Friday, April 26, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Gospel to the Estranged

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

What is gospel? The Gospel is the teaching of the revelation of Christ, the absolute truth. And the word estranged means no longer close or affectionate, the alienated.

            The word Pharisee in Hebrew means “the separated ones.” These were a group of people that were known to be very pious. They knew the word and kept the law. But when the word came to them they hardened their hearts and were too blind to accept the word. Little did they know that the prophecies were being fulfilled right in front of their eyes? They were so strict on following the law that it drew them further and further away from God. Not only did they separate themselves from God, but they also separated themselves from other people.

Are we like the Pharisees? Are we simply following a set of rules? Some people believe that being a Christian is simply following a set of rules and regulations. When you look at the Old Testament, you could see that God did give a Law which laid down the instructions from the type of food you could eat all the way to how people could be punished. All of these rules had to be followed because it affected your position before God. However, Jesus came down and taught us something that was more important than the Law. What is the greatest commandment in the Bible? Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40]. The Pharisees (“the separatists”) tried to trap Jesus with these words, but Jesus gave it right back to them. Jesus calls us to love the Lord God first and then to also love our fellow brothers and sisters.

We live in a world that is full of lies, temptation and sin. The media has welcomed lust, greed, pride and hatred and has placed all of this in the mainstream. As the years go by our world is becoming more and more accepting of these evils. In essence, our world is shifting away from the light. In these dark times, many have fallen away and have joined with the side of the world. Christ called us out of the darkness to share the gospel to the estranged. He equips us with the light (the truth) to dismantle the darkness (lies of the world). Our world and the people around us have separated themselves from God. It is now up to us to bring the truth to them. As in any relationship, it requires work. Just as God constantly chases after us, we must put in the time and effort to build our relationship with God. In the same way we need to bring the truth to the world. Remember the greatest commandments.

PRAYER: Dear Lord God, we thank you for revealing the truth to us. Many times in our lives we separate ourselves from you, especially when we allow sin to enter our hearts. Yet, you always chased after us and showered us with your grace and your blessings. Help us to be like you so that we may reflect your light in this world. All this we ask in your name. Amen.
 
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
Anish Mammen, Long Island MTC