Witness to Jesus’ Final Days – Luke 22:14-23:56

كلمات

Witness | Wanted to share | (no)Way | (Savior of the) World | Wondered | Wine | Women Weeping

الرسالة

This entire scripture reading speaks of the witnesses to Jesus’ actions during his last days. Why is this important? Because you only have witnesses to actual events. Witnesses validate the truth of history. Witnesses stand as a barrier to people just making up stories. And in Luke’s gospel, he describes the witnesses to Christ’s final days on Earth, the witnesses of his last supper, the witnesses of His arrest, of his torture, crucifixtion, and death on the cross. Right now, in this Gospel, we don’t discuss it, but it is also important that we recognize these witnesses as validating the truth of His ulimate resurrection.

I like to think a lot about Jesus, the man. Because, although He is God, He was still subjected to the same feelings, emotions, and thoughts that we as people have to work with. He knows from the Father that His time is limited and He has so much that he wants his disciples to know.

I remember, when my dad drove me down to San Diego to drop me off for college, he was bursting with things he wanted me to know. Stories about my mom. How to treat women. What sex really meant. Thoughts about business creation. The importance of learning. How he envisioned Heaven as a place where you would be able to learn forever. And how happy he would be in Heaven to ultimately be simultaneously surrounded in the love of both my mother who had passed away when I was an infant and with the love of my step mother. It was like drinking from a water hose of his sharing.

I think of Jesus like this – having so much that He wanted to make sure that the disciples would know and remember that he probably was just talking continuously. These, his beloved brothers and followers, would be taking his message to the whole world and he wanted them to be prepared. There was no possible way for Him to get into their heads all of the information they needed to know. Afterwards, I can only imagine that he wondered if they had gotten any of it.

I think he would have been amazed at how much stuck with them. Just as I am continually surprised by my son Andrew, who seems completely absorbed in his artwork while I am speaking to him, he somehow seems to capture all of the key essenses of my lessons and can repeat them back at command. The disciples similarly repeated back Jesus’ key messages demonstrated by the witnesses they have given us in their recollections of the gospels.

They witnessed the wine and the bread Jesus shared as his blood and body. They witnessed his predictions of future events with his arrest, betrayal by Judas, and denial by Peter. They witnessed Pilate ultimately crucifying him. They witnessed his mother and other women weeping at the foor of the cross. They witnessed the mocking by the guards, His interaction with the other two thieves, and His last words. They witnessed the eclipse at his death and his burial in the tomb.

So many details. Why? Because they point to the truth of Jesus’ story. They point to the fact of his resurrection. They witness to his redeeming power over our sins. And they are part of a larger body of overwhelming evidence that our faith in Jesus’ claim to be the messiah – the savior of the world – is based on fact. So for today’s Gospel, that’s really some Good News.

