There are a number of incidents in the Bible where we are privileged with an omniscient point of view. One of them is recorded in John 12:4-8, where Judas denounces Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet with costly spikenard. Not only do we see Judas’ apparent ‘righteousness’ in questioning why the oil was not sold to be given to the poor, we see his evil intentions from Jesus’ all-knowing perspective. Although the gospel of John writes that Judas was a thief, it is likely that no one at the time knew this except for Jesus. What can we learn from the dialogue that ensued?
Judas was being a hypocrite when he criticized Mary’s offering because he did not actually care about the poor at all (Jn 12:6). For this reason, Jesus had a number of ways He could have responded to Judas. Continue reading
Over the past few years, there have been a number of movie releases that would make one believe in the good, humanitarian side of people. We are led to believe that if the world was coming to an end, everyone would lay aside their own interests, join forces, and save the world together.
Say there was a movie plot where one guy had waited longer than anyone else—practically his whole life—to enter a pool with the power to heal any disease. Even though the pool would only have power once in a while and there was a huge crowd of people who needed healing, we would still imagine, or even expect, that the poor fellow would be allowed to go first, based on our altruistic ideals.
Well, this actually happened about two thousand years ago and unfortunately, no one even took notice of this man for thirty-eight years (John 5:2-5). What would you have done if you were him? Continue reading
The central theme in the book of 1 John concerns love and therefore uses a lot of strong language. We all know that we should love one another. But when we don’t, which inevitably happens at some point in our lives, do we look at what the word of God has to say?
John tells us that there are two clear ways to tell if we have fellowship with God, know Him, and abide in Him. The first question is: do we walk in darkness? Our first intuition is probably, “No, of course we don’t walk in darkness.” But John says, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now” (1 Jn 2:9). If we have any inkling of hate in our hearts, just by saying that we are in the light does not mean we abide in the light, but rather we “lie and do not practice the truth” (1:6). These are not easy words to swallow. Continue reading
… that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; (1 Cor 11:23b)
This is the start of a passage we always refer to during the Holy Communion sacrament. For me, this is also the part I never really paid attention to before, since we often focus on the latter part about remembering the Lord’s death and examining ourselves.
In a prayer before the Holy Communion, I had reflected on myself and admit I lamented to God that I felt “tired of forgiving” the trespasses of others. However, this thought came to my mind: “Has the Lord Jesus ever gotten tired of forgiving me? How about the sins of everyone else?” Indeed He has forgiven us more than we could ever forgive another. Continue reading
One time during Bible study, a brother shared this saying: “You can never win with people.” I don’t remember which passage we were studying but somehow what he said stuck to me. He gave the example that a long time ago when he didn’t attend every single church service (i.e. Wed, Fri), some people would talk. But when he started attending all the services, they would ask if he was trying to prove something. I also once heard a pastor tell a story about a mother-in-law, who was always dissatisfied and went to visit her son and daughter-in-law one day. The couple spent days cleaning the house before she arrived but all she had to say when she saw the kitchen was, “What a shame. You two always waste money eating out and don’t even use the kitchen. This house is a waste of money too.”
As I thought about the saying which the brother shared, I was saddened because it is quite true. You can never ‘win’ with people because they will always find something negative to say if they want to. This raises three questions: Why do people always find a way to criticize? Who then can we win with? What’s the point of trying? Continue reading