to predict His hitters after blind folding Him. That was very easy for Him, But He did not respond to them simply because nothing fruitful was expected, nothing edifying could have taken place. And also it was prophesied, He did not open His mouth to retaliate His accusers.

This was not the end of Jesus sufferings. This was only the beginning. He was already in deep agony and His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow top the point of death. And now, His enemies were inflicting bodily pains as severe as they could imagine and able.

To Be Continued

Posted by: Akash Vansal | April 4, 2012

The Trial of Jesus :Anna

On The Way To The Cross : Jesus Examined-1
Luke 22:54, 61, 63-65
Parallel passages: Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, John 18:15-17, 25-27)

————————————————————————————————–

Most desire to go to The Garden of Eden, but hesitate to walk through
The Garden of Gethsemane which is the way to it.

————————————————————————————————-

That Jesus Christ was arrested we have seen.  Here, we will see the first of the 6 (some may say 7) trial of Jesus.
Jesus Christ was subjected to undergo 6 trials, 3 by the Jewish authority and 3 by the heathen authority.

Trial 1: By Anna, the father in law of Caiaphas, the high priest of that year.  Only John makes mention of this. John 18:12-13

Trial 2: By Caiaphas, the high priest.                                                                     Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54, John 18:24

Trial 3: By the Sanhedrin-the religious supreme court of the Jews.                     Matthew 27:1, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66

Trial 4: By Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea.                                    Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1, John 18:28

Trial 5: By Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee.
Only Luke records this in Luke 23:7-8

Trial 6: By Pontius Pilate for the second time.                                                      Matthew 27:15, Mark 15:6, Luke 23:13, John 18:39

Trial 7: By the whole ‘crowd’ that included the Jewish authorities, elders, commoners, Roman soldiers, Judge, Matthew 27:20-24, Mark 15:13-15, Luke 22: 21-24, John 19:15-16.

Have you ever thought as you (must have) read through the passages that narrates the trial of Jesus as to ‘why at all the Jews made Jesus go through various trials when they were not at all bothered to maintain justice even in least substance?
That Jesus was in their control, that Pilate himself gave Jesus over to them to try and execute, then why on earth the Jews were hell bend on seeking ‘justice’ by forcing Pilate to deliver as per their wish and desire ?

After arresting Jesus, the authorities took Him to Anna. He was the father in law of Caiaphas, the acting high priest of the Jews. It was he who had openly and expressively made clear his intension of putting Jesus to death.
Now, in a real sense, Anna had no authority of whatsoever over anyone leave alone Jesus. But he seemed to be commanding a great clout.

Annas, or Ananias, or Ananus, son of Seth, was appointed high priest by Quirinius, the governor of Syria in AD 6. This Quirinius is also mentioned in Luke  2:2, as the governor of Syria as the time of the birth of Jesus. Annas was finally deposed by the Roman governor Valerius Gratus in AD 15. The next two high priests, including one of his sons, were both deposed after about a year, before Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, was appointed (Jos Ant 18:2:2).
After being deposed, he remained a powerful figure in Jerusalem, and even though he had no official position was still referred to as “high priest”. Through skilful diplomacy and probably much bribery, he was able to ensure that family remained dominant in Judea for many years. To give a date for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, Luke refers to the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (Lk 3:2). At first sight, this would seem to imply that there were two high priests in office at the same time, but instead indicates that power and influence that Annas continued to exercise, even after he was deposed. By this time, Annas had been deposed for over ten years, and Caiaphas was the current high priest.

Although Annas does not appear to play a leading role in the trial of Jesus, it is most likely that he was the one who should be held the most responsible for the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. As the power behind the ruling class, he (would have) directed the events of his capture, trials before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate, and eventual crucifixion.

John 18: 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Luke and Matthew and Mark are silent over Jesus presentation before Anna, but John gives us a brief but descriptive account of this event. Anna must have ordered the ‘crowds’ to present Jesus after arresting Him before He is presented in front of anyone.
That Anna wanted Jesus to be dead, we have seen, then what else he wanted to know of Jesus? Why he wanted to meet Jesus? Nothing much is written of this. But we can understand that he just wanted to ridicule Jesus, make fun of Him. They viewed Jesus with animosity as He was creating ‘problem’ for them in plundering wealth from the people and for over shadowing them in matters of religious teachings and for commanding peoples loyalty. (Please see November 2011 issue for more)

We read in John 18:19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

If only Annas query had been genuine, but it was not. Anna was aware of Jesus disciples. All that he was doing was taunting Jesus maybe in words like, “Oh, so it was You who boasted of so many followers. Now where are they? All those who exalted You saying,
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:12)
“How come they have dumped You so fast?” “Now who is going to rally behind You?” “ Now what are You going to do, that Your disciples have vanished?”
“And what about Your teaching?”

Again, Anna knew what He taught,. And Jesus knew his intension was not to know it for edification but to ridicule. For Jesus taught not in secrecy but in full knowledge of public in public area. So, His everyone, including the Jews and in particular the ‘friends and well wishers’ of Anna were familiar with His teaching .(John 11:46-48). Because they were always after Jesus to catch Him in something or other to condemn Him.
So, Jesus does not teach Anna as He taught Nicodemus or Martha.

John 18: 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

Anna must not have expected Jesus to speak this way. He must have thought Jesus will surrender even His Truth. And that like most others, Jesus will not reply back. That Jesus will plead to be released, plead for his mercy or say sorry for all the things that disturbed Anna. But here, Jesus speaks out and Anna is insulted. That is what Anna and his soldiers and attendants feels. And react violently and even struck Jesus on His cheek . They expected Jesus to speak in utmost humble stance, giving many credits and salutations of admiration. But Jesus upsets them.

John 18:22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

On being struck, Jesus in a way challenge the whole Jews to just bring a single wrong statement or deed against Him that He said or committed, otherwise they don’t have any right to punish Him.

Anna was speechless after hearing this. He could not take on the heat turned on by Jesus. He was very much offended by Jesus and insulted in front of all his attendants. He decides to get rid of Him before He insults him anymore and sends Jesus to Caiaphas.
John 18:24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

Conclusion: Among the most unfortunate people who happened to meet Jesus yet lost soul to Satan is Anna. Zachchaeus too had a very similar one time meeting with Jesus. But Zachchaeus pounced upon the opportunity that Jesus provided him. And made sure his soul was not lost.
Today, we may not be in effect trying Jesus, cross-examining Jesus in order to condemn Jesus as Annas was, but then chances are the ultimate result could be the same as we try and mock Jesus in ways best known to us.