الإنجيل LK 22:14—23:56

When the hour came,
Jesus took his place at table with the apostles.
قال لهم،
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again
until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said,
“Take this and share it among yourselves;
for I tell you that from this time on
I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine
until the kingdom of God comes.”
Then he took the bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which will be given for you;
do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you.”And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me
is with me on the table;
for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined;
but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.”
And they began to debate among themselves
who among them would do such a deed.Then an argument broke out among them
about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
قال لهم،
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them
and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’;
but among you it shall not be so.
Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest,
and the leader as the servant.
For who is greater:
the one seated at table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one seated at table?
I am among you as the one who serves.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you,
just as my Father has conferred one on me,
that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom;
and you will sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded
to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail;
and once you have turned back,
you must strengthen your brothers.”
He said to him,
“Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.”
But he replied,
“I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day,
you will deny three times that you know me.”
قال لهم،
“When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals,
were you in need of anything?”
“No, nothing, ” they replied.
قال لهم،
“But now one who has a money bag should take it,
and likewise a sack,
and one who does not have a sword
should sell his cloak and buy one.
For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me,
وهي، He was counted among the wicked;
and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.”
Then they said,
“Lord, look, there are two swords here.”
But he replied, “It is enough!”
Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives,
and the disciples followed him.
When he arrived at the place he said to them,
“Pray that you may not undergo the test.”
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling,
he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing,
take this cup away from me;
still, not my will but yours be done.”
And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.
He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently
that his sweat became like drops of blood
falling on the ground.
When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples,
he found them sleeping from grief.
He said to them, “Why are you sleeping?
Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”
While he was still speaking, a crowd approached
and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas.
He went up to Jesus to kiss him.
Jesus said to him,
“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked,
“Lord, shall we strike with a sword?”
And one of them struck the high priest’s servant
and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said in reply,
“Stop, no more of this!”
Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him.
And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards
and elders who had come for him,
“Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
Day after day I was with you in the temple area,
and you did not seize me;
but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.”
After arresting him they led him away
and took him into the house of the high priest;
Peter was following at a distance.
They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it,
and Peter sat down with them.
When a maid saw him seated in the light,
she looked intently at him and said,
“This man too was with him.”
But he denied it saying,
“Woman, I do not know him.”
A short while later someone else saw him and said,
“You too are one of them”;
but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.”
About an hour later, still another insisted,
“Assuredly, this man too was with him,
for he also is a Galilean.”
But Peter said,
“My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.”
Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed,
and the Lord turned and looked at Peter;
and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how he had said to him,
“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.
The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him.
They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying,
“Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?”
And they reviled him in saying many other things against him.
When day came the council of elders of the people met,
both chief priests and scribes,
and they brought him before their Sanhedrin.
They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, ”
but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe,
and if I question, you will not respond.
But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated
at the right hand of the power of God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied to them, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony?
We have heard it from his own mouth.”
Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate.
They brought charges against him, saying,
“We found this man misleading our people;
he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar
and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds,
“I find this man not guilty.”
But they were adamant and said,
“He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea,
from Galilee where he began even to here.”
On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean;
and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction,
he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.
Herod was very glad to see Jesus;
he had been wanting to see him for a long time,
for he had heard about him
and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.
He questioned him at length,
but he gave him no answer.
The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile,
stood by accusing him harshly.
Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him,
and after clothing him in resplendent garb,
he sent him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate became friends that very day,
even though they had been enemies formerly.
Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people
and said to them, “You brought this man to me
and accused him of inciting the people to revolt.
I have conducted my investigation in your presence
and have not found this man guilty
of the charges you have brought against him,
nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us.
So no capital crime has been committed by him.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
But all together they shouted out,
“Away with this man!
Release Barabbas to us.”
— Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion
that had taken place in the city and for murder. —
Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus,
but they continued their shouting,
“Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Pilate addressed them a third time,
“What evil has this man done?
I found him guilty of no capital crime.
Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
With loud shouts, however,
they persisted in calling for his crucifixion,
and their voices prevailed.
The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.
So he released the man who had been imprisoned
for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked,
and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.
As they led him away
they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian,
who was coming in from the country;
and after laying the cross on him,
they made him carry it behind Jesus.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus,
including many women who mourned and lamented him.
Jesus turned to them and said,
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me;
weep instead for yourselves and for your children
for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
‘Blessed are the barren,
the wombs that never bore
and the breasts that never nursed.’
At that time people will say to the mountains,
‘Fall upon us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
for if these things are done when the wood is green
what will happen when it is dry?”
Now two others, both criminals,
were led away with him to be executed.
When they came to the place called the Skull,
they crucified him and the criminals there,
one on his right, the other on his left.
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
They divided his garments by casting lots.
The people stood by and watched;
the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”
It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon
because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
and when he had said this he breathed his last.
The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said,
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened,
they returned home beating their breasts;
but all his acquaintances stood at a distance,
including the women who had followed him from Galilee
and saw these events.
Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
though he was a member of the council,
had not consented to their plan of action.
He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea
and was awaiting the kingdom of God.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
After he had taken the body down,
he wrapped it in a linen cloth
and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
in which no one had yet been buried.
It was the day of preparation,
and the sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind,
and when they had seen the tomb
and the way in which his body was laid in it,
they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils.
Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.
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The Best Discovery EVER! MT 2-12

الإنجيل MT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

كلمات

Sign | Scientists | Studied the Skies | Star | Splash | Sovereign | Son of God | Celebrate

