Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jesus doesn't Wants Us to Hide Behind Masks of Religious Piety (Mark 8:14-21)

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. ‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’ They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? …He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’
(Mark 8:14-18, 21, NIV).

Have pity on Jesus’ disciples. They are like us sometimes. They misunderstood Jesus’ teaching altogether. When Jesus said, “Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod,” their minds are still taken up with everyday physical matters like food, but Jesus was talking about spiritual matters. They could’ve ask Jesus further about what He meant, but instead they discussed the fact that they hadn’t brought enough bread to eat on their trip! But Jesus was warning them against something much more serious than forgetting their picnic basket. Luke, another Gospel writer, gave a more complete account of Jesus’ statement when He said, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). Matthew on the other hand, write that Jesus was talking about “the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:12). So, Jesus was talking about their hypocrisy in conducts and teachings! [Note: Many “that of Herod” or Herodians were also Sadducees]

From my reading of the Scriptures, Jesus hate extremely these two things: unbelieve and hypocrisy. What is hypocrisy? Simply stated, it is pretending to be something or someone you’re not – putting up a front in order to conceal your true identity. The Greek word actually means, “playacting,” originally referred to the Greek dramatists who were famous for their masks (they act using masks). By the time of Jesus, the Pharisees were such accomplished hypocrites that they could have won Malaysia’s Anugerah Drama Festival! Remember what Jesus’ statement about them? “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6). They concentrated on appearing righteous and religious in front of people, but it was only playacting. They were really far from God in their hearts.

Jesus compared hypocrisy to “yeast” or leaven. Why? Because when yeast is added to bread dough, it causes the bread to rise beyond its normal size. Thus, if you study a slice of bread, you’ll find that it is full of holes and empty inside. In the same way, like hypocrisy, even though they appear full and perfect looking on the outside, but in the inside it is full of holes and lots of empty spaces. Jesus had stronger words for the Pharisees and their hypocrisy than any other human condition. Because of their hypocrisy, they become unbelieve to what is obviously true, namely, Jesus’ divinity shows through His miracle (Mark 8:1-13).

If God does not want His people hiding behind masks of religious piety, then, what does He want? Let me suggest, how about being transparent. A transparent Christian is one who is completely honest about him or herself to others and especially to God. People can see right through them – they are not wearing any hypocritical masks. They not trying to act out a role which is different from what they really are. When they are fine, they are fine. But when they sinned against God or against others, they are ready to say, “Forgive me, I’ve done you wrongly” (See how a hypocrite and a transparent-person respond to their sin in Luke 18:9-14). Being transparent is important for Christians. We all blow it on occasion – angry words, hateful deeds, failure and sin. The key to recovery in such situations is not hypocrisy such as think positive thoughts, positive confessions, etc. Don’t pretending! Admitting to God and to your Christian brothers and sisters that you are less than perfect and that you are in need of forgiveness and restoration.

Being a transparent person isn’t easy. That’s for sure. Jesus was the most transparent person who ever walked the earth and He was treated rather badly for it. But it’s the kind of life-style God is looking for in His people. For some of you that might mean humiliation as you apologize to a group of friends for show-off hypocritically and judgmental attitude. Or it might mean embarrassment as you confess to your pastor or friends in the church that you’re still struggle with some particular sins and in need of prayers. Don’t be too concern with what people think of you, what God think about you is all that matter eternally. Be transparent. Don’t “play the role” but “live it like it is.” If you’re transparent and be honest to God, He can do something great in you. Do you understand now?


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Friday, February 5, 2016

Jesus enggau Nuan Maya Ribut Nyadi ba Pengidup Nuan (Mark 4:35-41)