Do we not pretend sometime or other that we do not know Jesus’ teaching on issues which we not only know but also preach? Robbing even a Rupee is a cheating, robbing from our parents is also a sin. Telling lies even for a ‘good cause’ is a sin. How many times we compromise on small (and big issues) for our convenience? Think over.

Posted by: Akash Vansal | December 9, 2011

The Bible Personality

ISAAC, The Covenant Son Of Abraham

One of the three patriarch, Isaac the covenant son of Abraham and Sarah is talked about very less when compared to his father Abraham and one of his son Jacob. Unlike the other two, His name was not changed. We see Isaac tobe some sort of reserved and mindful of his own affairs. At times we see him behave like any ordinary man and at times fully trusting in GOD. He was fond of hunting animals and perhaps loved to take adventurous trek. A man whom GOD chose to show HIS choice as the son of promise. Isaac had step brothers and sisters other than Ismael who was born to Hagar-the Egyptian maid.

As a son: Though nothing much is written but from whatever that is written, we understand that Isaac was obedient to his parents. He must have helped his father in cutting woods and his mother in-house hold works.When Abraham was on his way to sacrifice him as the Lord had commanded him, Isaac reminds his dad of the ‘forgotton’ lamb. He believes his dad when he say that GOd will see. He walks with his dad for two days and carries the fire wood on his shoulder which must have been heavy. This shows he must have been strongly built up. Even then, he offers no resistance when his AGED dad binds him to offer as burnt sacrifice. He surrendered to his dad’s will even at the cost of his own life! Again, when his dad arranges his marriage with Rebekah, he honoured his decisions and shared in his dad’s joy.

As a husband : HE loved his wife very much. So much that he lied to the Philistines about his relationship with her. For he feared that they may kill him to take her away as she was very beautiful. Rebekah could not conceive for 20 years after marriage but he comforted and loved her. HE hid his grief from her and prayed to GOD to bless her with a child.

As a father : Isaac loved Esau which means he must have treated them partially. And this must have moved Rebekah to side with Jacob. Side effect! A common mistake committed by most parents. Had Isaac been impartial and just to both of his sons, (though it was all GOD’s plan , yet he received no instruction from LORD to behave likewise as Abraham got instructions to drive Hagar and Ishmael away), maybe Rebekah would not have rebelled and conspired against him. Maybe the siblings rivalry could have cooled down. I think that due to this , Isaac spent some twenty years without the fellowship of both of his sons. Jacob fled to Bethel and Esau though was with him but was a disgusting to his parents. And his relation with Rebekah would never have been the same.Maybe, they could have stopped talking with each other.
1Corinthians 10:11 “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.“

As a priest : He trusted GOD and depended upon HIM for the blessings and GOD was always with him. Even his enemies conceded that GOD’s presence was with him. We see the king of Philistine making treaty with him out of fear seeing the LORD’s blessings upon Isaac.

As a neighbour: Even though GOD was with him and blessed him in all that he did, He never felt proud. He never exalted himself. Whenever his neighbours picked up quarrel with him or his men, he would talk peace and would show utmost restrain against them. And this restrain he showed when he had grown up into a powerful person with huge wealth, men and slaves by his side and not due to fear.

Posted by: Akash Vansal | November 27, 2011

Bible Personality

Judas Iscariot

He was an eyewitness to many a miraculous events. He was well-known, and quoted in the leading religious journal of his day. Even with all these advantages , however, he was used by Satan. He was a thief and a liar. He had serious character flaws. He even sold out his best friend for a paltry amount of money. At the end of  his life, when he realized how miserably he had failed he did not recover. He did not repent, but committed suicide. Did he really went that far that he could not have retracted, successfully? Well, the Scripture doesn’t agree to this. The Bible lists  out many who faulted just like Judas and yet were reconciled with The Lord For they repented of their doings like David, Nebuchadnezzar, Manasseh, Peter, Paul, Solomon to name a few. Judas was not the first person to back slide nor he is the last person to do so.

So, Can we really learn something from Judas?
I presume we can learn many an important thing from Judas what to do and not as Judas did ?

What to emulate :

1) Follow Jesus as He closely followed Jesus.
2) Obey as he obeyed Jesus
3) Feel remorse and pain as Judas felt whenever you commit sin or wrong.

What not to do:

1) Do not rob the things under you custodian
Jesus once said, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” ( Luke 16:11)
I praise God for all the saints who are working selflessly in various organisations, institutions, trusts. But there are also many cheats and selfish people who call themselves workers of Our Lord and rob the collections offered to Our Lord. Let this not be continued anymore.

2) Do not harbour secret sins . Speak to elders and try to get rid of it.

3) Do not think your can hide your secret sins from GOD as you succeed in doing so with your friends, parents and relatives. Pray to GOD for help and deliverance from hidden sins.

4) Do not be rebellious on being rebuked by elder. It can lead you to sin.
As a disciple we are to learn whenever we are taught. Apollos, a very zealous
evangelist of The Lord, did allowed himself to be corrected when he was corrected by Aquila and Priscilla. We should not be offended when we are truly corrected. Only the ego will keep us from being corrected. And this ego can prove disastrous. Judas felt humiliated when he was rebuked for his selfish view at the home of Martha in Bethany. If he had gracefully accepted his Masters rebuke, he would not have been disturbed in his mind. And went on to conspire with the evil people against Jesus.

5) Do not deceive those who trust you (from human view)

6) Do not betray GOD’s people (or any person ).

7) Do not be hasty in taking any step as Judas felt remorse after betraying Jesus.

Do not commit suicide as Judas did.
The Bible is silent on this . But we can say with certainty that The Spirit of Jesus Christ will never drive a person to commit suicide.
In John 10:10, Jesus says,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Suicide in itself may not be an unforgivable sin in the light of Mark 3:28-29,
“I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
But what about the sin that led to commit suicide? Was that sin repented? And for any sin to be forgiven, forgiveness needs to be sought. For the forgiveness of the sin ‘suicide’ how can one seek forgiveness after committing suicide? Paul says,
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
We belong to the Body of Christ, all who have accepted Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior. And that which do not belong to us, we have no right to destroy it.