Sometimes we have a clear indication that God is sending us a sign about himself. I think this is one of those times in the Bible that we see people who see God’s signs and respond the right way. This is the lesson of the Gospel today.
The Magi/Wise men from the east were an analog for today’s scientists. They were a combination of philosopher / astronomer / astrologer / professor for ancient cultures and we actually have no clue where they came from or what they actually did. What we do know is that they studied the skies and they saw a star that indicated something so remarkable, it prompted them to leave their homes in the east and travel likely thousands of miles is search of what it pointed to. And something you should know about me, is that when I was a child, all I wanted to be in life was a scientist – and to someday discover something amazing.
Think about that – what would أنت have to see to leave your home and travel on foot/camel/caravan for 1000 miles? It would have to be something pretty amazing! If a friend of yours said that he saw Jesus in Colorado and the only way you had to get there was your bike, would you go?
Although tradition says there were three Magi, again we don’t know if this is right – there could they were 2 or 20. They likely didn’t come alone, but with a whole caravan of people supporting them, which is why they made such a splash when they arrived into Bethlehem. Think about it – if three people wandered into a town, would the mayor of the town know about it? Probably not. But think about the caravan of migrants from central America coming – everyone knew about it. The mayor, the governor, the president. This is likely similar to what Herod was experiencing – a large group was approaching. Were they coming as envoys to a conquering army? Herod had to know why they came, so the Magi were given instant audience with him as the ruler.
I could spend a lot of time on Herod here, but I’m going to chose not to. He’s a pretty terrible fellow and there isn’t much about God we can learn from him… Instead, I’m going to focus on the Magi. They asked:
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Boy – it sounds like they saw a star in the sky, and up and left their home thousands of mile away for the king of the Jews? I don’t think so…
I think they knew the rest of the prophecies about Jesus as well. About how HE would be the one to reconcile the human race with God – THE Messiah.They had the opportunity to discover something that no scientist, astronomer, sorcerer, or wise man had ever seen. God in human form. This is better than Einstein discovering relativity.
THAT would be enough to spur them to the actions they took. It sure would be enough for me. Wow!
Think about it. They are scientists – who thrill in discovery – and they just found the mother lode!
So what do they do when they come face to face with the babe Christ?
  1. They recognize him.
  2. They celebrate!
  3. They worship him.
  4. They present their gifts.
I think this story is a pretty good analogy of how God wants our life’s journey with Him to progress. First, he wants us to look for signs of pointing to Him in our life. When we find those signs, He wants us to drop everything in search of Him, wherever that journey takes us. On our journey, He wants us to ask others about where He might be found. When we find Him, He wants us to recognize him and then wants us to celebrate that we have found Him – Mass is a great way to do this. He then desires that we worship Him, and present Him with our offerings – knowing that our gifts originate from Him, but He delights in our giving, which honors Him.
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Show Me the Way To Go Home

We drove home from Oakland back to San Diego today. I often want to see people on the drive back, but today I just wanted to get home. I think the fact that we all have been a little under the weather is part of the reason we didn’t want to. We even avoided driving to Tahoe for the same reason.

The drive was fairly uneventful and I even was able to get a little bit of work done, which was most helpful. We arrived home and the boys were overjoyed to have their toys and to be able to sleep in their own beds. Me too. I’m tired and wanna go to bed.

That line always makes me think of Lou Monte and a record I grew up with….

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Swinging In the New Year!

While we did not do anything too fancy yesterday for New Years Eve, except watch Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkaban, last night, we did let Sam and Andrew stay up until midnight to ring in the new year for the first time. Then we all promptly went to sleep. 🙂

Today was a fairly relaxed day. Watched the Rose Parade, some football, worked on getting the Catholic Engaged Encounter site for San Diego ready for the people I asked to wait to register. This deployment has taken more time than I expected, but hopefully this week will be the launch week. I don’t see any current issues for the one site.

The nice surprise today occurred while taking a walk on the Montclair Railroad Trail – while I fully expected to climb up to the dirt skate park at the top of the power line hill over Shepherd Canyon Drive with my boys, I didn’t expect Christine to want to try and find a childhood path she knew of. The path took off north and connected us to Zinn/Snake which got us home. On this path, there was a huge rope swing which the boys أحب. Its always neat to find hidden surprises close to home.

On the walk home, Adam asked that I tell him a Friend Dragon story. It always warms my heart when my boys ask for these, because they were stories that my father made up for me. I don’t remember any of his specific stories, but have made some fun stories up for my boys along the way. I started with a story of some of our National Monuments getting stolen, with an idea that we would be stopping space aliens, but Adam just got going with his own ideas. He knew he could help by first getting his Spiderman “Web Flingers” and then needed his Deadpool outfit. His ideas kept coming all the way home. He was so happy to keep telling me his ideas, we got home and he lay down with me, chatting away as I asked if I could take a nap. I’m pretty sure he is a “Quality Time” kid – which would make sense as he has three brothers who all demand time from us.

