Monday, January 22, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

JESUS : The Great Guru
 Luke 4:31-44
Vs. 32. “ They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.”
Luke chapter 4 gives a vivid picture of Jesus’ authority, authority over the evil powers, authority as the son of God and authority as the light to the world
In Jesus’ time, people were familiar with many Rabbis who were teachers and interpreters of the law. In fact, they were blind guides. They gave burdens and bondage rather than freedom and light. But in Jesus, people saw a teacher, healer and deliverer who transcends all the popular understanding of a Rabbi. He taught with authority, he had authority to change the desperate human conditions of bondage to sin and sickness. His presence itself was one of giving hope. Thus he can be called a ‘guru’ though Jesus was much higher than a ‘guru’ in the sense that he practiced what he taught. He was a guru who walked the talk.
 The healing and teaching ministry of Jesus given in chapter 4 is the Nazareth Manifesto in action. God in the creation ordered ‘Let there be light’. The presence of Jesus itself is bringing light to the dark and grief stricken world. The authority of Jesus as a guru can be seen in the following areas.
 Authority to free.
Who needs freedom? The answer is ‘everyone’. As Rousseau once said, “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”, we are under bondage though we think that we are free. Bondage especially under evil or sin is helplessness and hopelessness.
In the synagogue the man with an unclean spirit confronts Jesus. The spirit asks Jesus not to disturb or destroy them and they proclaim that he is the son of God. The man, who is affected is not talking, instead the evil spirit is talking to Jesus. The evil makes our God-given humanity hidden or silent. The control of evil spirit can be interpreted as any element that adversely affects our life from the inside out (addictions, bad influences, mental disorder etc.). The pronoun used by the evil spirit is ‘us’ points to the man’s multiplicity of bondages under evil (v 34).
Jesus’ response was "be silent" and “come out of the man." In his presence evil has no right to speak because he only has authority and his authority was to set free from darkness. He voluntarily takes the initiative and heals the man. His action reveals Jesus’ compassion towards the helpless people.
 Authority to heal (vs.38-41)
 Simon’s mother in law was sick. Jesus rebuked the fever and it left her immediately. Healing in Simon’s house is accounted in Mark and Matthew also. There Jesus healed by touching Simon’s mother in law (Matthew 8.14-15, Mark 1.31).In Luke’s gospel it  is written that Jesus rebuked the fever (v 38,39).The command is expressed by the greek word "epitimesen", the word just used to address the raging storm (Luke 8.24).This shows Jesus’ authority to order everything, whether it is living or non-living. When he commanded the fever to leave, she immediately got up and served them.
 Authority to teach (vs. 42-44)
People followed Jesus wherever he went. They were amazed by his teaching.  His teaching inspired people because of its authority and newness. For them his words was the light which liberates them from the darkness of ignorance into the revelation of God’s kingdom. In Indian Culture,Guru means the one who dispels darkness and leads to light. The syllable ‘gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means he who dispels it. So Jesus can be called a guru, an eternal guru of hope, order and light to the world.
 If we observe Jesus’ ministry, we can see that it is everywhere. in the home, in the synagogue, in the wilderness,  in the cities etc. Jesus rebuked the people who tried to limit his ministry to the small area of Capernaum.
 Through Jesus, the kingdom of God entered into the world with authority. As we are part of the same kingdom. we have to continue the work of the kingdom by involving, participating and leading the work to liberate, to console and to give light in this world. Are we really under his authority?
 PRAYER
God, in your light, lead us to the light and the truth so that we will be able to lead others. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
As Christians, how far are we able to practice what we preach?

Rev. Binu Thomas, Kurichimuttom St. Johns MTC, Edayaranmula
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church