Sunday, December 22, 2013
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Service held on 11th September 2011.
As with so many of the stories of Jesus, the parable of the debtors arose out of a question that was posed to Jesus. Simon Peter said to him: "Master, if my brother sins against me, how many times should I forgive him? Seven times? Even as he asks that question my mind cannot help but think about children and how they will sometimes confess something they do wrong expecting to get praise from a teacher or a parent because they were so honest.
In the same sense, Simon Peter by asking this question is not expecting rebuke but praise. He is expecting Jesus to say: "Excellent Peter. You go to the head of the class. You get A+." According to Jewish law, Peter had the right to think that he had done something good. Scribal law clearly read:
"If a man transgresses one time, forgive him. If a man transgresses two times, forgive him. If a man transgresses three times, forgive him. If a man transgresses four times, do not forgive him." What Peter has done is to take this law of limited forgiveness, multiply it by two and add one, and then sit back with a smile on his face and say: Now how is that for being a great guy? And he surely must have been taken aback when Jesus said you must forgive seventy times seven.
Then Jesus proceeded to tell a story. There was a certain king who had a day of reckoning for his servants. He found one who owed him 10,000 talents and, because he could not pay, he was about to have him thrown into jail and his wife and children sold into slavery. In response to the man’s pathetic pleadings, however, he forgave him the entire debt.
Whereupon that forgiven servant went to a fellow servant who owed him 100 denarii, a very small sum of money, and demanded payment. He pleaded for extra time, an extension, but the man would not hear of it and he had him thrown into jail. This story got back to the king who went into a rage. He called in the forgiven servant and said that because of his conduct, he was now to be thrown into jail. His original debt was reinstated.
We do not expect God to forgive us once or twice or any limited number of times but every time. It is nowhere written that we have, say, only 10 chances of going to confession and, once our quota is used up, there is nothing left. God’s forgiveness is deep and lavish. It is undeserved and unmerited. He forgives mountains of debt in exchange only for love and loyalty.
Jesus attempts to say to Simon Peter that
First, forgiveness carries a heavy price.
When we are wronged, we have only two choices – to forgive or not forgive.
Thanks to sermons.com
Often people are reluctant to forgive because they think it means denying the offence or letting the offender off the hook. When you forgive, it doesn’t mean that you have dismissed the event, and neither has God. Apostle Paul gave the following advice in his letter to the Romans, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19).
Second, a forgiven soul should be a forgiving soul.
The forgiveness we offer others should be the same the Father offers us. Now is the time to settle accounts and now is the time for us to forgive our neighbors, brothers and enemies through a true faith and a broken heart. There is no act that proves dependency on God more than forgiveness. There is nothing more powerfully potent than showing love through undeserved mercy, that comes first by forgiveness.
Faith is best expressed through forgiveness. God demands that we be like him. And so this is why God demands that we forgive others, so that we might be forgiven ourselves. And let us bear in mind that forgiveness is only complete when reconciliation takes place.
Father Almighty, grant us the grace to practice forgiveness today by starting with the little hurts by invoking your loving and peaceful Presence and allowing divine grace to surround us when we are tempted to fight back and get even. Help us to let go of all the everyday occurrences that do not go the way we want. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Posted by Premanand at 9:29 AM
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Mt 16:21-28 · Ro 12:9-21 · Ex 3:1-15 · Ps 105
There is this story of a young man, eager to make it to the top, who went to a well-known millionaire businessman and asked him the first reason for his success. The businessman answered without hesitation, "Hard work." After a lengthy pause the young man asked, "What is the SECOND reason?"
We want to deal this evening with the lure of the easy way. Jesus and His disciples were at Caesarea Philippi. Their ministry to this point had been a stunning success. Crowds pressed in on them everywhere they went. People eagerly reached out to touch this attractive young teacher from Nazareth. The disciples themselves were caught up in the excitement of it all. Jesus asked them, "Who do you say I am?" and Simon Peter answered enthusiastically, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" It was one of the most dramatic moments in the disciples' pilgrimage with Jesus.
