Take your Cross and follow Me


Mathew 16:24, 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. We are about to participate in yet another Good Friday. The day we commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. In today’s times, families are no longer about togetherness and the feeling of oneness. It’s all about I, ME, MYSELF. Everyone desires to be the center of attraction. Our Lord has said that we need to deny ourselves and follow Him. That means to give up the idea of I, Me and selfishness. Man is in the mad race to secure the future. No one is ready for self-sacrifice. At the same time, they do not shy away to profit from the sacrifices made by others. There is no guilt, remorse or, regret in doing so. Jesus has said that such people are not capable of following Him. https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/at-the-cross-alas-and-did-my-savior-bleed-/

Luke 9: 51-56,51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. Here we see that when things did not go as desired even the disciples wanted punishment for Samaria. This is exactly the mentality of today’s generation.

Today’s world is driven by greed and lust. The devil has slaved the hearts and minds of people. Nowadays, resorting to violence is trivial and normal in the course of fulfilling one’s selfish desires. Jesus has asked to deny ourselves and follow Him. Here man should learn to give up on certain desires and wants. Jesus asked us to sacrifice ourselves for Him. Without it Christian living is meaningless.

In Colossians 3:5, Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Disciple Paul says to us to give up the earthly nature of desires. He continues in Galatians 2:20, 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Mathew 11:29, 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. The generation Z sees gentle and humble nature as a weakness. Then how can they bring it to application in their lives???

Let me share a short story with you. There once was a sage who had given up on all worldly charms. He lived his daily life on the alms he received from people who were generous. One day while begging for alms he found a silver coin on the road. He picked it up and started walking. Rubbing it between his fingers he wished that it had been a gold coin. He started saving from the alms he received to exchange the silver coin for a gold coin. With the silver coin in hand, the sage started to burn with the desire of owning a gold coin. This desire made him rich. His lifestyle changed. Along with it, he lost all interest in the way of the Lord. At the time he used to meditate, he was now occupied counting his gold coins. Sage had now become a greedy man. Lord Jesus has said in Mathew 6:24, 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. The way of the Lord’s disciples was not made with rose petals. They gave up everything and followed Jesus. Eleven of them became martyrs. Only worldly Judas betrayed Jesus for mere 30 pieces of silver. Everyone is aware of the end of Judas.

The mistake man makes today is that he thinks he can have both God and money together in his hands. How pitiful!!! In times when luxuries have increased manifold is it possible to live a life of sacrifice and denying oneself? Everyone should ask themselves this question. For believers, the Cross is not a mere piece of wood. It is the symbol of self-sacrifice and suffering of our Lord for our redemption. With Jesus or without Jesus’ image on the cross, what thought crosses your mind?? The suffering at Calvary?? Has that suffering been restricted to thoughts during the Lent season??? Today with the press of a button or a swipe we can satisfy the god of hunger and the gods of desires. The Cross and Suffering of Christ has become buried under these.

Dear children of God, this Good Friday can we try to follow Jesus by denying ourselves a little?? May this Good Friday be the beginning of a transformation for each one of us. Dear parents can you start this today in your families???

Let’s sing together the hymn

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away
’Tis all that I can do.

Words: Isaac Watts (1707)

What would you do if you were with the Saviour at Gethsemane?


Jesus went to Gethsemane with his disciples to pray after the Last Supper. Gethsemane in Hebrew means ‘oil press’, suggesting that the garden was a grove of olive trees in which was located an oil press. Jesus divided the 12 disciples into two groups. Peter, James, and John went along with him. The rest 9 disciples were instructed to wait for Him till He returned from the garden. No other instructions are mentioned in the Bible. Peter was one of the disciples who claimed he would never leave Jesus and follow Him till death. The mother of James and John had requested Jesus to have the brothers sit on either side when He was seated on His throne. These three had been witnesses to the transformation of Jesus on a mountain.

  1. Three Disciples: What was Jesus’ expectation from the three disciples when he asked them to accompany Him to Gethsemane. Jesus gave only one instruction. Keep awake and pray for me. Mathew 26:37, 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” The three disciples fell asleep. This happened thrice and each time Jesus only asked them to keep awake and pray.

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Here we see that when the Lord was praying with a troubled heart full of sorrow, the disciples were fast asleep. We have often heard these Bible verses. Ask yourself, if you were in place of the disciples what would you have done?? How much time do we spend in silence praying to the Lord? Most of the time is spent in wasteful discussions about the changes in conditions around us, the problems we face in life, daily tribulations, etc. Just like the years gone by, this year too there will be passion-filled sermons about the crucifixion and the suffering of Christ. Tears will be shed, and then after Easter everything will go back to as it was.

