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Holy Week / Lent Devotions

ANSWERING QUESTIONS OF SKEPTICS AND SEEKERS THE JESUS WAY


A Duke Jeyaraj Passion Week Tuesday Meditation

On the Tuesday of the Passion Week, Jesus answered a series of questions (at least five). From the way he tackled these questions we learn rich lessons on handling questions from skeptics and seekers.

1. Use UNFORGETTABLE IMAGERY & STORY while answering the Question.

Jesus talked about the “moving mountains” while answering the question, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” (Matt. 21:20-22). Jesus told parables (stories with a message) when he was asked questions (see Matt. 21:35-41). In Matt. 22:4-14 Jesus narrated another parable in response to a question during Passion Week Tuesday. When someone asks you, “Is there a God?”, respond this way, “Can 1000 monkeys sitting on a typewriter produce a dictionary?”

2. Sometimes you need to ASK A QUESTION in response to a Question.

Jesus retorted with another question when the chief priests and elders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things?” (Matt. 21:23-22:14). This question concerning their disobedience to John’s call for repentance and baptism stumped them! To those who question you about the faith you need to believe in a God, retort, “Do you think that you do not need any faith not to believe in a God?” To those who ask you about, “What happens to those who have never heard of Jesus?” ask this question, “Why, do you want to go as a missionary to them?” before giving a serious answer.

3. Use the question to address IMPORTANT ISSUES which may benefit the questioner.

When answering the question, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus took the opportunity of teaching this: Since we are made in God’s image, we must give our whole lives to Him! (Matt. 22:15-22). In other words, go beyond mere answering of the question into evangelism. If someone asks, “Why is Jesus the only way in a world of many faiths?” we should not only be able to answer that question but also issue an evangelistic call as the Spirit leads us to.

4. Encourage hearers to go back to the BIBLE when answering the question.

The Bible is the ultimate answer to every question. Jesus knew this. So when he was asked, “Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be of the seven (dead brothers married to the same women, one after the other), since all of them were married?” (Matt.22:23-33), he shot back, “Have you not read….”(Matt. 22:31). “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures…” Jesus charged (Mk. 12:24).

5. DIRECTLY answer the question, instead of beating about the bush.

To the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the the Law?” Jesus gave a direct practical answer ((Matt. 22:34-40). When people ask you, “Is Jesus the only way to heaven?” say, “Yes, He is and he has given us considerable proof for that like his sinless life, fulfillment of prophecy and amazing claims to divinity….”

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people supported by those who read his writings and hear his messages. Find out more about this ministry by visiting www.dukev.org or by liking www.facebook.com/googleduke. Duke’s message videos are hosted on http://www.youtube.com/c/visitduke).

Categories
Holy Week / Lent Devotions

THE POOR WIDOW JESUS MET ON PASSION WEEK WEDNESDAY: A WINDOW ON WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ON GIVING


A Duke Jeyaraj devotion on an event that took place on the Wednesday of the Passion Week

On the Wednesday of the Passion week, Jesus appreciated the widow who put in two coins into the temple treasury (Mk 12:41-44). This widow serves as a window for me to learn about the discipline of giving from the Bible. From this poor widow story we can learn the following rich lessons on giving:

1) NO ONE IS EXEMPT FROM THE CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE OF GIVING – This was a poor widow who gave. She could have thought to herself: “I am a widow. The church is supposed to take care of me. Why should I give?” But she did not do that. She gave.

No one is exempt from giving. Even those in the fulltime ministry must give unto the Lord. The Levites had to give ‘a tithe of the tithe’, the Bible teaches (Num 18:26). Though, Evan and I, are in the fulltime ministry and live by faith, we give to our local church and the denomination it is associated with. We give to bless the ministries of other servants of God – those not related to us in any way. And we do that, by God’s grace, regularly. You may not have a job, but you need to still give to God. You may just have a small salary, but you still need to give towards the Lord’s work. You may be sinking because of a loan, but you need to still give to the Lord.