Lemai nya Jesus bejaku ngagai sida murid Iya, ‘Aram kitai ngelayang ke seberai.’ Sida lalu ninggalka orang mayuh, mai Iya enggau sida dalam perau. Perau bukai mega mupuk enggau Iya. Kabut besai nyadi, lalu gelumbang mangka ngagai perau sida datai ke perau nya nyau deka karam. Iya tinduk di kemudi, gali ba panggal. Sida ngerak Iya, lalu bejaku, ‘Pengajar, kati Nuan enda ibuhka kitai nyau deka mati?’ Jesus dani lalu ngerara ribut, lalu bejaku ngagai gelumbang, ‘Teduh! Diau jenuh!’ Ribut lalu teduh, lalu ia nadai agi berumbak. Ku Iya bejaku ngagai sida, ‘Nama kebuah kita takut? Kati kita mengkang enda arap?’ Lalu sida balat takut, sereta belabuh bejaku enggau pangan diri, ‘Sapa orang tu datai ke ribut enggau gelumbang ngasika Iya?’”
(Mark 4:35-41, Bup Kudus Baru).

Sapa orang tu datai ke ribut enggau gelumbang ngasika Iya?” Pia ko bala rasul dalam perau bejaku tentang Tuhan Jesus Kristus. Mula ya sida takut ngagai kabut seta gelumbang, tang udah kabut teduh, sida balat takut ngagai Jesus. Amai besai kuasa Iya. Tu kitai semoa mesti nemu; Jesus tu mensia, iya mega lemi lalu alah laban panas enggau ujan, laban kabut serta gelumbang; tang Iya mega Anak Allah Taala ti ngaga langit enggau bumi, panas enggau ujan, kabut enggau tasik. “Semua utai ti di serega enggau di dunya udah digaga ulih Kristus… ke Kristus” (Kolosi 1:16). Laban Iya mensia, Iya “tinduk di kemudi, gali ba panggal”; laban Iya mega Anak Allah Iya ulih “ngerara rIbut, lalu bejaku ngagai gelumbang.”

Mayuh utai ti kitai ulih blajar ari jaku Tuhan tu. Tu sigi: Perau nya ulih dibandingka enggau pengidup kitai orang Kristian. Bala rasul nya ulih disamaka enggau kitai semoa. “Kabut” tentu bisi, baka utai ti slalu ngacau pengarap kitai ngagai Kristus. Engka “ribut” tu baka orang ti deka nyimpang pengarap kitai ke ugama bukai; baka orang ti enda ngasoh kitai ngajar pengarap Kristian ngagai anak sekolah kitai empu; tauka baka orang politik tik enda peduli ngagai kitai laban pengarap kitai ngagai Kristus. Engka “gelumbang” tu baka orang ti ngajar adat ti enda setipak enggau ajar Injil ti amai lalu mai mayoh orang limping; baka orang Kristian ti enda peduli ka Jako Tuhan agi taja pan sida slalu ngagai gereja; tauka baka apai-indai ti nganuk kitai begulai fellowship enggau gereja bukai. Semua penanggul seta pengirau kitai (lebih-lebih agi pengawa sitan) tu meh baka “kabut” ti deka ngerusakka pengarap kitai.

Dalam semoa tu, anang kitai kurang pengarap! Ingat, Tuhan Jesus Kristus bisi mega dalam “perau” taja pan Iya suah dipeda kitai tinduk (Jesus enggau kitai dalam semoa penusah. Uji kitak perati dalam Jaku Tuhan tu: “Perau bukai mega mupuk enggau Iya.” Sida kebukai sama mega dalam perau serta kabut ngacau sida, tang sida ba perau bukai. Semina orang Kristian aja bisi Tuhan Kristus sama enggau kitai dalam perau). Jesus bekuasa dalam semua pengirau enggau penanggul. “Ribut lalu teduh, lalu ia nadai agi berumbak.” Ko Jesus dalam Injil Matius: “Semua kuasa di serega enggau di dunya udah diberi magang ngagai Aku… Aku deka seruran enggau kita nyentuk ngagai pengujung dunya” (28:18, 20). Anang lelak ngereja ka pengawa Iya. Intu badas mengarap kitai ngagai Iya! Enti kitai didalam Iya ngau Iya didalam kitai, taja pan bisi “kabut besai”, Tuhan Jesus tetap enggau kitai lalu kitai enda nemu karam.