2. Topic for prayer: Let us think about the person who was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The only Son of God. The one without sin and blemish. The one living in praise. The almighty one. Isaiah 6: 3 says,

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Jesus is the son of the Heavenly Father.

Luke 22:44, And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus experienced pain just any other human, and in pain he calls to the Father, Book of Mathew 26

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

It was not a momentary call for help. The severity of the pain of the sins of all children of God and the extreme punishment He had to undergo to atone for our sins made Jesus call out in pain. Jesus was human only in physical form, He is God in spirit. The one without any blemish had to experience the sins of the world. Can one imagine the depth of pain and anguish He experienced?? Even before His crucifixion, Jesus experienced pain in His prayers. Dear children of God, it is for our sins that he was crucified. How truly do you repent and ask forgiveness for your grave sins??

We claim that I pray often. 95% of the people pray to the Lord asking for requests to be filled that are based in this world. That is also needed. Yet do you take a moment to pray about the ever-increasing sins in the world, immorality, natural calamities, pandemics, the list is long. Today there is distress and misery all around us. Have we been able to pray with a truly heavy heart thinking about these miseries and hand them over to the Lord in prayer? It is said in the Bible,

John 3:16-18, 16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Our Lord does not want any person to die in sin. He does not want the sinner to die, rather He wants each one to repent and wash away his/her sin.

3. Plan of God: We all know that Jesus did not pray for His own selfish needs. He handed Himself over to the will of God. Lord Jesus gave Himself up to the will of the Father. Instead, we desire the fulfillment of our own desires. The Bible teaches us that the Devil tries his level best that Lord Jesus fails in accomplishing the plan of the Father in heaven. Jesus is capable of seeing him and talking to him. He defeated the devil in his plans. Even though Peter and the disciples may have fallen asleep. Except for Judas rest too drank from the bitter cup of suffering like Jesus. They are all martyrs for Jesus. We received salvation and redemption through Jesus who atoned for our sins. the sacrifice at Golgotha washed away all our sins. Through the stripping of Jesus, we are stripped of the sins that cover us. The sins of Adam and Eve were distanced from the Father. Our loving Father brought us all back to Him by sacrificing His only son for us. The sin of Eden was washed away with the blood of Jesus at Calvary.

Dear children of God, we humans disregard whatever we get easily. The gift of salvation is not something we worked hard for hence we easily put it aside. It was the Saviour who suffered and was crucified. Most people think lightly of the sins they commit thinking about the salvation promised by the Father. Just think how powerful is our enemy if he could go and tempt Jesus. He is all around us in ways we cannot perceive.

1 Peter 5: 8-9 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Is woman the suitable helper for man?

In Genesis 2:20 we read, 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. Heavenly Father created pairs for all animals and birds, but for man alone, he gave him a suitable helper. Yet men are always interested in providing the second position to women against themselves. Men try to keep women from the mainstream, whether at home or in society. To be able to do this they pushed towards a male-dominated world creating a theology that favors them and societal laws and regulations which gave them more freedom as compared to the women. Yet it should be noticed that women continue to function and work in today’s world shoulder to shoulder with men or even better than them. Many organizations came to form to support and promote women’s empowerment. How many succeeded in what they aimed to achieve needs to be seen. Along with women’s empowerment, there should have been a movement for the empowerment of society as a whole including children and the elderly.

In the Old Testament we can read about women who fearlessly came forward to save the people when men dare not to raise even a finger. There are also instances where women have been used as an instrument ot catalyst to bring about God’s plan. Before the birth of Moses, Isrealites had grown in number in Egypt. THe Egyptian Pharaoh became scared. He ordered to kill all newborn male babies and let girls live. Shprah and Puah were two midwives who were given this duty to kill the male babies at birth. But in Exodus 1:17-21 we read,

17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. In this way he used these two women to save and increase the number of His children, the Israelites.

Let look at the New Testament now. We can never read about Jesus insulting or humiliating women anywhere. Remember the facts that Jesus was a Jew and a prophet when you read forward. We read that Jesus once spoke to a Samaritan woman which was controversial according to that time for Jews do not associate with Samaritans. The woman was labeled as a sinful woman. Jesus revealed Himself before her as Messiah.

John 4: 25-26, 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

As a result of her testimony we read in John 4: 39-42, 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Luke 7:36 we read that Jesus was invited to have dinner at the home of a Pharisees. Luke 7: 37-38, 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.” Here we read that the Pharisees was disturbed that the woman touched Jesus and Jesus didn’t understand that she was a sinful woman. For the Pharisees she was just a sinful woman.

The Lord then turns towards the Pharisees and says 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.” Here we understand that for the Lord did not condemn the woman, rather he forgave her sins. the Pharisee was focussed on her being a woman.