2) WHAT MATTERS IS NOT HOW YOU GIVE, BUT WHAT IS LEFT BEHIND – Your monthly salary may be 100,000. And you may feel greatly elated about giving 1000 to the Lord’s Work. But the Lord is more impressed with the person who gives 1000 even when that person only earns 5000 a month. “Give God what is right – not from what is left behind” – someone rightly said. Jesus said this about the widow under observation in this article: “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on!” (Lk 21:4). What would be Jesus’ comment upon our giving disciplines? It is time for some serious introspection.

3) THERE IS NO PROMISE OF A REWARD, ALWAYS, WHEN WE GIVE TO GOD. Jesus, did NOT talk about a reward for this giving widow in this passage. To give to God is such a joy – and we don’t need to be coaxed to do that with a promise of a reward. Elsewhere, Jesus said, And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward (Matt. 10:42).

I recall that I gave just Rs.100 for my local church’s youth project and immediately God blessed me back with 100 times that amount! But I don’t give to multiply my wealth. I give because I am grateful to God. No matter how much I give, it is never more than what I have graciously received from him.

(Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this article, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people supported by those blessed by his messages and writings. Find out more by visiting www.dukev.org or liking www.facebook.com/dukebook. You may choose to like Duke’s videos at http://www.youtube.com/c/visitduke).

Categories
Holy Week / Lent Devotions

THE SHATTERING SATURDAY BETWEEN GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER!

Duke Jeyaraj brings out devotional thoughts from the events of the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter

During Passion Week Saturday – the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter – the Bible records three events took place:

1. The SEALING – The tomb Jesus was buried in was sealed and a guard posted to gaurd the tomb following a bizarre request of Jewish Leaders (Matt.27:62-66). When they went to Roman Governor Pilate with a request to seal Jesus’ tomb, the Jewish Leaders called Jesus a “deceiver” (Matt. 27:63).

Everyone in this world has to call Jesus by some name: some may call him “deceiver”, some call him a mere “do-gooder”, and still others call him “divine”. When we study the claims of Jesus and the proofs he offered for these claims (sinless life, prophecies fulfilled, etc) we have no option but to call him “divine”. He is the ONLY way to God, he said (John 14:6). And he was God himself in flesh and bone (John 1). What is your title for Jesus?

2. The SLEEPING – I use the word “sleeping” to refer to rest here. The women who witnessed Jesus’ death “rested on the Sabbath” in obedience to the Commandment (Luke 23:56).

As New Testament Christians we do not have to follow the ritualistic aspects Mosiac Law of Sabbath (Heb. 8:13). But, nevertheless, we must take rest following the example of Jesus who told his followers, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). If we don’t rest enough, there is always the danger of a burnout. While we must all get enough sleep, the Bible tells us that we must not “love” sleep (or shall be say, over-sleep) (Prov. 20:13). Do you over-sleep during the Corona Virus lockdown?

3. The SHOPPING – The Sabbath is celebrated “evening to evening” (Lev. 23:32). The Sabbath of those times were observed from 6 PM Friday to 6 PM on Saturday. Post 6 PM on Passion Week Saturday, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome went shopping! They bought spices so that they can carry it to Jesus’ grave the following day early morning (Mark 16:1). They did not want to go to Jesus’ presence empty-handed. They wanted to give something to Jesus. They perhaps followed God’s instructions in the Old Testament: None shall appear before me empty-handed (Ex. 23:15).

Do you prepare in advance when it comes to giving God? Or do you simply fish out the whatever pittance in your pocket and give it to God and His servants? Let’s learn from these women! Why not plan in advance to give God? Scheduling a monthly Bank transfer to a ministry you feel lead to support, over and above what you give to your local church, is one way of preparing to give! What will you give God today? Will you give him your time, talent, and treasure?

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people. This ministry is supported by Indians who read Duke’s writings and hear his messages. Find out more about this ministry by liking www.facebook.com/dukebook or visiting www.dukev.org)