Posts Tagged ‘disciples’

First Sunday of Epep | Sending of the Seventy Apostles

Written by Fr. Louka Sidarous on . Posted in Sunday Contemplations

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“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others.” (Luke 10:1)

Before these appointments, the Lord was calling on a lot of different persons to spread His word. Through these calls He revealed the obstacles which would hinder them and hold the soul from being released into missionary.

  1. One told Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” (Luke 9:57). The Lord toldhim, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58). Those are the ones that want to follow Jesus to capitalize either from a position, fame, monetary or temporary profits. Those fail the call, they are not blessed and they have no share in the kingdom.
  2. He told another, “Follow Me.” (Luke 9:59). But that person answered, “Lord, suffer me first go and bury my father.” (Luke 9:59). So Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60). These are the ones who worry about the dead body, and prevent it from seeking the salvation of the Spirit. They stop it from service and paralyze it from moving towards the kingdom.
  3. Also, another said, “Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell, who are at my house.” (Luke 9:61). So Jesus told him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). Those are the ones that want to follow the Lord and serve, but their hearts and feelings could not let go of the past. These also are not fit for the kingdom’s work. For they would be without fire or the spiritual activity… All these kinds first asked for something else other than the kingdom. They prefer what is for the people more than what’s for God.
  4.  He told them, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37, 38). Even if the Lord would have appointed seventy in one day, this will still stand true “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. (Matt. 9:37), and will stand, so that they would always remember that the work is greater than them, greater than their efforts, and to always keep their hands towards the Lord asking for help… Such that they would not think, that they alone are fit for the work. He told them, “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:38).

“Go your ways: behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack…” (Luke 10:3,4). The

These were the words which Jesus told the seventy apostles to preach. The Lord told the Jewish teachers, “For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those that are entering to go in.” (Matt. 23:13). Their lives have been impoverished with their teaching, placing heavy and cumbersome burden on the people who could not withstand them. But for Jesus’ Apostles, their lives open the gates of heaven before mankind. Their behavior declares that they are the sons of the Kingdom… Their hardship preaches the wealth and generosity of the Kingdom… missionary for Jesus must follow the facts of life. When preaching about Jesus the savior of the World and the rescuer of the oppressed, then they are preaching about He who saves the lambs from among the wolves. When they talk about Jesus, they talk about He who gives the blessing and the provider of life to the world. For He is their purse and scrip, their peace and the force that defends them… For them Jesus is every thing… He is self sufficient… This is how they preached, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” (2 Cor. 3:5). “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7)

Their death from the world carries only one meaning, that there is a better life from the ordinary one. Their path is a clear witness for the Kingdom of God. It attracts every soul. It relishes the desire to enter God’s Kingdom.

“But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.” (Luke 10:5).

Jesus gave His disciples a special peace, saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). His peace dwelled in them. Therefore, they kept on providing peace wherever their legs took them… For Jesus’ peace means His presence in person, because He is our peace. Therefore, when the disciples give peace, they are actually presenting Jesus, who is present within them and in them. This is what the Lord told them, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejrcts Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16). The acceptance of Jesus’ word is accepting Him personally. When accepting the word of peace and the reconciliation, it directly brings us into the peaceful status with God in our Lord Jesus Christ. The seventy disciples returned with joy saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17).

The preaching about Jesus destroys Satan’s kingdom and shakes his thrown and liberates those in bondage like lightning. No work under heaven is greater than these colossal projects. All great charitable works are nothing when compared to the salvation of one from Satan’s kingdom… “Then shall the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43). Satan doesn’t worry about charities, he is not defeated by the power of mankind, but his kingdom is only shaken by the preaching in the name of Jesus and the entrance into a partnership, with the power of the Holy Spirit and its work in the church. “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).

The disciples rejoiced saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17). So Jesus told them, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20). No doubt that casting demons, performing signs and the fruits of service… etc., makes the soul rejoice and gives hope to those walking on the road of death. But the true and continuous source of joy, is that our names are written in heaven. Our baptism, our second birth and unity in Christ are the reason for the endless joy. We should not forget this truth, even in our service. Nothing should occupy us away from the endless divine joy. All earthly joys, even the miracles will end. But the joy of those names written in heaven will never end.

Practical Applications

How far are you from being one of His apostles?
Dear beloved one, don’t you know that we are wanderers, and ambassadors, sent by Jesus, to be preaching His word to all people? Always be a representative of Jesus who is in you. Be a reason of peace in every house you enter, as a son of Jesus. Carry His peace in yourself and transmit His peace spiritually wherever you are.

  •  Let Jesus be your treasure. Don’t have a purse, scrip or anything to rely on, except Him.
  •  Finally…. Is there any earthly thing that concerns you or makes you rejoice? Let the reason of your rejoice be that your name is written in Heaven… This means, always remember your baptism, your second birth, and this will powerfully lead you to behave like the sons of God in the midst of this world.