In John 8:1-11, we read that people brought before Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They had all desired that he would condemn and pinish her. This was the plan of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. This is how Jesus reacted , When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” It is very much possible that the man who committed adultery was one of the many people in the crowd. It is not possible for a woman to commit adultery without a man. Jesus did not punish her neither condemn her.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

In John 11, sisters Mary and Martha were weeping for the death of their brother Lazarus. Just like them Jesus too is hurt and pained when he sees the sisters. John 11:32-33,

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. Hence we understand that for Jesus there was no difference between man and woman in sin or in pain.

When Pharisees questioned Jesus about Divorce, His reply was Mathew 19:8, Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. This reply shows how much in respect and in esteem He held women in. In general, most men consider women to have been created specially for them to staisfy their lust and desires.

After Jesus’s death, it is to be noticed that Mary Magdalene and the womenfolk were the first to visit the tomb. Mary Magdalene was the one who informed the disciples about the empty tomb. She was the first person before whom Jesus appeared after resurrection. She is the first evangelist to speak of resurrection.

Even after centuries passing by there is no answer to the question that will man look upon woman as a suitable helper appointed by the Father himself. Be it a newborn baby or a shrivelled 90 year old grandmother, for a man she is just flesh created to satisfy his lust. Just think even as we call ourselves as the progressive society has the status of women in society improved or deterioated?? Many a times we have been made to wish it would be better if a girl child is not born anymore. A father who instead of loving and holding his princess has been cruelly molesting his own daughter, grandfathers, brother, so on. The ones who should be protecting are now among the biggest predators for the girls and women.

Mathew 5:27-28, 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Think how many of us would have committed adultery numerous times. Sons who grow up seeing fathers who love and respect their wives learn to respect women in general. It is possible for parents to save their sons from the sins. Fathers and grandparents should be role models for the sons to learn. Let’s start from the family first

Joseph and Temptations

Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel. Rachel was barren. Joseph was born to the two of them when Jacob was old. That is why Jacob loved Joseph dearly. The very reason why his elder brothers detested him. One day, when Joseph enquired about the welfare of his brothers who had gone with the herd for grazing, they seized the opportunity and put him in a dried-up well. From there, they sold him for twenty silver coins to Midianites who sold him to Egyptians. Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards bought him and made him his slave. Later, Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.

The young boy who was rescued from the dried-up well was moving towards more dangerous territory. Joseph was not only handsome but extremely well-built as well. Potiphar’s wife noticed him and was attracted to him. Joseph ran away when she tried to seduce him to her bed. The evil woman accused Jospeh wrongly of having tried to molest her. Joseph was put into prison. During those times, the punishment for such an act was death. But Joseph did not end up with the punishment. There can be only two reasons for it; either Potiphar had faith that Joseph would never do such a thing or The Lord made Potiphar have mercy upon Joseph. The reply that Joseph gave to Potiphar’s wife when she seduced him is something that everyone should pay attention to. Genesis 39:8-9, But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

We all know that Joseph had come to the household of Potiphar as a slave. He was only seventeen years old at that time. He had no parents, his brothers had betrayed him, and he was clueless about his future. Had he given in to the temptations of Potiphar’s wife he would gain a lot in terms of wealth and position. At the same time, he would destroy his soul at the hands of the mistress. Joseph saved the reputation of his mistress and also saved himself from tarnishing his soul by running away from there. This was the olden times.

Due to the Pandemic, the schools were closed. Education was imparted through the digital medium. Students had to conduct a lot of research. As the result, they got caught in the web of the internet. They saw and heard things that were inappropriate and that they should not have watched. Students used the internet in the name of doing research. In one of the reputed schools, a grade eight student happened to watch porn films and encouraged his classmates and friends to do the same. Just think through just one student how many students got caught in the bad habit and spoiled their souls in the process. Will the young generation pause today and think, If it were me in place of Joseph, will I step away from the temptation as it would hurt my Lord, or give in to the temptation leading to self-destruction and destroy others also in the wake??? Committing a sin and encouraging someone to commit a sin, both are punishable by the Lord.

Dear Parents, today we are overloaded with healthy drinks and other healthy food options for our children. But how much importance do we give to the spiritual growth and strength of our children? Do you pay attention to how much time your child sits in front of the gadgets using the net? Do you know what they are watching?? Are you aware of the kind of friends they keep?? Children are curious by nature, hence they have the tendency to revisit things/scenes which they might come upon accidentally. Protect naive and innocent minds from getting polluted. The youth of today will be the guardian and creators of the family and society of tomorrow. We should pray that they do not fall into the hands of the enemy. If we lose wealth we can work hard and gain it again. But if we lose our children how will we gain them back??? Can you gain them back with money power?? It is the responsibility of parents to guide their children to lead a life on the path shown by the Lord. Else they shall fall to the punishment from the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:13-14, 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

Till that incident, we do not read about God’s intervention in the life of Joseph. Was there no God? Did God step away? No matter what Joseph was a God-fearing young boy. Even though he had to face tribulation at the start we read that the end of his life was blessed and fruitful.