9) Do not bring people to GOD with the aim of defaming HIM.

10) Do not stay away from godly people after sinning as they can pray for your restoration to God and encourage you.
Judas felt remorse and let us not be insensitive to the pain that he underwent. For the fake pain will never drive a person to give up one’s life. The fact that Judas gave his life proved the unbearable pain that he underwent. But instead of going to his friends and disciples of his Master, he went to the ‘hate Jesus jews’ and then into solitude. IF he had went to his friends, they would have consoled him, comforted him, encouraged him.
When we undergo depression, let us not remain away from the fellowship of The Lord’s people. Upon sharing our problems and grief’, they can pray for us and share our sorrows and can strengthen us to face the problem more boldly.

11) Do not repent your sins to wrong persons who cannot help you but to GOD who forgives all our sins.
Peter and Judas committed sin of same magnitude;
of distancing themselves from LORD JESUS. Judas, who even though felt bad, felt remorse, did not confess to LORD but strayed away from the disciples.

Judas did felt like confessing his sins to someone. And he confessed his sins to the murderers, to those who were the slaves of Satan, who were heartless people, who were dead to every emotions and senses. By confessing that Jesus is innocent to the criminals, what gain can he expect?

Many a times, we behave very much like this. If we have cheated in an exam , we will approach a friend who we know to have already cheated in exam. Actually, we should approach a friend who we know never copies and yet comes out with flying colours in every exams. Not the one who copies but the one who doesn’t will be our right guide.
Similarly, if someone have abandoned parents, he will seek advice from those
who have already abandoned their parents. This is not an effort of mending
mistake but just a way of justifying deeds and sympathising each other.
A person who is fighting legal case(s) who wants an end to his case should
approach a godly person who had never entered court of judiciary. And not a
person who fought and won similar case. For even if he show his desire to revoke his case or surrender himself or settle disputes (as per the Holy scripture), that agent of Satan will discourage him from doing so. Fighting legal case is not from the Spirit of Jesus but from the Satan. Jesus, when He was tried totally surrendered to the authority He was handed to.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1John 1:8-10
Lord has accepted us as we are. He knows we are weak and susceptible to
temptations and even may fall at times. Let us also not be deceived into believing that grievous nature of our sin is unforgivable. That is a lie.

One more important thing that we learn from Judas is that even if we physically
associate with godly people (Judas was with GOD!), we can be ruled by the Satan.

May Our Heavenly Father, Help us in discerning the sins in our hearts and cast them out . May The Lord refine and increase our faith in Him.  May The Lord help us to accept His discipline and enable us, to apply the truth that He taught us in our everyday life. In Jesus’  name, Amen.


Posted by: Akash Vansal | September 20, 2011

Jesus in Mount Olives

Jesus in Mount Olives
Todays Bible Study scripture portion is Luke 22:39-46.
Of the very few activity or incidences that are reported by all the four evangelists, the arrest, the trial, the crucifixion, the burial, the resurrection and the appearance of Lord Jesus to His disciples are reported more or less by all the four. We find many activities common in synoptic gospel.
The incidence of Mount Olives is found parallel in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and a very brief mention of it in John 18:1.
Let’s proceed verse by verse.
 
verse 39 : Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
After instituting the Lord’s Supper, after setting example of humbleness, after comforting the grief stricken disciples, after assuring them of deliverance, after praying for you and me, Jesus sets out for Mount Olives for completing His Father’s divine plan.
Luke mentions Jesus went to the Mount of Olive whereas Matthew and Mark say He went to a place called Gethsemane and John mentions the place as a garden beyond Kidron valley. The 1984 version of NIV mentions the garden as olive grove. So, Mount Olive was situated on the bank of Kidron valley and at the base of Mount Olive (also known as Olivet and Mount Olivet) somewhere was situated a garden by the name Gethsemane. In this garden was grown olive trees.
(For more details on Mount Olives, you may visit http://www.bibleplaces.com)
But for those who are not net savvy, we produce a brief details.

In The Old Testament
King David fled to the Mount of Olives to escape Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15:30). King Solomon built pagan “high places” there (1 Kings 11:7). Later, King Josiah destroyed Solomon’s idolatrous altars, by which time it had become known as the Hill of Corruption (2 Kings 23:13-14). Ezekiel had his vision of The Lord and the flying cherubim above it (Ezekiel 11:22-23). The people gathered olive branches there for the first Feast of Tabernacles after their return from The Babylonian Exile (Nehemiah 8:15).

In The New Testament
Jesus regularly went up onto the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39). He often traveled over it on His way to Bethany to visit His friend Lazarus. His famous Olivet prophecy is named after it (Matthew 24:1-51). The Triumphal Entry of Jesus riding on a Donkey and her colt into Jerusalem took place over and down the Mount of Olives (Luke 19:28-44).

The Mount of Olives In The Future
“After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:9-11)

“Then The Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then The Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him. (Zechariah 14:3-5)

Mount Olive was frequently visited by Jesus and it was known to all of His disciples including Judas Iscariot.

verse 40:  On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
The temptation that Jesus talks about is of trials, of testing times, of pain, of agony, of anguish that could threathen our faith. He had already spoken of this in verse 31-32.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. …”
So, this temptation is not of lust or of flesh but of satan.