We wrapped up the day and our stay up here in Oakland with a lovely meal at Victor, Ellen, and Alexandre’s house. Its really nice to have in-laws (father/mother/sister/brother) that you honestly like and appreciate.

And to wrap up my first post of the year, here are my resolutions for 2019.

  1. Learn another language with Duolingo – preparing for our trip this year.
  2. Plan out my week each Monday – I start with a pass as the year started on Tuesday. 🙂
  3. Regularly play guitar – perhaps take lessons. Thomas wants flute lessons too!
  4. Have a disciplined schedule – less late nighters.
  5. Make my bed every morning – because you have to start somewhere….
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Having the Heart of Christ – LK 3:10-18

الإنجيل LK 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.

الأفكار

الكلمات المفتاحية

Heaven | Hear | High Opinion | Have Heart for Others | Hardest | Holy Spirit | Habits

الجنة

Has anyone here thought about heaven? What do you think Heaven is like?

A place to worship God? A place where we get to laugh and smile all the time? A place with great music? A place where we are with those we love and who love us?

We all want to go to heaven. This was no different than in Jesus’ time. When people were coming to the river Jordan to be baptized into a new life, they asked John the Baptist a simple question:

“What should we do?”

Because they wanted to be able to to to Heaven when the savior, the Messiah arrived. What do you think they wanted to hear? I think they wanted to hear John say “You guys are set – I’ve baptized you – you are all good to go.” I think they wanted it easy. Because most of us (and I say us, because the people who came to John in this chapter are just like us – normal folks) have a pretty high opinion of ourselves. We think we do good work. We think we are good people. We want Heaven, but don’t necessarily want to work for it.

Have Heart for Others

John’s answer to each of them spoke to where each person was personally.

  • For the tax collector – be fair in collecting taxes.
  • For the soldier – don’t use your power in ways you shouldn’t.
  • For the person with means – share your wealth with those poorer than yourself, so others are not without basic necessities.

John suggests each of us position our heart for serving others, where it is hardest for each of us. He wants us to be in the habit of thinking where we can use our power to make life better for others.

Remember last week when we spoke about John wanting to make it easier for people to get to God, by leveling mountains and filling valleys? Most of us think that the mountains and valleys that separate us from God are thing that are put in our way. What I want to suggest is that we each have our own self built mountains and valleys which separate us from having a heart that would reflect the Holy Spirit. And each of us has to figure out how to best “level the mountains and fill the valleys.” Or as my son Thomas noted – build elevators to get over the mountains and bridges to cross the valleys. Not only do we have our own obstacles, but the way to overcome those obstacle will be different for each of us.

I have a challenge for each of you and myself as well. And it’s not original. Ask yourself:

“What should I do?”

Not necessarily to be saved or to get to Heaven. But what should I do to have a Heart like Christ. How do I build a habit to better serve those I have power over?

Serve Where It Is Hardest

Think about what is hardest for each of you to do. For me, one of the areas I know I can work on will be to be less reactionary to my boys and to try to understand their motivations in situations before I react.

Now, you might think – but I’m just a kid – I don’t have power over anyone. But you do. You have more power than you imagine. You have the power to make your mom or dad or grandparent’s life easier by helping in unexpected ways – sometimes just by saying please and doing something like bringing them a glass of water. Maybe you and your sister get into arguments and you get angry – being kind and polite in disagreements can be a huge mountain you can get rid of. Sharing that last cookie with your brothers could be a valley you can bridge. Just start by getting in the habit of thinking about others first.

Bringing someone a glass of water or sharing that cookie won’t get you into Heaven – we need to rely on Jesus for that. But serving others with a a Godly intent sure puts our hearts in a place that makes it easier to accept his gift of salvation.

I’m going to close paraphrasing a line that a preacher wrote about this gospel that inspired me for this week’s message:

Participating in God’s kingdom is available to us where we are, requiring only the modicum of faith necessary to perceive the sacred in the ordinary. It is, in short, entirely within our reach.

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Prepare by Practicing for Christ – LK 3:1-6

الإنجيل LK 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

كلمات

Prophet | Preach | Prepare | Path| Practice

درس

John was a نبي and his message was simple:

"إعداد the way of the Lord, make straight his مسارات ....
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Who here likes to prepare for things? Sometimes its fun, right – we are waiting for something in anticipation of something great.