David killed the giant Goliath believing in the name of Yahweh. His faith was not in his own strength or weapons. His faith was in his Lord. This David fell into the traps of temptations and committed sins. Understanding the gravity of his sins through the prophet Nathan, David repented for his sins from the bottom of his heart. The Lord forgave him. Psalm 51 is his song for forgiveness to the Lord ( A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.). Just like Joseph’s mistress, David too fell into sin seeing the beauty of Bathsheba. The Lord of temptations, Satan will keep on presenting and luring us with temptation all our life. The decision to escape from it or keep it on our mind and fall prey to it is our decision. If our weak earthly bodies face defeat, we should look upon the feet of the Lord and seek His forgiveness. He will definitely forgive us our sins. Luke 7:44-48, 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.”

Psalm 51: 2-6, Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Try to save yourself from sin, and if you do sin repent like David did.

Everyone come to Me

In Genesis 21:17-1917, God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from Heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. We read about the experience of Hagar, servant of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. When Sarah gave birth to the promised child, Isaac, Sarah asked Abraham to send out Hagar and her son, whom she considered a threat to inheritance. Even though Abraham was heartbroken in having to send his firstborn son, he sent Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert. Hagar walked on with her son and reached the desert of Beersheba. The water in the skin was finished. Seeing her child crying for water in thirst, she placed him under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, unable to see him die before her own eyes. The ever-compassionate and loving Lord saw and heard the pain of both the mother and the son.

Genesis 21:19, 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. Here we see that Hagar WENT to the well to supply water. This word may seem trivial and has not been discussed much-WENT. Was it impossible for the mighty Lord to open a well near where the boy lay or where Hagar was sitting and crying??? Definitely, It was possible for Him. It was the Lord’s will that Hagar would get up and go to the well to fill water. Similarly, it is Lord’s will that, like Hagar, we reach out to the well that the Lord provides in our lives and make an effort. It is the calling of the Lord, Everyone comes to Me.

Let’s remember when Father Abraham went to Mount Moria with Isaac for the sacrifice. There too, we see the miracle of the Lord. A voice came from Heaven saying not to harm the child. When father Abraham looked up and heard the voice, he saw a lamb stuck nearby in a thorny bush. We can ask the same question: Was it not possible for the Lord to provide the lamb right at the sacrificial altar where Isaac lay?? The answer is the same: Yes, It can be done by the Lord. In saving Isaac, Lord wanted Abraham’s effort to be there. Abraham WENT to the bushes and took the lamb for the sacrifice to the Lord.

In the book of 2 Kings, we read about Naaman. A servant girl captured from Israel was serving Naaman’s wife. The servant girl told the wife that Naaman could be cured of leprosy if he went to see the great prophet, Elisha. Naaman WENT  to see his master talk about the same. As the army commander, he expected a grand welcome from the prophet. Instead, 2 Kings 5:11, 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Naaman was highly drunk on his position and stature in society. When the prophet Elisha did not give him a grand welcome he had expected, Naaman was furious and was about to leave. The prophet Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored, and you will be cleansed.” Naaman considered this to be an insult and trivial for him to do. Like Naaman, we, too, sometimes forget the sight of our Lord’s calling in our pride and race for power. How we react to the Lord’s calling is a deciding factor in how the grace of God falls upon us. The Lord’s calling is not based on our position in this world. It is purely the grace of God. Those who do not falter and rush to Him when He calls will always receive the grace and gifts He has to bestow.

Zaccheus wanted to see Lord Jesus. Being of short stature, he climbed a sycamore tree to have a glimpse of the Lord. He was content in having seen Jesus. But the Lord decided it was not enough for him to have a stolen glance. Jesus looked up and called out to Zaccheus, asking him to come down as He would spend time with him in his house. Zaccheus came down immediately and welcomed Jesus into his home. Zaccheus was not willing to sit and count his shortcomings as a sinner. Instead, he climbed down immediately when the Lord called. This proved to be a turning point in the life of Zaccheus, and he had a change of heart and received salvation.

From the abovementioned instances, we can clearly understand how we react to the Lord’s call is highly important. Like Hagar and Abraham, without a second thought, we can run and receive the grace of God; like Naaman, drunk in the power and pride, we can ignore the gift coming our way, or like Zaccheus, desirous of look, we can receive a grace 100 fold more than we expect and become a child of God. The only thing is the decision to hear the Lord’s calling and receive His grace is ours. Think hard. The opportunities given by God do not come knocking twice on our doors.

Evil Husband, Intelligent Wife

There was a time when David was on the run for his life from King Saul. David was hiding in the desert of Paran. There was a rich man in Carmel. Let’s ponder over an incident that took place between David and the rich man.