Now, when Jesus Himself has prayed , why the disciples pray again? Was not Jesus prayer enough to protect the faith of the disciples? Well, the disciples prayer cannot surpass the prayer of Jesus.
As Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, He was intercepted by a blind beggar in Jericho. When he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing through, he began calling out Jesus loudly. Jesus asked him,  “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41). Jesus knew what he wanted, but wants us to speak out our wish and will and desire. He wants us, His disciples to show willingness. (Psalm 51). The Heavenly Father has given us the freewill. And Jesus does not force His will on human. When we pray for strength to overcome the temptations, we show our desire that we want to overcome it and that on our own it will not be possible. And The Heavenly Father gives us the power to overcome the temptations. No doubt Jesus had prayed, but He also wants us to pray and express our desire, our earnestness to remain steadfast to the faith in Jesus Christ. Even as we pray, Jesus on our behalf intercedes with the Father. (Hebrews 7:24-25, Romans 8:34)
 
verse 41: He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
Now, Jesus Himself kneels down and prays. He asked the disciples to pray that they may not fall to temptations. And Jesus prays that He may not be weakened. Jesus always practised what He preached and whatever He preached, He practised. Let this be our attitude when we preach others.

verse 42 : “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Now, we see this is a 4 point prayer.
a) Father, b) if you are willing, c) take this cup from me,  d)  yet not my will, but yours be done

a) Father. By using the word Father to address The Lord Almighty, Jesus shows the relationship that He enjoys. The  close intimate relation that He has with The Father. The salutation shows that as a Son, He is subordinate to His Father. And this subordination requires obedience.
“…Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
Now, we know it will be to some extent hard to grasp when we say Jesus subordinate to The Heavenly Father. We request you that you pray to The Lord Almighty to spare you from all confusions. It is not our desire to confuse you. Even as we say this, we also believe Jesus Christ did not gave up His Godlihood forever. Jesus Christ is the creator, not a creature and will always be equal to the Father in this sense. Jn 1: says, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…..The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.(John 1: 1-4, 14)”. However, sometime around the incarnation, Jesus made a choice to submit to the Father as His head. We call this choice, the subordination (or down-ranking) of Christ to the Father.
Let us also clear that we believe in Trinity, The Father The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Now we come to second and the third point.
When Jesus prayed, “if you are willing,” did He not knew what was The Father’s will? and when He prayed,” take this cup from me,” was He afraid of the death? Was HE not willing to die? Was He afraid of the pain associated with the death? Did He felt helpless, forsaken?
Christ is unique in the Deity as the one who became flesh (John 1:1,14). In the days of his flesh He went through the same sort of trials and difficulties that all human beings experience. Having lived in this world, he is able to “sympathize with us in our weakness” (Heb 4:15-16). Our Intercessor, our Saviour is not only a divine Person only, but also a human being. He can “interpose on behalf of one in difficulty or in trouble”, because he himself experienced similar of difficulty and trouble first hand. Being in human form, it is natural that He was troubled in His heart, that He felt weak bodily, that He did felt lonely, that He did felt forsaken and that He did felt helpless.
But at the same time He was not at all afraid to die nor did He gave up His willingness to die. (John 12:27)

No one had forced Him to die. It was His voluntary decision.( Hebrews 10:5-7)  And He also knew He would not remain in grave forever. ( John 10:17-18)

He knew very clearly that He came to fulfill the Fathers willingness, He knew the prophecies.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)
And He predicted His death again and again. At the time of His transfiguration, He discussed about the same with Moses and Elijah. So, this was not a secret or surprise to Hi  that He was to die on the cross. And He was willing to make all the prophecies fully fulfilled. (John 18:11)  He knew that He came to lay down His life that many will  be saved ( Mark 10:45)
Jesus never did what flashed through His mind, or what suited to His convenience. He did what The Father told Him or showed Him to do. (John 5:19-27, 8:28-29)

So, being troubled, being a Human, He prays if The Father can make changes in His plan, if He can take away the ‘cup of wrath’ away from Him. And He does not stick to His will but surrenders His will to The Father. He says, “not My will but let Thy will be done”. As a human Jesus underwent all the pains and agony but He kept His Spirit willing.
As a human our body may become weak but at all times our spirit should we willing to do The Lord’s will. And The Lord shall provide a way to overcome the hurdles that may come in our walk with The Lord.
And this was the way The Lord taught His disciples to pray. And in the same way He too prayed. Jesus practised what He preached, what He taught.
We see The Father don’t change His plan. But then, if He does also, it is His will. We shall not question or argue. The Father do changes His mind. And that is for our welfare. (Daniel 4:34-35, )

verse 43 : An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
verse 44 : And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
The Father has given all His faithfuls the assurance of protecting them from all the distress. He answers when we call unto Him. He helped David, He answered Daniel, He answered Solomon, He answered Jonah to name a few. And He answered Jesus. But not by taking away ‘The cup’ but strengthening Him to bear it. Moses and Elijah had earlier encouraged Him. The angels of God had earlier strengthened Him, in the wilderness and again by sending His angels, The Father strengthened Jesus.

At times, even we feel we are not answered even though we pray honestly and with much sincerity and intimately. But we need to remember, The Father did not take away ‘the cup’ from Jesus, He did not ‘answered’ His only Son, His Loving Son, a Son who knew no sin. The Son who prayed in anguish and with such an earnest that His sweats turned into blood! Can anyone claim to have prayed with such earnest? Who are we? That we expect our every request be answered, our every desire be fulfilled, most of which are selfish in nature?
Well, I used to argue some years ago, Lord, how can I overcome every temptations the way you did? You are a GOD and I am not? Similarly many can argue. But later I found out by The Lord’s grace that had not Jesus come in human form, every human would have argued similarly. But that Jesus took the human form, all these arguments become baseless.  Now we have no excuses. Through Jesus, The Father shows us that it was not impossible to lead a sinless life. And the only son of man to have lived a sinless life is Jesus alone.

verse 45:  When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.
Having prayed to The Father, Jesus finds the disciples asleep due to exhaustion and sorrow. How were they exhausted from sorrow?
The disciples were busy preparing for the passover meal and they ate it. Later Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in their presence and gave them the last sermon, better known as The Sermon on the upper room. He also told them about His immediate arrest and the hardships they will be exposed to. All these we read in John chapter 13 through chapter 18. So, they were exhausted and filled with sorrow. The disciples were sorrowful after learning all the realities that were in store for their Master and for themselves too.

verse 46:  “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Luke records no repetition of prayer, but Matthew and Mark records that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times! Why Jesus took break in between? Did the disciples lost some greatest privileges by succumbing to sleep? Did Jesus came with the intension of group prayer? We don’t know. Did Jesus expected some sort of encouragement from them as they had given Him the encouragement by standing with Him earlier?(Luke 22:28) We don’t know. But we do also know that Jesus knew everything, that all His disciples will desert Him, except ofcourse John.
Awaking them from their sleep. Jesus again tells them to pray. Jesus had again and again taught them to rely on The Father through prayer. Just a few hours ago (from that time) in Luke 21:36, He had told them and also few minutes ago He had told them, but..