O Tuhan Jesus, suah kami kena mayoh macham kabut enggau gelumbang ba pengidup kami. Lalu suah kami kurang amat pengarap, ngumbai Nuan enda peduli, meda – baka Nuan agi ‘tinduk.’ Tambah ka pengarap kami ngagai Nuan, ngambi ka kami badu kakang ngau takut. Nuan ti bekuasa belama-lama iya. Amen.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jesus left the Unbelievers Behind: Performing Miracle is Not the Way to Him (Mark 8:9-13)

After Jesus had sent [the crowd] away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighted deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.’ Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side
(Mark 8:9-13, NIV).

Strange as it may seem, there were people in Jesus’ day – people who actually saw Him – who wanted more proof that He was the Son of God He claimed to be. Following Jesus’ miracle of feeding the four thousand as recorded in Mark 8:1-9, a group of Pharisees approached Him asking for “a sign from heaven” proving His deity. But Jesus knew that their request for sign was not to prove Him to be the Messiah or Christ, but rather “to test” or “to argue” with Him. They were still trying to find a flaw in Him in order to “kill Jesus” (Mark 3:6). The Pharisees were determined to ruin the ministry of Jesus. They are more eager to disapprove His claims than to be convinced. Perhaps, they thought that the Messiah’s coming was to be announced by some strange signs in the sky.

This text reminds me of how a friendly Ustaz tried to prove to me that Jesus is not the Son of God by pointing to me few verses in the Bible out of contexts. So I showed to him what; 1) Mark, the writer of the Gospel told us about who Jesus is, “the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1); 2) John the Baptist said Jesus “the one who more powerful than I… he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (1:7-8); 3) The Holy Spirit pointed to Jesus when “the Spirit descending on him like a dove” (1:10); 4) God the Father proclaimed about Jesus from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (1:11); 5) The evil spirits feared Him and said, “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” (1:24); 6) A paralyzed man was healed both physically and spiritually because Jesus said “Son, your sins are forgiven” (2:5); 7) Jesus Himself claimed to be God when He said, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (2:28); 8) Again, the evil spirits cried out to Jesus, “You are the Son of God” (3:11); 9) The wind and the waves – nature – obeyed Jesus when He said, “Quiet! Be still!” (4:38); 10) One more time, the evil spirits begged Jesus and knees in front of Him, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (5:7); 11) Jairus’ daughter was dead, but when Jesus said “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” (5:41), she resurrected to life!; 12) The miracle of feeding the five thousand (Mark 6) and four thousand (Mark 8), Jesus multiplied and created bread and fish out of nothing like God; and many more. Only from chapter 1 to chapter 8 there are 12 proofs of Jesus’ deity! “Ustaz,” I said, “Let me pay for the food.” He was so kind, he paid it in advance.

Jesus “sighted deeply” when He heard the sarcastic remarks of the Pharisees. One commentator writes, “No matter what Jesus might do, they would not accept it as sufficient evidence because they did not want to believe.” Not because there were not enough proofs (I only pointed 12 proofs here) or because the proofs were unclear, but people – the unbelievers – don’t want to believe. They choose to reject Jesus. If you also a not-yet-believer, pray for the Holy Spirit to open your heart and convince you of the reality of the divinity of Jesus, the Son of God. Don’t harden your heart! Don’t be like Voltaire who said, “Even if a miracle should be wrought in the open market place before a thousand sober witnesses, I would rather mistrust my senses than admit a miracle.” To this kind of people, Jesus simply replied, “Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”

I like how Jesus responded. He simply won’t entertain the unbelievers (on the other hand, Jesus welcome even encourage truth-seekers who really want to know the truth), say “no” and “then he left them.” Cool! Jesus was not coming to earth to convince people to come to him by performing miracles; He can do much greater miracles! He came to invite people to come to Him in faith, and as a response to their faith, He performed great miracles. Do you doubt Jesus of the Bible because you haven’t seen a miracle? Do you require “a sign from heaven” to prove Himself to you personally before you believe? I believe in miracle. But the most accessible “miracles” of God are here for us to examine: the recorded miracles in the Old and New Testaments, the two thousand years of church history, and the witness of thousands upon thousands of true Christians around the world today (around you and from the Internet world). Don’t harden your heart! This is what Jesus said after His resurrection: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Amen.


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