  1. Nabal: The meaning of this name is foolish and senseless. Nabal was a surly and mean man. Being a rich man he had plenty of sheep and rams. It was time for sheep shearing which was a festival time for people at Carmel. When David was at Carmel with his men, Nabal was also there with his folk and men for sheep shearing. David and his men protected Nabal and his sheep like a wall from against wild animals and any other predators. Since it was the festive season, David sent ten young men from his group to Nabal seeking help. This is what Nabal replied to his men, 1 Samuel 25:10-11, 10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” This angered David and he decided to destroy everything that Nabal owned and kill all menfolk of his household.

2. Abigail: The meaning of Abigail is  “cause of joy” or “father’s joy” in Hebrew. She was Nabal’s wife. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman. After David’s men went back to their master one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her the whole truth. Hearing the whole truth from her servant she acted with wisdom. 1 Samuel 25:18-19, 18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. David was impressed by her intelligence and also blessed her. After ten days, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. David accepted Abigail as his wife and married her.

3. Ananias and Sapphira: In Acts of Apostles chapter 5, we read about a couple Ananias and Sapphira. At that time all the believers were sharing their property with the apostles keeping one for themselves. Ananias too had sold a property too. With the full knowledge of his wife, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Apostle Peter saw the evil act and questioned his actions. Both husband and wife died one after the other with a difference of three hours.

4. Ahab and Jezebel: There once lived a man named Naboth. Naboth had a vineyard that was handed down by his ancestors. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab was a selfish king who always got what he wanted. He set his eyes on Naboth’s vineyard and wanted to use it as a vegetable garden. Naboth refused to part with his ancestral vineyard. This refusal was not taken well by Ahab. He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. Seeing him sullen, his wife Jezebel asked the reason. He told her all that happened. She was a shrewd lady. Using Ahab’s seal she sent letters to elders. She tricked Naboth and had him killed by the elders claiming that he had cursed the king and God. Then Ahab took possession of his vineyard. Seeing their wickedness, God sent the prophet Elijah to prophecy their death to them. 1 Kings 21: 17-26,17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”

20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

We can all learn lessons from the above-given examples. There are always two ways open before us. What is it to me and ignore it? It is my responsibility and I need to save my family by doing right. In Abigail, we see a woman who is not only wise but also god-fearing. Without the knowledge of her husband, she was able to protect and look after the well-being of the whole household. Today we only fret and worry about what will happen to our families. Wisdom has been replaced by selfishness and world pleasures. the virtues of sacrifice and tolerance have been long lost among families. The younger generation grows up seeing this and repeats the same mistakes. In many families, women have seeds of Sapphira and Jezebel. Each woman should ponder and reflect on the above-given example and then think to act wisely or on world terms. If Jezebel and Sapphira are like curses to family, Abigail is a blessing. Compare the women and make your own decision.

The Crucifixion of Christ

Lord Jesus understood that it was time to fulfill the desires of the Father in Heaven. It meant it was time for His crucifixion. John 16:16, 16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

John 17:1, After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

Luke 9:44-45, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

1) The Last Supper of Jesus: On the day of the Last Supper, Jesus sat down with His disciples for the supper together. Before they had eaten, Jesus washed and dried the feet of all His disciples. It is only then that they ate. Jesus fully knew what was about to happen. He said to His disciples that one of them will betray Him tonight. The disciples were disturbed on hearing this and kept asking, “Is it me?”. Lord said to them it is the one who dips his hand in the chalice with me. When Judas asked, “Is it me?”, Jesus answered, ” Yes, it is you.” Hearing this, Satan entered his heart. Even after His teacher had given him a warning he did not mend his ways. Judas went straight to Chief priest Caiphas and betrayed Jesus for mere 30 pieces of silver.

Words of Jesus at the Last Supper: Luke 22:19-20, 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. After this Jesus went to Gethsemane with His disciples to pray. Luke 22:44, 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Being tired the disciples slept instead of praying. So Jesus asked the disciples to be vigilant and keep praying for strength.

2) Jesus is arrested: As soon as Jesus’s prayer got over, Judas came to the garden with some soldiers to arrest Jesus. As decided earlier as a sign of recognition, Judas kissed Jesus to identify Him to the soldiers. Apostle Peter followed behind when Jesus was arrested. He wanted to see what they would do to his teacher. This following led him to deny knowing Jesus three times just as Jesus had said. One person betrayed, another denied knowing Him, and the rest 10 ran away for their lives.

Mathew 26:31, 31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

Jesus has taught us that there is no greater love than giving up your life for the one you love. But all that He taught has vanished over the years. Jesus didn’t see familiar faces that loved or cared for Him.