Then Jesus changed the subject. He began to tell them that the crowds would soon turn against Him; He would be crucified, on the third day he would be raised. The disciples didn't know what to make of all this. Simon Peter took Jesus aside: "Forbid it, Lord that these things should happen to you." Jesus' response to Simon Peter is as harsh as any words in the New Testament: "Get behind me Satan! You are not on the side of God but of man." Perhaps Jesus called Simon Peter 'Satan' because of Jesus' experience in the wilderness immediately after His baptism by John. In today's parlance, it was there that Satan revealed to Jesus the way to make Crores of Rupees in three easy steps turn stones to bread, leap off the pinnacle of the temple, "Bow down and worship me!" . How do you visualise Satan here? Many picture hi, as one who is clothed in red with even two horns. But when he appears before Jesus – if we imagine the modern context, Satan would be dressed in smart, suave clothes and he would be offering Jesus in a glib and polished tongue instant success, instant glamour, instant gratification. I think in this context we can see Satan almost anywhere today. Jesus encountered him this time in Simon Peter: "Forbid it, Lord, that you should have to suffer and die."
Thanks to sermons.com
If there is any doubt that Jesus is resisting the lure of the easy way, listen to the words that follow: "If any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
We are the devotees of the easy way even though everyone in this Chapel knows two important truths.
The Path to Personal Success Is that of Self-Denial.
Self-Denial Is Essential to the Salvation of the World.
Let me pose these questions before you
Can we leave everything and follow Jesus?
Can we relinquish everything and gain salvation?
If we can, Christ will enter in our lives, take up the burden we that we bear and we have to do will be to follow him.
Lord, open our hearts so that we can allow Christ to enter our hearts. Help us to ‘leave everything’ and follow your teachings and examples. Take charge of our lives and lead us onward. We entrust ourselves in your care.
In Jesus’ name we pray – Amen
Posted by Premanand at 10:20 PM
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Who do you say I am?
Jesus and his disciples ventured into the District of Caesarea Philippi, an area about 25 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee. The region had tremendous religious implications. The place was littered with the temples of the Syrian gods. Here also was the elaborate marble temple that had been erected by Herod the Great, father of the then ruling Herod Antipas. Here also was the influence of the Greek gods. Here also the worship of Caesar as a God himself. You might say that the world religions were on display in this town. It was with this scene in the background that Jesus chose to ask the most crucial questions of his ministry.
He looked at his disciples and in a moment of reflection said: "Who do men say that I am?" The disciples begin sharing with Jesus what they have heard from the people who have been following Jesus: Some say that you are Elijah; others say John the Baptist, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. It's always been this way Jesus as seen by the masses is seen in so many different ways.
You can speak of Jesus as prophet, holy man, teacher, or spiritual leader, and few will object. But speak of Him as Son of God, divine, of the same nature as the Father, and people will line up to express their disapproval.
Who do people say he is? Who do you say he is? And what are we called to do? Let's take a look at the answers to these three questions:
Who Do People Say He Is?
Is he just an ‘everyday’ person that one sees on the road and does not bother about? Or is he a person who really matters? Jesus referred to himself as the Son of God in John 5:25 and twice the voice of God declared of Jesus in his presence and others around – “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased – Mathew 3:17
Who Do You Say He Is?
Is he your living God? Can he enter your hearts without knocking? Will you accept him whole-heartedly? Is he your Messiah? Jesus clearly said that he was the Messiah. When the Samaritan woman said that she knew the Messiah was coming, Jesus said to her ‘I who speak to you am he” – John 4:26
What Are We Called to Do?
We are to go out and proclaim the news that Christ is Lord and Saviour. He is risen.
There are people that can go to Church almost their whole life and have not heard the gospel nor heard who Jesus really is. They can carry a bible and be convinced they are doing is what Jesus asked them to do. In John 6:28 the Pharisees asked, “What shall we do that we may work the work of God?” Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Who do you say that I am?
Is he your personal savior – the one in whom you trust? Let us make him ours.Lord Jesus, help us to understand you more. Help us to renew the promises made and we dedicate ourselves eternally to your love and service. Amen
Posted by Premanand at 2:57 AM