The passion of Christ if you read the Sunday's Message page on this blog or if you have knowledge of it, is about the last hours of Jesus on earth from the last supper through to his betrayal.During the course of the reading the gospel and especially the dialogue assigned to the crowd as i was a part of, i felt tears sting my eyes by the end of the gospel.
At the beginning of the gospel, the crowd is all about Jesus, telling him they needed nothing when he sent them out to minister with nothing, asking for a sword to defend him from his betrayer.But as the gospel unfolds,the crowd calls out Simon as one who was with Jesus so he could be punished too and by the end of the gospel,the crowd is persecuting and calling for the crucifixion of Jesus.
It got me wondering what i would have done if i was alive in the times of Jesus. Whether i too like Simon would have denied Jesus, or whether like everyone else there at the time would have called for Jesus to be crucified or whether i would have believed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. I also wondered about the time Jesus appeared to his disciples and Thomas asked for proof by touching Jesus' hand and his side.I wondered if i would have been like the other disciples and believed that it was indeed Jesus or if i would have been like Thomas instead wanting and needing proof.
These days there are all kinds of occults,deities and gods that people have turned to for hope, protection,sustenance and every thing else in between. The most glaring one that seems to be gaining grounds even among young people and is especially popular with the affluent is The Illuminati. I had been hearing a lot about it recently and never paid heed to it but when i read it on Yahoo, then i knew it was for real and it is quickly blinding people from Jesus The Truth.
Not too long ago, i was talking to my friend(yes,i know i reference him a lot but we all actually need that one friend with whom we can freely speak Jesus with anytime) who said while we were on the topic of being disciples for Christ, that disciples (Christ' followers) are not called but they call themselves to Christ. I found it a bit tricky at first but he went on to explain that, we make a conscious decision to follow Christ or be Christ-like, we are not called to be Christ-like but we decide in our hearts that we want to be.
It makes a lot of sense because if people can decide to worship another human being, or an idol,or a deity, or some god, then surely, people can make a conscious decision to worship and serve God too.It is rather unfortunate that in the times, more people are making up their minds to worship the formers instead of the latter.
I see that the quest for fast growth in terms of money is the main reason why so many choose to serve and worship other gods other than God, forgetting that our sole existence in the first place is simply because God authored it and allowed us. John 3:16 reads ''For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God chose us and because he loved us so dearly, gave His only son Jesus Christ to come die on the cross for our sins. We are saved and healed by his wounds as the Bible tells us that God knew us even before we were conceived. But he did not or has not imposed himself on us but has given us the free will to realize how much he loved us, the sacrifice that he gave for us and for us to choose him in return and believe in him.
For long, Christians have been taunted by non-Christians about believing and praying to a God we cannot see. Some like Thomas have asked of Christians to show them proof of the existence of our God, some out of sheer ignorance follow the bandwagon and get lost in the mix. But we have blessed assurance from Jesus for believing in him and trusting him even though we have not seen him.
Thomas had not believed his fellow disciples when they told him that Jesus came upon them but wanted to see for himself before believing, and indeed he only believed after he saw Jesus for himself. And Jesus said to him,' have you come to believe because you have seen me?Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.' Blessed are the Christians who call on God, who pray to him, trust and have faith in him without having seen him.
In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, we see that he chose his disciples,which is evident in Mathew 4:18-19 and reads ''And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.". But Jesus unlike so many leaders today or humans, did not impose the disciples to follow him or obey him. He gave them the free will and ability to make their own conscious choice of choosing him in return which they did.
I found it interesting that Jesus in choosing his disciples, chose even the one that would eventually betray him Judas Iscariot.This is/was to show us that the same grace that was offered to Judas for a chance at salvation is being offered to each and every one of us at different points in our lives. Some of the people antagonizing Christians might have not yet received this grace and so are yet to be saved, while others are too stubborn to accept the grace of God or even identify it, and while others are just plainly ignorant to that grace lurking around them the whole time.
For those doubting the existence of God, i urge you to just for a moment take a look around you and behold the beauty of your environment.The birds flying freely in the sky, the wonderful nature around you, the earth beneath your feet, the waters surrounding you and especially the air that you breath, all that and more is proof of God's wonderful existence.
Jesus is calling us every day to come into his presence and be partakers of this wonderful glory and belong in his eternal kingdom through salvation. He is extending a hand to you and me and every body else everyday. You are alive because he knew you even before you were conceived in the womb, you are alive because he chose you. Isn't it time you and i chose him too in return like Joshua.
In Joshua 24, Joshua gathered all the Israelites and showed them proof of God by reminding them of the promises he made to Abraham and how he fulfilled it. He also reminds them of how God delivered them from the Egyptians and the many blessings he gave them in form of food,fruits,plants from land where they did not toil nor harvest.
For Joshua, it is overwhelming proof of the goodness and kindness of God and he was taken aback that despite all that, the Israelites still wanted to go worship deities and their ancestors. And that is when he said the verse that would change the Israelites minds, Joshua 24:15 which reads
''But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” They changed their minds after seeing that indeed from what Joshua said, God was indeed a God of signs and wonders and if they survived all that they had been through, it was only because God chose them and they chose him in return.
So let us not get caught up with the many arguments that abound in every gathering these days that threaten the core of our belief system,or the negative news coming out from every angle, or the difficult situations we may be faced with that is making us question our faith. Just like he delivered the Israelites out of bondage and suffering, so will he deliver you. And the reason he delivered them was because they were a chosen people,chosen by him and so are you and i.
So listen to that inner voice talking to you,God is calling you today and he is choosing you. Will you choose him in return? I hope you do, because then you will be releasing a flood of blessing on your life. Have a blessed and happy week and it is good to be back.