We shall see in the next section that they did not get time to pray. For, before they could pray, the deceiver, the betrayer had come with the authorities personnel to arrest The Son of Man.

Prayer : Heavenly Father, thanking you for keeping us safe. Dear Father, we thank You for all the blessings that You shower on us continually. We pray humbly to strengthen us to overcome the temptations that we encounter in our every day life. Lord preserve our soul and enable us to give in to your will and wish. That You Lord that You are our Fortress and Salvation. All glory and honour to You. In the Precious Name of Your Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Posted by: Akash Vansal | September 11, 2011

Daily Bible Reading : Why You Need To Make It A Habit?

INTRODUCTION
As a student way back in the 70’s and even 80’s, we used to ask our teachers how the science and mathematics word problem based studies will help shape our future. That was because we used to find it difficult in solving those word problems. And our teacher used to reply in short that we will realize it in future. If the students are told the importance, the benefits and the advantages of particular studies, the attitude towards the study will change. Same is with The Word of God. We need to know the reason why study The Holy Scripture.

Many people have to say many good and inspiring words about the Holy Bible like…,
# The Bible is my best companion…Mother Teresa, The mother of destitute
# The Bible is God’s love letter to the world…Sadhu Sunder Singh, The Evangelist
# While some books inform and others reform, only The Bible can transform…Billy Graham, The Evangelist
# The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. …Dwight L. Moody, The great preacher
# Bible reading is an education in itself…..A. L. Tennyson, English writer
# Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. — Mark  Twain, American Novelist, writer                                                                            # Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face. …Ronald Reagan, The president of USA                                                                                  # It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. –George Washington, The president of USA

# I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man. –Abraham Lincoln, The president of USA

# Just because the Bible says something doesn’t make it truth if what you are saying from the Bible is slanted, distorted, mis-applied, or merely the letter of the word. –J. Preston Eby

# For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant. –Martin Luther, Christian Reformer

The Bible is like the proverbial “elephant” that six blind men try to understand. Learned scholars and religious priests spend their lifetime studying the Bible. But no one can claim to know the complete truth. So, the best way to do our bit in learning the truth is learn by ourself. Read The Holy Bible! Or say…

Any number of people assume that the Bible says that

Eve ate an apple, or that

Jonah was swallowed by a whale or that

3 wise men came visiting The Boy Jesus.

Yet the Bible never says a word about whales or apples or 3.

In the former case it refers to a fish, which might imply any sort of sea-monster; and in the second, to the essential experience of fruition, or tasting the fruit of the tree, which is obviously more general and even more mystical and in the third example, there could have been 2 or even 4 men. Bible Reading is a habit which many great people in the past engaged in regularly and many people still do so today, but I fear that if the truth were known, fewer and fewer people have developed the habit of daily reading the Bible. Many have probably never read the New Testament from beginning to end. Even fewer have never read the entire Old Testament. For this reason, I have one objective in this series of lesson:
To encourage every reader to develop the habit of daily Bible reading.

Apart from all those quotations of great Bible lovers, WHY it is so important to develop the habit of daily Bible reading ?
Reading imparts us knowledge, knowledge for our benefit, beneficial for easing our life, saving our life, saving our loved ones. Lets us try and find out the reason and purpose for continual Bible Reading and Its study.

That we may gain the knowledge of Salvation
It is only by reading that The Word of GOD we may know the way to salvation. We come to know the sins and the ill effect of it. We learn how our sins can be pardoned.
Priest and prophet Zechariah says, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, Luke 1:76-77

Jesus agrees with those people who study The Word of God with the notion that in it is ‘eternal life’ and that Word of God testify, “ in Jesus alone is that eternal life.”. For He says, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

That we may gain the knowledge of The Lord
It is by reading that we come to know what rules, commands God has written for us. We come to the understanding of the power of The Lord, His love for us, His grace and mercy, His wrath, His punishment, so that we may be cautious.

His power : The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. .. The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. Nahum1:3-5

His knowledge: Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28

His love: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17, Ps 103:13-17.

His grace: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8, 2Cor. 12:9

His mercy: Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18
Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:7

His wrath: God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. Psalm 7:11
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. Jere 10:10 , Romans 1:18, Rev 19:15

That we may obey, love and serve GOD and His people
By reading the Word of God, we come to the knowledge as to what and how we can obey God, Love The Lord and serve The Lord as per God’s definition. For King Saul believed that he obeyed God
“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 1 Samuel 15:20-21
but Samuel rebuked him for his kind of obedience. 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Apostle John explains what it really means to love God
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:20-21

Our God expects us to serve Him joyfully, faithfully, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind
Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you. Deuteronomy 28:47-48

King David knew how we need to serve God that will be acceptable to Him. He explains it to his son ,
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.1 Chro 28:9 ( Mark 12:30, Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12, Matthew 25:34-40)

That we may lead a life that please The Lord 
The life that please God touches various aspects of our life. In his letter to the faithfuls in Colossae, Paul touches some of these,
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, Col 1:9-11

Apostle Peter in his second letter touches even more aspects that please God,
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8

That we may not fall from grace.
By falling victim to false teaching
Now, this leads to many diverse arguments. Once saved – always saved, keep sinning – keep seeking forgiveness, salvation can be worked out without Jesus, and so on….and believe me every sermon will appear to you as trustworthy and true. But the fact remains, there can be only one TRUTH and THAT TRUTH is found in CHRIST JESUS for HE HIMSELF IS THE TRUTH.
Let me give you only one of many examples…..
Jesus said, Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16
Does this mean belief in the existence of The Lord Jesus Christ and baptism in anyone’s or none name will save us?

Paul and Silas said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” acts 16:31

Does this mean that with one believing member, the whole household shall be saved?

Paul also says, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Phil.2:12,
Does this mean that we can work out our own salvation?

Paul also says, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation. 2 Cor. 7:10
Does this mean that baptism is not required for salvation?

Now let me not confuse you. But you might be eager to know what of the above is correct. Since all the verses are inspired Word of God, not a statement is wrong. So, reading the Word of GOD is important. Reading out of context can lead to many confusion.
“..have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. Col. 2:2.