3) Jesus is questioned: Jesus is brought up in front of Hign priest Caiphas, high officials, and Pontius Pilate as a common criminal. Pilate wanted to let go of Jesus. Pilate’s wife sent him a message through a messenger, Matthew 27:19: 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” Despite his best efforts, Pilate could not help Jesus because the high priests and officials out of jealousy had bribed and influenced a group of people to accuse Jesus wrongly. The mob shouted together to crucify Jesus. When Pilate saw that his efforts were going in vain and the crowd was becoming louder and unruly he decided to flog Jesus and have Him crucified.

4)Jesus is tortured: The soldiers stripped Jesus of His clothes. They made him wear a red robe. They had decided to mock and ridicule Jesus. They fashioned a crown made out of thorns and placed staff in His hands. Then they bent down before Him and mocked Him saying, ‘Hail to the king’. They struck the crown of thorns on His head with a rod. they spit on His holy face. they blindfolded Him and hit Him. Then they asked Him to prophecize who among them had hit Him. They flogged Him repeatedly till flesh began to fall off at places. After they had tortured and mocked Him they made Him carry the cross meant to crucify Him to the Mount of Golgotha. Jesus was exhausted from the physical and mental torture. Unable to bear the weight of the cross He was carrying He fell down thrice on the way. The Romans had wanted to crucify Jesus alive. So, they made Simon a passerby carry the cross to Golgotha.

The way He was crucified goes like this. To crucify Him, they threw His body on the cross. First, they nailed His right hand and then His left hand. Then they placed the cross into a hole dug beforehand for the cross to stand. The legs were then pulled down onto a ledge for the legs and then nailed. The manner in which the legs are pulled makes the whole body weight pulled down hanging by the nails on the hand. This causes excessive bleeding and rupture of veins in the body which led to internal bleeding as well.

The death at the cross after a few hours. The pain experienced by Lord Jesus due to the nails cannot be experienced nor be put into words. Many times the blood stopped flowing and formed clots. Those who did not die from bleeding on the cross were killed by breaking the bones in their legs. After breaking the bones in the legs of the two thieves convicted along with Jesus, the Roman soldiers reached to do the same with Jesus. He had died by the time they reached Him.

We have just read about the suffering and torture of Jesus. Every year, Good Friday comes and goes. Several retreats, prayers, and sermons take place around that time. The number of people who cry thinking of the Lord’s suffering is not less. We too should bear the pain and cry in the knowledge that each one of us is responsible for the pain and crucifixion of Christ. He paid the price for saving our souls. Can we pray like this, Dear Lord, please forgive me my transgressions.

Isaiah 53:4-12, Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 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.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

No matter how many tears we shed it is not enough to repay for our sins. The Lord taught us even at the cross with the thief that if one confesses and repents from his sins even at his last moment the Lord will save his soul. There is no sin in temptation alone. It becomes sin when we give it a place in our heart and mind and also act upon the temptation. Dear children of God, at the time of temptation, look up at the cross and remember that He bore the burden of our sins. Let us all make a firm decision that we will not add further blows to the nails placed on His hands and feet. This should be our penance every Good Friday.

Jonah, the one who runs away from God

There are only 4 chapters in the book of Jonah. Yet we get valuable lessons from the four chapters. Jonah gave more importance to himself than the word of God. He had a very narrow mind. Prophet Jonah stepped back from the duty given by the Father almighty. Father in heaven desires only repentance and a change of heart. He does not want to lose even one soul to the enemy. We often ignore His words and do not repent from our ways as much as we should. The enemy always makes us ignore the warnings, signs, and words of God. Just like many of us Jonah too had a distorted image of God in his mind. It led him into the depth of the ocean into the stomach of a whale. The one who hears our cries from every corner heard Jonah’s pleas from the belly of the fish and made the whale vomit him on the shores of Nineveh. Let us take a look at the mistakes made by Jonah:

  1. Jonah ran away from the presence of the Lord: God instructed Jonah in Jonah 1:2, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” God told him to go to Nineveh but he took a ship to Tarshish. The reason for his disobedience is given by Jonah in Jonah 4:2, He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah had thought that if the people of Nineveh repented and changed from their evil ways then the merciful Lord will not punish them. In that case, no one will believe his words again. Jonah gave more importance to his prophesy rather than to the change of heart in people. Jonah forgot Lord’s instructions and his duty.

Jonah ran away in a direction of his own choice. But the Lord did not leave him alone on his way. The Lord made strong winds blow against the ship Jonah was traveling in. When the other passengers came to know that the turbulence was because of Jonah, they threw him into the ocean. The Lord rescued Jonah and brought him to Nineveh.

