Thursday, March 7, 2013

FRIDAY, MARCH 08, 2013 - LENTEN WEEKDAY - MARK 12: 28 - 34

1. Christ silences everyone through his mind-blowing answers. All the attempts to discredit Him had failed. Now the Pharisees and Sadducees were threatened and felt insecure at the growing popularity of Jesus. They somehow want to trap Him.

2. One such final attempt is made by the one who was most brilliant and well versed in the law, a lawyer or a scribe. However there was something brilliant about this lawyer that the others did not know. Apparently his heart had been touched by Christ. There are two indications for this.

·         First Mark tells us that the man was present when Christ was debating with the Sadducees (Mk 12:28) and he noticed that Jesus had given them a good answer.

·         Secondly at the conclusion of his own discussion Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” Mk.12:34). This indicates that the lawyer had been in deep thought about Christ and was under conviction.

3. The Pharisees were trying to turn the people against Jesus. People differed as to what the greatest commandment was. Some believed that it had to do with circumcision, others with sacrifices, and still others with the Sabbath. The Pharisees hoped that by stating His opinion, Christ would disturb the people who held a position different from His. He would thereby lose their following.

4. Love is human beings’ chief duty. Every human being is responsible to maintain a loving relationship with God. Very practically, loving God involves the very same factors that loving a person involves.

5. Love with all your ‘Heart, Soul and Mind’

· Heart: the seat of people’s affection and will. The heart attaches and focuses our will and devotion. The heart causes us to devote ourselves to either good or bad things. Christ says we are to love God “with all our heart” We are to focus our heart, our affection and our will upon God.

· Soul: (psuche): the seat of peoples’ breath and life or consciousness which distinguishes human from other beings. We are to love God with all the breath and consciousness all the life and awareness, we have.

· Mind: the seat of reasoning and understanding. God has given intellectual powers to human beings. He/she thinks, reasons, and understands. Christ says that our minds and thoughts are to be centered upon God.

As many of us would agree, the most used and misused word is love. The beautiful phrase ‘I love you’ is used by people for both nobler purpose and for one’s selfish motives. It is always good to take inspiration from Thomas Aquinas who defined love as ‘wanting the good of the others’. · A loving relationship involves commitment and loyalty. True love does not allow lustful behavior with others. A loving relationship involves trust and respect for the person loved. One should love the other person, just for who he/she is. A loving relationship involves the giving and surrendering of oneself. The drive is to give oneself to surrender oneself to the other not to conquer others. A loving relationship involves knowing and sharing. The desire is to know and to share, learning, growing, working, and serving ever so closely together.



The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible

Monday, March 4, 2013


1. The Rabbis taught that people should forgive those who offered them – but only 3 times. Peter trying to be especially generous, asked Jesus if seven, the perfect numbers was enough times to forgive someone. But Jesus answered ‘seventy seven times’ meaning that we should not even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.

2. Old Testament references of number 7

With Peter’s offer to forgive seven times may compare the following.

Gen 4: 15 – sevenfold vengeance upon Cain’s murder

Lev 16 – there is sevenfold sprinkling of blood for the sins of the people

Lev 26: 18 – I will chastise you again sevenfold for your sins

Prov 24: 16 – a righteousness man talks 7 times and rises again.

3. 10,000 Talents: Ten thousand talents: A talent was a very high measure of money, worth between six thousand and ten thousand denarii, when on denarius was a day’s pay (20:2), so ten thousand talents is an astronomical sum (like a billion dollar for us), a debt so large that the servant could never repay it. (See 18:26) This huge sum must represent the total revenues of the province and the debtor must have been a high and trusted official.

4. A hundred denarii: Compared to the debt of ten thousand talents, this was a small sum that could easily be paid back if the servant had showed patience. His treatment of the fellow servant is contrasted with King’s merciful treatment.

5. At the cruel treatment of the servant, the fellow servants were very sorry. They go and ask for justice to the king. The sins of the others will cause real sorrow to the true Christian; he/she will grieve over the hard-hearted and impenitent as the Lord wept over Jerusalem.

Forgiveness is a virtue nice to talk about but difficult to practice. We are talking about forgiving 70 times and odd, but we generally find difficult to forgive even once. With one experience of betrayal we turn bitter and condemn even our close friends for life time. Jesus did not only preach on forgiveness but practiced the virtue throughout his life and the climax of his forgiveness was when he forgave his executioners from the cross. Let us slowly start forgiving those who have hurt us, be it our family members, relatives, friends or enemies. If God is ready to forgive all our sins unconditionally, are we not obliged to forgive the little offences our friends commit?