We need to be alert and take lessons from the people about whom are written in the holy Bible so that we are not deceived .
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4, 1 Cor. 106, 11-12

Once saved not always saved.
Now, I do know that there are references in the Holy Bible by which you can give a tough argument to this. Many wise people have written  much expressing their views on both the the sides.  But, we do not wish to force upon you our views. God has granted everyone freewill to accept it to reject it. And I do wish to request you to ask The Lord to lead you into The Truth.                             Salvation is not only one time act, yes for salvation that one repentance and faith in Christ is all that is needed, but we need to be faithful to our repentance and belief in Christ. Otherwise, salvation can be forfeited.
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 2 Peter 2:20 ( verse very easy to remember)

See, what Apostle Paul says. He is telling that even after doing all the hardships in the Lord’s vineyard, he is disciplining his body , SO THAT HE WILL NOT BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THE PRIZE!
I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Cor. 9:27, 10:12, Gal5:19-21
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Hebrews 10:26-27

We may resist the devil.
The devil lead God’s people into many sins and wanders them away from the Truth, away from Life.
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2Tim2:25-26

This devil is no doubt a defeated foe, but he has power. Jesus Himself acknowledged this. Now, the devil is powerful not for Jesus, but for His children. So, we need to know how to resist him. Apostle Paul says,
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…For our struggle is…against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore…Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph. 6:11-17

Lets us not forget that we are not here to defeat the demon or the Satan or the devil. He has already been defeated. But he is free to deceive The Lord’s people. John 12:31, 16:11, Rev. 12:11, Hebrews 2:14-15, Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:18-19)

That we may teach others, edify and lead others to salvation available in Jesus Christ.
As we were taught and edified and encouraged, we should also lead other people, beginning with our family, our children, our relatives, our friends, neighbours. If we believe the faithless people shall end up in hell and that we love our family, we will certainly teach them, take pain to teach them The Way to Salvation. Now if we ourself do not have that knowledge, how will we be able to teach them? In his letter to Timothy, Paul encourages and exhorts Timothy to concentrate on teaching others. Well, he could have said maintain accounts properly, enroll promotional preachers, No. Saving people from damnation is the foremost duty of follower of Christ.
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1Timothy 4:13-16 , 2 Tim. 2:25, Romans 15:14
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Tim. 3:16-17.

And Lord Jesus has given this work of teaching to all those who say they follow Him.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

That we may know what lies in store for us in the future.
We are not left on with suspense deliberating about the future. We have been given promises, prophecy which are trustworthy and also warnings for our way of life on earth. If we are faithful till the end, we are promised heaven full of joy and those who reject the Lord Jesus, only lake of fire with all the pains is awaiting them
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46:9-10

“…the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:17-18

That we may bring glory to God
For all the good and soul satisfying blessings, for HIS love and sacrificial gift of salvation what can we give back to God? Nothing. But we need to remember we are here to glorify the Lord Almighty. Glory and praise is due to HIM for He alone is worthy of it.
Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 1 Chronicles 16:28-29

Glorifying act should not be mere symbolic or in words alone, we should know the glory that our Lord accepts. Our act of righteousness can be glorifying God. Apostle Peter says.
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

Apostle Paul says, we can bring glory to God by spreading HIS knowledge.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Again he says in 1 Cor. 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (also see, 1 Corinthians 6:20)
The Lord Almighty through the psalmist Asaph says, The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

Jesus Christ says,” let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.

Finally, we should now our limit, our liberty that the Lord has given us. Those who surpass these limits, God will surely deal as they deserve for their act.
1Cor. 4:6 …learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” (also see, Jer. 9: 24)

That we may lead our everyday life in comfort and peace
We have solutions in the Bible to our every problems, be it personal, or familial,, or for working people how they should be working, for masters, for leaders of province, for teachers, for students, for children and for parents, yes you name it , you will find it. It is the lack of God’s Word which has always destroyed the people of God – Hos 4:6.                                                                                 Let us be filled with the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and bring glory to God.

Let me conclude with the quotes of Woodrow Wilson, The president of USA
“I am sorry for men who do not read the BIBLE every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and pleasure
…..because it is the key to your heart, your own happiness, and your own duty”

May The Lord of all knowledge and wisdom Jesus Christ bless you with understanding to perceive the Truth as you diligently try to receive the Word of God in your heart.

Posted by: Akash Vansal | July 18, 2011

Little Children

The Gospel :Jesus Blesses Little Children

In this series, we are looking at what Lord Jesus taught some of the people who came into His contact personally.Jesus taught
About The importance of being born again to Nicodemus
About The importance of True Worship to The Samaritan woman
The sinfulness & its forgiveness through The Woman caught in adultery about
The acceptance of all those who repent sincerely through Zacchaues
Importance of giving priority to God to Martha
The need to surrender worldly matters to The rich Young ruler
About the authority of Jesus to forgive as The Lord and The God to Simon the Pharisee
Today, we are going to see what He taught as regards to dealing with the little children , particularly with respect to The Spiritual Matter.

Lord Jesus was popular with various groups of people. They came visiting Jesus for various reasons. For the needy, he met their needs, for the sick, he cured their ailingness, for the teachers of the law came with the intension to trap as He was considered a threat to their popularity, for the rulers, He was considered a threat to their power. He was popular with the little children too. This was the group that came without any intension, without any expectations, without any nuisance value. But not everyone appreciated it. Even His disciples did not liked it.
On two occasions Jesus taught what it takes to be a child.

The Passage :                                                                                                                           People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16( Also see, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17)

The Explanation:                                                                                                                            We read here that some of the parents were bringing their children, they could be infant babies and young children who were dependent on them. Here we see some deep truths on which we can really reflect on or just read and move on thinking there is no more than the simple message that little children should be brought in fellowship with The Lord and that Our Lord simply loves little children. Yes that is the Truth of the passage.