Sometimes it is a lot of work to prepare for things. Do any of you prepare for tests? You have to study hard, because you want to get a good grade. It can take a lot of work.

Do any of you practice for sports? This is a different type of preparation. But again, it is something you work hard at because you want to be great.

During this time of the year, ballet companies are performing the Nutcracker. The dancers in the Nutcracker practice over and over to get their performance perfect.

What are we preparing for right now in Advent?

Christmas! The birth of our savior!

But what do we have to do to prepare for Christmas? Well, we have to buy presents, make meals, set up the tree, put up lights, ornaments, set up the nativity scene….boy, those are a lot of paths that need to be made straight! There are a lot of items to prepare.

The goal is that you want to make things الحق فقط.

But I want you to think of the preparation for Christmas in a different light. Instead of trying to prepare for things in a material way, I want you to practice being like Christ. Instead of working to make things just right, in preparation for Santa Claus. Instead prepare to make things just right for the Christ child.

  • Practice kindness.
  • ممارسة التواضع.
  • Practice love.
  • Practice following Christ’s path.

Because when we do, we are helping to bring Christ’s kingdom to the world..

كل valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Just like John, Christ’s herald and prophet.

Think about the things you love to do in life or things you have to do to be successful. Who here has homework for school? Why do you do it? Because we care about it.

Prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Practice His ways.

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Know the King and Know Truth! JN 18:33B-37

Gospel JN 18:33B-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

كلمات

Arrested / Accused / Authority / Are you King? / Answer / Allegiance

Arrested / Accused

What was Jesus accused of that allowed the Romans to arrest him?

He claimed to be the Messiah! How?

  • He came into Jerusalem on a donkey, with people waving palm branches as foretold
  • He claimed to know the “Father” and be one with Him
  • Claimed to be of the lines of David and the prophets
  • He claimed authority in teaching over the Rabbis

These were blasphemy to the Jews if it wasn’t true – and they didn’t believe it to be true.

Are you the king of the Jews?

Judas and many others wanted Jesus to be a military Messiah – a king who would liberate the Jewish people from the Roman oppressors. When Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, I think it was his way of trying to force Jesus’ hand to begin the revolution. I believe his thoughts were “this will be the catalyst that will get Jesus to lead the Jewish people to overthrow their oppressors.”

سلطان

The Jewish leaders were upset that Jesus was undermining their Authority. This is why they wanted Jesus brought to trial under the Romans. But the Romans would not care if Jesus was undermining the Jewish leaders’ authority. They سوف care that Jesus claimed to be king – under their laws, only Caesar could be king – so this would undermine their rule. This is why they asked Jesus this question and why it was important.

إجابة

What was Jesus’ answer to this question. He didn’t answer directly, but he didn’t deny it. The important thing was Jesus عرف that if denied being king of the Jews, Pilate would have let him go. He probably would have received whippings – which is what they did in those days – but he would have walked away alive. But the Jewish leaders knew that his authority would have been destroyed. An authentic king would never deny his own kingship.

Jesus knew that affirming his kingship would lead to his death sentence. Yet he did.

Allegiances

Jesus certainly was not a normal king. In our world, our kings want to be honored. We pay tribute to these kings. Jesus was a king that wanted to serve. To help those less fortunate. To be comfort to those in need. What a weird king. By giving Jesus our allegiance, we are committing to these principles as well. The whole power structure is upside down. Think of a pyramid – in our world, the king is at the top of the pyramid, on the backs of all of his subject. In Jesus’ kingdom, the king is at the bottom, supporting all of his subjects. And those closest to Jesus support many as well.

I think of Satan as a king of the normal pyramid type. All his subjects are below him. Many people actually like this type of arrangement, because they have people under them that they control. People who server out of fear and control. These people like power, but not the type of power that benefits their subjects, except to the effect that the subjects have people below them to direct and control. These people look out for their own interests. It is a selfish type of power. My wife reminded me of the book by Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss. King Yertle was in control of everyone below him and directed everyone until it all fell apart.

Jesus’s authority comes from the greatest power in the universe – the fact that he is God. At the bottom of an inverted pyramid, he gave his all to serve those who accept Him.

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

The college I went to has a motto “The Truth Shall Set You Free”. This is what Jesus’ kingship means and what He wants for us. To be free from selfishness. Free from deceit. Free from jealousy. Free from sin. To desire the best for all those who depend on us.