International Critical Commentary

Anchor Bible Series

Life Application Bible

Sacra Pagina Series

The Pulpit Commentary

Sunday, March 3, 2013



1.      The passage reveals God’s boundless compassion as he continues to send prophets to a rebellious people. We see this pattern throughout the Scripture, a) rebellion and killing of the prophets b) punishment c) mercy through sending of new prophets d) sin and rejection of prophets.

2.      Jesus highlights God’s mercy for non chosen, needy people through the prophets Elijah (1 Kings 18:1) and Elisha (1 Kings 17:9). We see how God is universal in His approach also in showing mercy to men and women equally.

3.      Jews were angry mainly because Jesus favoured Gentiles.  The Jews were so sure that they were God’s people and believed that Gentiles were created to be fuel for the fires of hell. They could not tolerate Gentiles being praised by Jesus.

4.      In the past God had not given His mercy to people who just thought they were ‘God’s people, but God had given His mercy to those whose hearts were turned toward Him and who accepted Him.

5.      Familiarity with Jesus became a liability; since he was forced into a preconceived framework. Always outsiders have the advantage. For it is just this kind of familiarity and set of pre-conceptions that have been responsible for Jewish unbelief in the gospel and it made the Gentiles more objective in their understanding.

‘Unbelief is a sin that locks up the heart of a sinner and binds up the hand of the savior’ (Flavel) ‘Unbelief is an impediment to the performance of miracles. People did not believe in Jesus Christ because he was a carpenter’s son but this carpenter was of the house and lineage of David – His mother Mary by descent a princess of the great house of David. People do change but our mentality does not. We never change our first impression of things, this leads to a lot of problems when it comes to living together. Families break, communities shatter because of the prejudice we carry. We are in no way different from the people of Nazareth. We will continue to lock the hands of Jesus from working miracles as long as we lack deeper faith and trust in God.

The Pulpit Commentary
The Word Biblical Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series

Saturday, March 2, 2013


1. Some shared with Jesus the latest news of a horrible massacre. Pilate had attacked some Galileans in the midst of their worship in the temple and slaughtered them. The crowd was being harsh and making a very harsh judgment on these Galileans. They thought that their fate was due to their sins. They saw everything as the fulfillment of what Jesus was preaching all these days.

2. Jesus clearly refuted their thoughts. He warned them of the same fate and did not really approve their understanding of the tragedy. Jesus did not connect suffering with sin. He narrated another story to make them understand that sin alone is not the cause for the suffering. If that is the case, all of us should be constantly suffering due to our sins.

3. People must bear fruit or else they shall perish. Jesus wanted to drive home the need for repentance by sharing the parable of a man’s seeking fruit. The man represents God; the vineyard keeper represents Christ; the vineyard represents either the world or Israel.

4. The fig tree was greatly privileged. It was planted in the vineyard. It had the same soil, nourishment, rain and sun from heaven. This is true of all persons who are born in nations where the gospel is freely preached. But there is a great responsibility on the part of these privileged ones. 

5. Who were the Galileans slaughtered by Pilate? Two suggestions are made about the Galileans. First they were followers of Judas of Galilee who opposed taxation imposed by the Romans (Acts 5:37). Pilate either knew that some of Judas’ followers were in the temple worshipping or mistook some group of Galileans as his followers and slaughtered them. This is much known. Pilate set out to build a new water system in Jerusalem. He need money for that and so insisted that money be taken from temple finances. Galileans were an inflammable people and therefore their protest might have caused this tragedy.

We cannot think of buying a piece of land today as the prices have gone very high and today owning a piece of land means a lot to an individual. Everywhere we see flats and apartments. Why is this demand? People want to occupy more and more space for themselves. The basic question we need to ask ourselves is ‘what is the purpose of my living’? If I do not contribute positively for the welfare of my fellow human beings we would be just occupying space like the fig tree wasting the soil. Our life here on earth is not to occupy space only for ourselves but to create space for others to live. If my whole world is ‘I, Me, Myself and Mine’ we would be wasting the space we have occupied and leave the world doing nothing   


Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

William Barclay’s New Daily Study Bible