What we read here is often experienced by all of us at one time or other. Children means problematic to most of the people with the exception of most parents. And this applies even to the teachers. godmen and their disciples. They cannot tolerate the sight of the little children. For they create noise and even disturb the service, meetings, the proceedings. So, when the disciples of Jesus, they could be other than the 12 disciples also, they try to shoo away the children. But Lord Jesus rebukes the concerned disciples. To Jesus, they were not a nuisance. They were the souls Jesus was really seeking, for they were simple in heart. They appeared what they were. They expressed what they desired, they acted as per their wish. No hypocrisy was found in them. They were pure and innocent in everything. Jesus wants the adults to be like these ‘problematic’ children and He says it is to “SUCH AS THESE” the kingdom of God belongs. The childrens they had no knowledge of any spiritual thruths, no knowledge of being born again, worshipping The Lord in ‘Spirit and in Truth’ or giving priority to learning the Word of God, yet Lord Jesus commends them and tells others the ‘learned and the wise’ to imitate them and to transform themselves like them!
We may not like to be called childish, but we know the childish nature. They do not plot evil against other, they do not harbour anger in their heart, they do not plot revenge, they do not make a show of anything, they will not pass sarcastic comments, they do not cheat, they do not take pride, they do not hoard anything. They will not insult or hurt anyone. They do not expect for any thing that is asked them to do. And above all a child never consider themselves as someone of importance nor do they selectively give importance to a particular class or person. They do not show partiality. The Lord wants the adults to be like them. Is it simple?
The children remain depended on their parents faithfully. They do not doubt or worry for their needs. The Lord wants us to remain depended on Our Father in heaven and not worry of our needs. As the children trust their parents, so must we trust our Provider. For a child to become an adult is simple, by the passage of time, he or she will become one automatically, but to become like a child, it takes effort, it takes seriousness, it takes sincerity, it takes attitude. And it is not simple.

The other thing that we can learn from this passage is those who really trust in The Lord will bring their child, their loved ones to The Lord Jesus Christ and seek His blessings for them.

The third thing that we learn is that the children even after all their positive qualities, they are also ignorant of the knowledge and the wisdom of The Lord. All those who lack the knowledge as these little children wish to come to Christ, they should not be rebuked as if they are too dumb to understand it or due to ‘various’ other reasons. Jesus Christ did not came for a particular class or group or locality people. He Is The UNIVERSAL Lord GOD. If anyone thinks oneself as intelligent or righteous than some other, then they need to think what they were before coming in fellowship of Our Lord Jesus.

Another thing that we learn is all those who create hurdle in the path of those coming to The Lord, The Lord Himself will rebuke them, in what way we need not discuss, but it will not be pleasant for that person, that is for sure. The accessibility of The Lord is not narrowed through some people. The Lord has not appointed anyone to judge and prevent anyone from entering His Kingdom. Albeit everyone has been appointed to lead many to His kingdom.

The Gospel.                                                                                                                                      The Lord Jesus wants us to have the attitude of little child. The attitude of denying self and the readiness to RECEIVE The Kingdom of God LIKE a little child will permit us the entry to heaven. A child receives anything from their parents without any doubt. They trust them fully. Similarly, we should put our faith in The Lord Almighty, follow His instructions. We can enter The Kingdom of God only through The Lord Jesus Christ. There is no alternative, no other option exists.

The Bible Study :                                                                                                                       Many times this passage is explained wrongly that we need to be childish or can act childishly. Even if we take no active participation in the Church affairs, its okay for us, because a child does not take part in it. We may not strive for the knowledge of The Lord as a child do not have the knowledge of The Gospel, still enters The Kingdom of God. No. The there is big difference between ignorance and innocence. A child is innocent but when we do not do what we know should be done, it is ignorance. We cannot ignore the commands and the decrees of our Lord. Lord Jesus is very specific in His statement,

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17


Posted by: Akash Vansal | June 26, 2011

Deborah

Deborah

After delivering the Israelites from bondage Moses was called to be with The Lord. And God worked through another faithful leader, Joshua, whom He used to lead Israel into victory over fierce, battle-tested warrior nations. Israel was well on its way to conquering the Promised Land. But after Joshua’s death, The people lost their zeal. The Israelites grew weary of driving out the Canaanites. The Israelites compromised with their idol-worshipping neighbors. They grew accustomed to their ungodly beliefs. As time passed, a new generation of Israelites came into adulthood, one that was easily enticed by the sexually loose and morally corrupt ways of the Canaanites.
During this period, God used judges—“deliverers”—to deliver His people from affliction. Sometimes judges led armies, as Gideon did against the Midianites. Other times, judges worked as an army of one; take Samson, for instance. The servants God used to judge His people were men—except for one woman. Her name was Deborah.

Who was Deborah: Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge (Jdg. 4:4). As a prophetess, God used her to deliver His messages to His people. As a judge, God gave her the authority to render civil court decisions.

Why Deborah?  Judges 4, verse 5, states that the people came to Deborah. She must have been known for her sound-mindedness and sense of justice. The Israelites came to her to receive just decisions.
Deborah was also recognized for her sense of decency and order. We know this because, as a prophetess, she was careful to voice God’s will, and not her own. She was yielded to Him.

Deborah obeyed The Lord: God commanded Deborah to call for a man named Barak, whom He planned to use for a special military mission. When Barak came before her, she said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.  I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’: (Judges 4:6-7)

When Deborah finished delivering God’s message, she must have expected Barak to follow God’s will. But Barak was enslaved by fear—And so he gave Deborah an ultimatum: “If you will go with me, then I will go: but if you will not go with me, then I will not go” (vs. 8).

Deborah co-operates: Deborah said, “I will surely go with you: notwithstanding the journey that you take shall not be for your honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (vs. 9). In effect, she said, “You should have put your faith in God, not in me, His servant, nor in any other human being. You should be grateful that God has decided to still use you. Yet, because you have let your fear get the best of you, Sisera’s life will be taken by the hand of a woman. She will get the glory—not you!”

Deborah’s faith in The Lord:  Deborah did not limit God. She did not think to herself, “Oh, I’m just a woman. God couldn’t possibly use me.” Deborah accepted her roles as judge and prophetess, and allowed God to use her as He saw fit.

Deborah’s humbleness:  She did not try to get ahead of God and seek authority that did not belong to her. Carnally, she could have capitalized on her reputation for making good judgments. She could have, as Miriam the prophetess briefly did (see Numbers 12), tried to exalt herself. But Deborah knew her boundaries.

Deborah’s Courage:  She and Barak were supposed to work together as a team. Barak was to lead the military into battle; Deborah was to provide wise counsel and support, and express God’s will to the leader of the army. Because Barak initially failed to provide strong leadership, Deborah had to “stand in the gap” (Ezek. 22:29-30), but she did so , as she had no alternative.