This is what our allegiance to Jesus means. Real freedom. Not freedom from rules – free to do whatever we want but a desire to only do what is right.

So testify to the truth. Belong to the truth. And know true freedom.

And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

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The Backstory of Faith – Mark 10:46-52

الإنجيل MK 10: 46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
ابحث عن رحلتك
Bartimaeus | Blind | Beggar | Bothered | Busy| Bold | Brave | Better | Backstory | Belief | Blessing | Belonged to Jesus’

مناقشة

Son of Tholomew?

One of the reasons I like to write these reflections on the gospel is that I enjoy learning all sorts of interesting tidbits and facts. Bartimaeus – a name I would have just shorted to Bart, really means something more. Back in Jesus’ time, it would have been broken up into Bar-Timaeus, where BAR means son – so son of Timaeus.
So the people around Jericho knew this blind beggar as the son of Timaeus. Imagine how hard it must have been 2000 years ago for someone who is blind. There was no support structure for him. There was no braille which would allow him to read. Who knows if his father, Timaeus, was still alive and able to help him. All we know is that Bartimaeus was sitting on the his cloak on the side of the road, unable to see and totally dependent upon the generosity of those passing along the road to give him money to buy food.
As the throng of people following Jesus pass by, Bartimaeus could likely view this as a huge windfall. Lots of people mean lots of shekels which might be given to him. But instead, what we hear from Bartimaeus isn’t “Jesus – will you as well give me some money? Will you tell your followers to give me money if they really care about the poor?” What we hear is Bartimaeus crying out for Jesus. The crowd tries to silence him, saying that Jesus cannot be bothered. This echos the disciples telling the children to leave Jesus alone. But Bartimaeus boldly continues to call for Jesus, over the objection of the crowd. Imagine how brave he had to be – people were likely shouting at him and pushing him to be quiet, and truly Bartimaeus is the least powerful of all people. Yet he continues to cry out until Jesus notices him.
When Jesus speaks to him, he asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus says , “Master, I want to see.”
One of the things our priest, Father Alex, has us say in our prayers is,
“Thank you Lord, That whatever we ask for, according to your will, will shall receive.”
Apparently, Bartimaeus’ request was according to God’s will, because Jesus’ reply was, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” and the son of Timaeus had his eyesight restored.
It’s a nice story about faith, persevering, and blessing, but I think there is a backstory that is pretty important here, that we aren’t told directly.
There used to be a radio broadcaster named Paul Harvey, who would lead off with a short story that sounded mundane – a basic everyday story. Then we would tell “The Rest of the Story”. The Backstory. And all at once, this everyday story would become extra-ordinary.
Being blind, Bartimaeus probably didn’t move too far from his home and stayed near the road where people were travelling on the way to Jerusalem. One of the things we hear about blind people like Bartimaeus is that their other senses are heightened. There is even a superhero named Daredevil, who is able to sense the world better through bat-like radar, because he is blind. So we might imagine that Bartimaeus is really good at listening. We also might guess that he speaks to the travelers passing to get the latest news of what is happening in the world.
In the past three years, he has likely been hearing some incredible things from people travelling along his road. Some dude turning water into wine. Then healing of sick people and lepers. Feeding 3000 people with a few loaves and fish. Raising a dead girl from the grave. At first, he probably thought they were just stories. But as more and more stories came through, it likely started to sound more probably. At some point, someone who Bartimaeus knew and trusted said that he had experienced Jesus’ miracles firsthand. This person might have even suggested to Bartimaeus that Jesus was the Messiah.
Evangelicals call this a Credible witness.
At this point, or maybe after praying about it or speaking with other credible witnesses, Bartimaeus probably decided that Jesus was the Messiah. That he believed in his coming Kingship. So when Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus’ heart was already primed.
He would not be shouted down by a crowd. He wanted to see his Messiah.
And when Jesus gave him what he asked for, did Bartimaeus say thank you and go his own way?
No – he followed Jesus on His journey. My guess is all the way to the cross.
And now you know, (perhaps) the rest of the story….
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The Juxtaposition of following Christ – MK 10:35-45