2. The Jonah who walked along with the Lord: The Lord gave instructions to Jonah for the second time. Jonah 3:4, Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Jonah obeyed this time. the king and all the people of Nineveh believed the words of Jonah. Jonah 3:5-10, The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

The merciful Lord saw the change of heart in His people and forgave them.

3. Jonah, the selfish prophet: Jonah did not like that the Lord did not destroy the city of Nineveh and forgave the people. Jonah 4:1,3: But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah even desired to die rather than see people being saved. Jonah went outside the city of Nineveh and built a shelter for himself to see what would become of the city of Nineveh. For shade the Lord made a leafy plant grow beside his shelter. Jonah was very happy in the comfort. But at dawn theLord made a worm chew away the plant so that it withered. This angered Jonah a lot. Seeing his anger and discomfort the Lord says to him Jonah 4: 9-11, But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Just think if the Lord had left Jonah on his way what would have happened? Another Sodom Gomorrah would have come up in Nineveh. Each person living on earth has been given a duty and a role to play by the Lord. For eg: family, job, community, etc. We too are like Jonah. More than the word of God and saving fellow brothers and sisters, we prefer and also place importance on money, status, rank, and reputation in society. Our Father in heaven saves each soul that repents irrespective of caste, religion, status, and standing. Jesus preached the Good News, selected, and sent the apostles into the world for the repentance of souls. Mark 16:15-16, 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

We have read about the desire of the Lord, Jonah’s disobedience, and its repercussions. Jonah suffered the consequences of disobeying the Lord. Just think, is there a Jonah inside me too???? It is time to examine yourself. If the answer is yes, then throw him out. Be careful about the days ahead. Do not let Jonah take residence inside you.

The reward of our hardwork is God’s will

When God Works through us pexels-photo-195277 - A Glimpse of HeavenA  Glimpse of Heaven

It is an often-heard phrase, ” We are praying to God, it will happen”. When questions such as ‘Has your son/daughter got a job? Has your son/daughter found a suitable marriage proposal?’ are put forward, most people reply saying that we are praying about it. Unlike the parents of generations gone by, parents today are not invested in the lives of their children, and neither do they make efforts like earlier. Seeing them the children also grow up with such values and emotions. Lord Jesus during His days of preaching often spoke that we need to do our part first only then does the hand of the Lord act. Let us see some examples from the Bible:

  1. Lord’s first miracle: The wine ran out at the house in Cana where the wedding was taking place. Jesus could have easily changed the water in the jars into wine by just saying so. Yet this is not what happened. Jesus asked the servants to fill the water jars with water upto the brim. They followed His instructions and did as told. John 2:7-8, Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” He then asks them to take the water to the master of the banquet. By the time it reaches him the water had been turned to the finest quality wine.
  2. Jesus raises Lazarus: Jesus reached Lazarus’ tomb four days after his death. A huge rock had been placed at the mouth of the tomb to cover it. Jesus asked the people present to move it away. John 11:38-39, 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Had Jesus said to the rock to roll away it would have rolled away from the tomb. Had Jesus said, ‘Lazarus come out’. Lazarus would have come out of the tomb and rolled away the stone himself. When Lazarus came out he was his hands and feet were covered with linen clothes, Jesus asks people to take them off. He could have simply said that the clothes fall off him but He didn’t.
  3. Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind: John 9:11, Jesus had healed several people by His mere touch and by even saying so. Here Jesus heals the man born blind by putting mud on his eyes and asking him to wash them in the pool of Siloam. The blind washed his eyes(symbolic of his sins) and gained eyesight. The man did his part as told after Jesus did what He had to. This was he was healed.
  4. Jesus pays His tax: Mathew 17:27, 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Jesus was in need of a drachma coin to pay for tax. He did not like to borrow from others and pay. He asked his disciple Peter a former fisherman to drop a hook and find the coin in a fish’s mouth. Jesus knew that Peter would find the coin in the fish’s mouth since it was Him who sent the fish.

Genesis 2:15, 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Father in heaven did not place Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to simply enjoy the luxuries. They had their share of responsibilities and duties tending and taking care of the garden. There were only two people in the garden and lots to eat. They could have lived a carefree life just looking after the garden. We all know what happened and the result God says in Genesis 3:19,

19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

It would do well if each one of us asks this of ourselves: Are we doing our part in the Lord’s plan? Are we doing our duties and responsibilities?

2 Thessalonians 3:10-11, 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.nThis Bible verse also speaks to us about working hard for ourselves and enjoying the fruit of one’s own hard work. Today the major cause of tears and heartache is the lack of head of the family who performs his/her duties, highly educated children, or children who evade their responsibilities and duties. Many children want only white-collar jobs or jobs with high remuneration and status. Then there are some who would work only abroad. Then there are some children who do not stick at one job and quit finding one reason or the other. Many enjoy the bribe more than their own salary and ruin their family name with black listing and suspension. No one will enjoy reading this. Yet this is the harsh truth. Can you say no to this?