An Exceptional Servant:  Deborah stood courageously in a time of fear. She stood for godly wisdom in a time of human reasoning, when “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” She stood for decency and order in a chaotic time of sexual perversity and idolatry. Deborah was a leader who was an exception to the rule in her time. Sadly, such exceptional character today is rare, just as it was in Deborah’s time.

Time has changed, life is same:  Today, just as in Deborah’s time, people live according to what is right in their own eyes. Doing the right thing and treating others as you would have them treat you have been replaced with “Every man for himself.” Most people live life moment to moment, thinking of only the “here and now,” seldom weighing the consequences before acting.

God wants you to be a ‘Deborah’:  Will you be an exception to “a generation that curses their father, and does not bless their mother”—“that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness”—that have “lofty…eyes,” and “whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives” (Prov. 30:11-14)?

Posted by: Akash Vansal | June 15, 2011

The Lord Teaches Simon-The Pharisee

The Gospel :Jesus Teaches Simon, The Pharisee

In this series, Today we are going to see what He taught a typical Pharisee who invited Lord Jesus for a meal. This event in found in The gospel of Luke, chapter 7, verse 36 to 50. Lets go through it.

The Passage : 36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”Luke 7:36-50

The Explanation : A certain man named Simon, belonging to the sect called Pharisee extends the invitation to Lord Jesus for a meal ( and perhaps to His disciples too) which The Lord accepts gladly. Pharisee were those people who studied the Holy Text carefully and also followed the oral traditions handed down by their forefathers. They stressed upon strict observance of the laws and commands of the Old Testament ( New Testament was not in existence at that time). They taught the people from the religious text.
This man Simon invited Jesus for the meal considering Jesus to be a “teacher” as can be understood to address in verse 40. And maybe even to be a ‘prophet’ (verse 39) but not fully convinced. This man must have invited Jesus just for pride that Jesus ate in his house. Even though he invited willingly without any compulsion, we see no heartfelt devotion on his part in serving the Lord.
1) He did not gave water to wash His feet. It was customary for the Jewish host to give water to the guest to wash hands and feet. Because they believed that the people become ‘impure’ as they walk through the streets and as they come in touch with other people. And before eating anything, they compulsorily washed themselves. This was very basic treatment handed down to every guests which Simon fails to do.

2) After washing feet, the host would kiss the guest on the cheek or forehead as a mark of welcome, but Simon did not cared to do so. This shows he had no much respect for Jesus.

3) And for honoured guest, the Jewish people used to anoint the head of guest with at least ordinary oil, b ut we see that Simon didn’t do this either. This shows his lack of respect and that he did not considered Jesus as special guest. So, we can conclude that Simons invitation was very casual, a formality, just to take the mileage associated with that that Jesus dined in his house. For this, he had specially invited some other guest who might be people of status or learned teachers of the law. For they showed displeasure to Jesus act of forgiving. (v49)

We also see a woman who had come without invitation. To some extent we wish to contradict ourself. Because we wish to say that she came with the invitation. Jesus presence invited her to come. And we see that even though she was not the host, she executed the responsibility of the host in a very touching and sincere manner.

This unnamed woman was a harlot. She had lived a sinful life. People like the Pharisees considered them as outcast. And no doubt I have very often behaved as the Pharisee do and very often fell short of the sincerity in worship of The Lord when compared to the worship offered by the ‘harlot’! I need to grow up and be mature citizen of the Kingdom of God.
Now, this woman being the harlot saved money from her ‘business’ and bought some strong perfume to impress her ‘customers’. The perfume is spoken as of very costly. Upon hearing that Jesus was in one of the house in her own town, she hurries to meet Jesus and comes along with the perfume jar. And we read that she washes Jesus’ feet with the waters of her heart, anoints His feet with her most possessed saving and wipes His leg with her glory, on which she took pride. She offered the best she had at the feet of Jesus.

Not every one appreciates true worshipping of the The Lord, particularly if the worshipper is illiterate, poor, ‘foolish’, and ‘sinner’–a big sinner. But Simon has no problem with the way of worshipping, but the ‘subject’ of worship. He seems to be telling, “do Jesus deserve worship? Maybe if He comes to know who the woman is, at the most He can be accepted as a prophet” Not only that, Simon expected that upon learing the character of the woman, Jesus would reject her worship or should reject her worship. To Simon’s dismay, Jesus instead narrates him a short story and seeks his judgement on the moral of the story. Based on his judgement, Jesus shows how miserably he failed in his responsibility and ultimately fell short for God’s grace and how the lady fulfilled her responsibility and found God’s favour.

The Gospel : Simon not only tried judging the woman, he also tried testing Jesus. Lack of faith leads to testing. When we invite or approach The Lord, it should be done in total belief and sincerity. Without faith, we cannot please God. Then, we should not judge others, but examine ourself. Upon sincere self-examination, we shall conclude, “I am the worst sinner.”
Except Lord Jesus in human form, no one is sinless. All have fallen short of the glory of God. No man can on his own do anything to reconcile himself with The Lord. Each one ‘big sinner’ or ‘small sinner’ need God’s gracious forgiveness. No penance, no pilgrimage, no fasting, no oath, no offering can take away our sins. Jesus alone can and ONLY HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS. But, for this we must turn around our way. We must turn from our old path to Jesus Way. The woman turned around. She committed her life to Jesus. She sacrificed the ‘Perfume’ she had reserved for her ‘customers’ to Jesus symbolizing that she now no more needed those. She found satisfaction, peace at the feet of The Lord. Are we ready to sacrifice or do away with ‘those’ things that keep us away from Jesus?

The Bible Study : The similar incidence of anointing of Jesus by a woman is found in all the four gospel. The incidence mentioned in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 are one and the same, but those mentioned in Luke 7 and John 12 are different ones. That means in all total three different incidence in four gospels.

Just take up for yourself the challenge to study in detail of these four incidences. You can make a chart comparing all these four incidence with respect to points like: Scripture reference, place of incidence, host name, woman name, time of incidence, medium of anointing, anointing on head or feet, who rebukes the woman, audience present, what Jesus says, etc…I am sure you will like it and it will be beneficial too.

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: