24 March 2012
God send his Son so that through him the world might be saved
-Extracted from the Gospel of John, Chapter 3:
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
14 as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up
15 so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
(See the record of “Moses lifted up the snake in the desert” in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 21: 5-9 .)
16 For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
18 No one who believes in him will be judged; but whoever does not believe is judged already, because that person does not believe in the Name of God's only Son.
19 And the judgement is this: though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
20 And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, to prevent his actions from being shown up;
21 but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’
You asked: Who is Nicodemus ?
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jews who sat and taught in “Moses’ seat”. Nicodemus appeared in the Gospel in 3 different occasions:
1. He came to Jesus at night and have a discussion with him (John Chapter 3), part of the discussion was stated above. He came to Jesus at night because he was afraid of peer pressure, as Jesus though was a popular figure during his 3-year public ministry, He was not welcome among the leaders of the Jews because they were jealous of Him as He taught with authority and truth, and had exposed the hypocrisy of these Jewish Leaders.
2. Nicodemus defended Jesus when the chief Priests and Pharisees instructed the temple police to arrest Jesus unjustly without a justifiable cause - “Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” (John 7: 50).
3. Nicodemus was generous with the provision of “myrrh and aloes” for the burial of Jesus when He died - “Nicodemus came as well - the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time - and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.” (John 19:39).
You are God’s work of art, He loves you
- Extracted from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, Chapter 2:
4 God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy:
5 when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ - it is through grace that you have been saved-
6 and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
7 This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how extraordinarily rich he is in grace.
8 Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God;
9 not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.
10 We are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.
The wrath and mercy of God are revealed in the exile and in the release of his people
- Extracted from the 2nd book of Chronicles, Chapter 36:
14 All the leaders of Judah, the priests and the people too, added infidelity to infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the nations and defiling the Temple of Yahweh which he himself had consecrated in Jerusalem.
15 Yahweh, God of their ancestors, continuously sent them word through his messengers because he felt sorry for his people and his dwelling,
16 but they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until Yahweh's wrath with his people became so fierce that there was no further remedy.
19 Their enemies burned down the temple of God, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces to the ground and destroyed everything of value in it.
20 And those who had escaped the sword he deported to Babylon, where they were enslaved by him and his descendants until the rise of the kingdom of Persia,
21 to fulfill Yahweh's prophecy through Jeremiah: Until the country has paid off its Sabbaths, it will lie fallow for all the days of its desolation - until the seventy (70) years are complete.
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia - to fulfill the word of Yahweh through Jeremiah - Yahweh roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom:
23 'Cyrus king of Persia says this, "Yahweh, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up."'
For anyone who persists in wrong-doing, when disasters strike, it is useless to hide in God’s temple... as how could God who made the eyes not see and who made the ears not hear? Especially if that person is pursued by God, it is impossible to hide anywhere (no matter what’s your religion) ...However, God in his mercy, forgives us as long as we repent and turn back to the right path… Life or death, happiness or misfortunes, all these are the outcomes of our daily choices, whether we choose to be life-giving or death-inflicting to others.