Dear brothers and sisters, Confucius had rightly said, ” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If we have the mind and heart to do the small steps that are required to reach the final outcome then the destination is not far from us. Do your best and God does the rest. Proverbs 13:4, A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Proverbs 16:3, Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Guilt/Remorse should lead to Repentance

Biblical Evidence for “Holy Father” and “Vicar of Christ” | Dave Armstrong

There is always a feeling of security and trust when we are surrounded by our family members. Family should be a place where one is able to share and feel safe at all times. If we sit down introspect ourselves, we will find that there are many blessings that we do not deserve or are not worthy to receive. Many times we do not give due value to the grace and blessings we receive from God. We give value to that which is forbidden. In this way, we lose the Lord’s grace.

  1. Adam and Eve: Adam and Eve had a whole garden for themselves. Forgetting the instructions given by the Heavenly Father for some time, both of them took and ate that which was forbidden. Instead of accepting their mistake and repenting for it they started to blame each other for the mistake and tried to escape. Those who were blessed and lived and in abundance were not cursed and thrown out of the garden. The first child born from the curse, Cain killed his own younger brother out of jealousy. In a mistake that seemed trivial at that time made Adam and Eve lose the garden forever.

2. Greedy Jacob: Father Issac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. When Esau returned back to the tent hungry, Jacob asked the right to be the firstborn in exchange for some soup to satisfy his hunger. It didn’t end there. Jacob went on to dress like Esau and appeared before old Isaac and took his blessings through deceit.

When Jacob realized that Esau would kill him when he comes to know about this. He ran away to Laban, his maternal uncle. On the way he was alone. He remembered his home and desired to return back home. Jacob was stricken with guilt and the loss of his family and home. In Genesis 28:21, 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God, Jacob asks God that if he returns back home he will accept Him as his God. Jacob does back home but at a price. He cheated on his father and brother, and he is cheated by Laban. Jacob loses many years in this way.

The Lord who examines our heart saw the grieving heart of Jacob. He appeared before him. Genesis 28:15, 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Jacob lost a lifetime in Laban’s house. Jacob cheated twice, once his brother and second his father. Jacob was cheated by Laban 10 times. When Jacob returns home after several years he says that he saw the Lord in him, Genesis: 33:10, 10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. Esau was delighted to have him back and forgave him. Here we see that Jacob was repentant of his mistake and hence saw the face of God in his brother’s face.

3. Joseph’s brothers: Joseph’s brothers threw him into a dried well and later sold him as a slave. It was not Joseph’s destiny to be a slave. Even though sold as a slave he rose to the ranks of second in command to the Pharaoh himself. A sudden twist in his life and he is thrown into prison. Yet the Lord’s eyes are upon him, Genesis 39:21, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

The Pharaoh saw two visions one after the other. No one was able to decipher its meaning. Only Joseph could decipher and tell the meaning of the visions. The vision showed 7 years of prosperity followed by 7 years of severe famine. This made the Pharaoh very happy and he made Joseph his chief in command. Genesis 41: 38-41, 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 

There was famine all over the land. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt upon hearing that there were grains available. On reaching Egpyt the sons had to pass through several tests. The brothers are seen talking among themselves, Genesis 42: 21-22, 21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” Joseph reveals himself to his brother. they are overjoyed to see him and hug him close and wept. Genesis 45:14-15, 14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward, his brothers talked with him.

It is natural to feel remorse and guilt in the absence of family and loved ones when one is alone, trapped in the sufferings and maze of life. Through the parable of the Prodigal son, Jesus tries to teach us the same thing. The prodigal son took his shares from the father and went away. He wasted his money on the luxuries of life. Finally, he landed at a place where there was a severe famine. The son remembered the days he spent with his father at his home. The Bible tells us that he realizes his folly Luke 15:17, 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!. He goes back to his own home to his father. When the father saw his battered and worn-out son, he embraced him close to his chest. The father received him with a lot of celebrations.

Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, our Heavenly Father too is ever merciful and receives each child who returns back to Him with an embrace. Micah 7:18-19, 18 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.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Do not be like Adam, Eve, or Cain. Instead of repenting before the Lord do not become the slaves of the Devil like Judas. Before the crucifixion of Jesus instead of reaching Jesus, Judas committed suicide. Let the prodigal son be an example for us. Had he thought about the reactions of his elder brother or his relatives and neighbors, the prodigal son would not have had the courage to return back home. His ultimate goal was to reach his father and seek forgiveness. Our aim should also be one thing only, to reach the ever merciful Father- repentance and forgiveness of sins. If humans can forgive the mistakes of their children. Then think what about the Father in heaven who loves us so much that He gave His only Son for our sins. Think.