الإنجيل MK 10: 35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
كلمات
Jerusalem – Journey – James/John – Jump Ahead – Just – Juxtaposition
مناقشة
This is another story from the disciples final trip to Jerusalem. Remember, this is the last trip the disciples made with Jesus. All along the way, Jesus was telling them that he was going to be killed and his death would be the sacrifice that would redeem humanity, but the disciples clearly didn’t get it. In their minds, they were going to Jerusalem and Jesus was going to be crowned king. That’s what the messiah is supposed to do, right? He will storm in like a hero and after he overthrows the Romans, will sit on a thrown to rule justly.
So with this in mind, James and John approach Jesus. Have you ever asked your parents if they would say yes to your next question, trying to trap them into letting you do something? This is what James and John do. It’s actually pretty childish. Then they ask if they can jump ahead of the other disciples, and sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in his kingdom. But it is understandable – we all like to jump ahead. My family just went to Disneyland and we got the Super Max Fast Pass. This allowed us to jump the line to the front, ahead of everyone who was waiting in line. It was great!
Has anyone waited in a long line? It was boring, wasn’t it? Imagine you could jump ahead to the front in everything in life. No waiting ever again! Sit in the front middle seat at your favorite concert! You would always get your food served first! No more lines of cars or traffic. It would be awesome…well – awesome to you at least. What about everyone you cut ahead of? James and John were really only thinking of themselves, not of everyone else. And their fellow disciples felt didn’t think it was right that Jesus might put them in positions of power when they didn’t earn it, so they got angry.
The disciples thought you should have to do the work to win. Study. Train. Exercise. Win people to Christ. It wasn’t fair for James and John to try and trap Jesus into giving them positions of power.
Have any of you ever had someone cut a line in front of you? How did it feel? Has anyone had someone beat them in something because they cheated? There are people who take drugs to cheat to be better at sports. Others put motors in bicycles to win at races. But nobody likes to feel like someone else got to the front of a line or won because they had an unfair advantage over them.
But this is where Jesus throws a curve ball. He says:
“Rather, whoever wishes to be عظيم among you will be your خادم;
whoever wishes to be أولا among you will be the عبد من كل شيء.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
There is this great word – Juxtaposition. It means two things being placed together with contrasting effect. What Jesus tells his disciples is that it may look like James and John are asking for positions of power and that they are jumping ahead, the Christian life is not always what it appears.
Lets look at the verses line by line and see the juxtaposition.
To be first, be last.
To be powerful, serve.
To rule over all, be willing to die.
James and John are oddly asking to be the servant of all – and they don’t even recognize it. What Jesus is saying is that to be great in the kingdom of God, there is no escaping the fact that we have to do the work. Because that is what it really means to be a Christian.
Study well – so you can teach.
Train hard – so others can follow your lead
Serve others – so you can be an example to others
Jesus gives us an example of the Christian life, where the end goal is not greatness, leadership or salvation, but by our service to others, this is given to us by his grace.
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يجب أن يعمل الموظفون على مشاريع شخصية الرئيس؟

تم طرح هذا السؤال في منتدى للأمان واعتقدت أن ردي يستحق إضافته هنا.

ثلاثة أشياء تتبادر إلى الذهن:

1. رحلة الشركة: إذا عرف موظفوك مدى صعوبة عملك ، فراجعوا أنك تعمل معهم ، وتشاركهم رحلة الشركة معهم ، فلن يحسوا بأنك تمتلك أشياء لطيفة. إذا تم التعامل مع موظفيك بشكل عادل ، فسوف يحتفلون معك بأنك حققت بعض النجاح ، وبجهودهم ، يساعدون أيضًا على جعل الشركة ناجحة. ولماذا لا يريد الرئيس أفضل طاقم ممكن - HIS - يعمل في منزله؟

2. ثقافة الشركة: إذا كان لديك موظفين من شأنه أن يحسد نجاحك ، فهل هذا هو حقا الموظف الذي تريد العمل من أجلك على الإطلاق؟ إذا كان لديك هذا النوع من الموظفين ، سأزعم أنه ينبغي السماح لهم بالرحيل على الفور لأنها ستكون سامة لثقافة الشركة في مجالات أخرى كثيرة.

3. Separation of Interests: My feeling is that you should absolutely personally pay your company to have work done. It might feel like like paying yourself, but it allows you to keep the interests of the company separate from the interests of the ownership. Lots of company owners play loosey-goosey with having their employees do work on their personal projects. As a C-Corporation, my understanding is that this is unethical – I’ll leave the legality of it to the lawyers. I’m not sure how this works with S-Corp or LLCs.

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