Sunday, December 26, 2010


In ancient biblical times, when a king went to war, his highest definition of victory was that his enemies die brutally whether in the intensity of battle or in surrender to his superior forces. But Christ went to battle with a different strategy. He attained victory in the opposite way, by instead laying down His life in surrender to His enemies. This was not to be assumed that He commanded an inferior army to any possible threat that would arise against Him. His surrender was not one of weakness. He made it clear that, “No one takes it (His life) from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).
Even during His arrest, Christ confirmed the capacity of the military potential at His disposal. He retorted, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). A Roman legion was composed of 6,000 soldiers hence for 12 legions Christ was referring to more than 72,000 angels. It is interesting to ponder the might of such an army considering that in 2Kings 19:35, a single angel killed more than 185,000 men in a single night. Christ was simply pointing out that He was the ‘Lord of Hosts’ (the familiar Old Testament title that refers to Christ as the commander-in-chief of the heavenly army of angels) who could never lose a battle of any nature! His supernatural artillery was simply beyond human comprehension.
On the other hand, in very pale and sharply contrasting comparison, Judas, His disciple who eventually betrayed Him, had “received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, [and] came there [where Jesus was] with their lanterns and torches and weapons” (John 18:3). A Roman cohort normally comprised only about 600 troops, and in this case, mere men (with lanterns, torches and manmade weapons), unlike Christ who had multitudes of angels with unmatched supernatural ability at His ready command.
Yet Christ surrendered to the cohort, because in His words, “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:54). But more than fulfillment of the Scriptures, this was one of the greatest displays of Christ’s extraordinary humility and submission; that the all-powerful willingly stooped low and surrendered to the all-powerless. He surrendered because according to His words, “This charge I received from the Father” (John 10:18). His surrender was influenced by His submission to GOD the Father’s will.
Ironically, it is through surrender and not attack that Christ achieved the greatest ever victory for mankind that no man before or after him, wielding any or all forms of power known to man, ever could - eternal life through salvation by faith in Him alone. Beyond the irony, what a glorious moment it will be when He finally returns for those who believe in Him according to His promise that, “The Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him” (Matthew 25:31). With this assurance, we anxiously await the Second Coming of our eternal and victorious Commander-in-Chief, with His heavenly army marching behind Him.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

He defiled Himself... for me

The encounter with the Samaritan woman was one of the most significant incidents in Christ’s earthly ministry (TASKER, 1960:80). It best illustrates the depths that Christ stooped to accept us and save our souls.
It is interesting that on His way to Galilee, Jesus, being a Jew, traveled through Samaria (John 4:4), despite the fact that any contact a Jew had with a Samaritan was considered defiling under Jewish Law (TENNEY, 1981:54). Further, Samaritans were historical enemies of the Jews because during the time of Nehemiah they opposed the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall (Nehemiah 4:1-2).
As if these two factors weren’t bad enough, Jesus, widely regarded as a Teacher of impeccable integrity, stopped along the way to have a one-on-one chat with a woman, which was taboo; even worse, the woman was a Samaritan.
It still gets worse, the woman was sexually immoral, the type of woman whom King Solomon, the wisest man ever on earth, warned us to avoid like the plague because of her sting (Proverbs 5:1-8). In fact the only reason this woman went to the well alone to fetch water at noon in the scorching sun instead of the morning with other women is probably because she was censured due to immorality. So under the Jewish microscope, Jesus couldn’t have defiled Himself worse than this, even if He tried!
But such is the love of Christ. He touched or was touched by the ‘unclean’ (YANLEY, 1995:153). He even became “[the sacrifice for] sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of GOD in Him“ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What power this love has in its effect on our lives, enabling us to bear fruit to His glory (OWEN, 2006:32); because it is by tapping a Samaritan woman who had been through five husbands, that Jesus led a spiritual revival (YANLEY, 1995:154). Through this woman, Christ singlehandedly evangelized an entire city. A city filled with people who had stigmatized her, yet when she had come to the saving knowledge of Christ, she couldn’t hold her experience back, not even from those she would have considered her enemies.
It is undoubtedly amazing grace that the type of woman Solomon warned could bring death to a man, is the same type of woman Christ touched to bring life to an entire city! It is no wonder that here for the first time in His earthly ministry, and ironically among the Gentiles (non-Jews), that Christ is hailed as the “Savior of the World” (John 4:42).

·        OWEN, J. 2006. The Glory of Christ. London: Grace Publication Trust
·        TASKER, R.V.G. 1960. John. An Introduction and Commentary. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
·        TENNEY, M.C. 1981. John. (In_Gaebelein, F.E., ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 9. Michigan: Zondervan)
·        YANLEY, P. 1995. The Jesus I Never Knew. Michigan: Zondervan

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

When Duty Calls

If I could wish for a better world,
Then who will empty this one of its sorrow?

If I could wish for a better day,
Then who will fight in this one for a better tomorrow?

If I could wish for a better brother,
Then who will set an example for this one to follow?

If I could wish for a better job,
Then who will dare apply for this one to avoid a go-slow?

If I could wish for a better church,
Then who will preach Christ in this one to the lonely at the over-flow?

If I could wish for better security,
Then who will stand for this weak one and shield him with his elbow?

If I could wish for better light,
Then who will shine in this darkness and leave an after-glow?

If I could wish for greener pasture,
Then who will cultivate Africa for our children to grow?

If we continue to live in ignorance,
Then surely… who will leave behind knowledge our children can borrow?