Christ is Risen : Truly, He is Risen

Written by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III on . Posted in Feasts

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The resurrection of Jesus is the strength of the church. It is the strength of a new life given to us by Jesus, to whom is the glory. When He trampled death and subdued Hades, He was victorious for us against the fearful enemy. The feast of the resurrection is a new chance for everyone. It is the strength of our resurrection, which we received in baptism, when we were buried with Jesus in the baptism of death. So as Jesus rises from the dead, then that is how we dwell in the new life.

Who will role over the stone?

It is the dawn of the resurrection… The women are on their way to the tomb in the early hours of the morning. They are carrying incense. They were saying among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone?” (Mark 16:3). There was a big stone placed against the door of the tomb. It could not be perceived by the human mind that these women could reach the body of the savior.

Numerously, it seams that Jesus is imprisoned in my soul, as if motionless, as He was in the tomb before the resurrection. This great stone of my numerous sins kept Him as a prisoner. How many times my soul lingered to see Jesus rising in His light and might! How many times I have tried to role over the stone, but without prevail? For the weight of the stone, bound by habits, was heavier. Many times I have said in despair, “Who shall roll away the stone?” (Mark 16:3).

Despite that, the women are on their way to the tomb. Their approach is a work of faith. So whether that was faith or craziness, still it will be rewarded. Then I will have to continue in my overwhelming desire, so that the stone would be rolled away. But the women didn’t go to the tomb empty handed they brought sweet spices for the Savior’s body, (Mark 16:1). Therefore, I have to bring something with me – at least as my good gesture – that is if I desire that the stone be rolled over from my soul. This gesture should be of value, even if it was a token, but it has to constitute a sacrifice. And now… The women have found that the stone was removed in an unexpected way. “There was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door.” (Matt. 28:2).

To remove the stone, there should have been an amazing miracle – An earthquake – because a push or a snug was not enough. It is the same for that stone within me, which seems to paralyze the movement of Jesus. It requires an earthquake… That is an internal overhaul, a full uprooting change. The matter requires an illuminated projectile that will shake me. This is how Jesus rises within me to subdue the old and make room for the new. This surpasses the arrangements and organizations, for it requires death which is followed by birth. The angel has announced to the disciples that Jesus, who is risen, is waiting for them in Galilee. Jesus Himself asserts the fact, saying, “Go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” (Matt. 28:10).

Why is the return to Galilee? Is Jesus trying to protect his disciples from the adversity of the Jews? Or does He want to confirm that after the turbulence of His sufferings, there will come days of peace and tranquility? Maybe… But it seems that there is a more deep reason than that. Jesus met His disciples in Galilee. There they heard His call and started to follow it. Therefore, the memories of those days will stay with our souls youthfully and refreshingly. This was after some of them were weak and hopeless, without faith during His sufferings. Jesus wanted them to return once more to their first vigor and their old warmth… He wanted to renew their emotions and their will, which were there when they first met. In the atmosphere of the Galilee, which the Lord has returned to, was for the new life, which He will fulfill and declare to them. There is a ‘Galilee’ in the life of each of us. Or at least among those who, one day, met the Savior and loved Him. The ‘Galilee’ is the time, during which I felt the Lord is looking at me, and calling my name. Since that time, long years have passed, maybe burdened with a lot of sins, during which it seems that I have forgotten Jesus. But despite this – whoever meets Jesus – even once – will never forget Him. Here is Jesus calling on me to go to the ‘Galilee’ of my life, to reconfirm that love, which I was characterized with during my early days. There I will see Him anew.

My Master… I would like to return to the ‘Galilee’, but will I meet You there? How will my heart illuminate, that which was dim? Is it just by mentioning the ‘Galilee’, my life will be content, will I regain my emotions, with my first meeting with You? “And, behold, He goes before you into Galilee.” (Matt. 28:7). My son, don’t think about the new meeting in pain. I will be honest in the promise that I will strike with you. I will do more, just for the intention of your waiting, in the ‘Galilee’ of memories. I will be there before you, to guide you. When you stead fast your heart anew in ‘Galilee’, then He is the One who will guide you, He will know you and will talk with you…

The different features of Jesus

Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. He came to them. He didn’t spend time in scolding them for their weak belief, and they didn’t waist time to apologize, or explain their excuses. But everything happened in simplicity and love giving, He said unto them, “Have you here any meat?” (Luke 24:41). “And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.” (Luke 24:42).

So life returns to its original nature, to that time from when it ceased. If I betrayed Jesus and left Him, when I set a time to return to Him, I don’t have to worry or prepare for such a meeting. I only have to let Him return into my daily life. I would place Him in my current events. Get Him involved in my problems and my wishes. It is enough to offer Jesus His share of the fish and honeycomb. At this instance Jesus will be present at the table. He will share our lives anew. This happens in the blink of an eye. But we have to act in humility and repentance. The exterior condition is simple and easy, but we require an overhaul from within We require to surrender, and be humble. “After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.” (Mark 16:12). Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to individuals who knew Him (John 20:20).

We beseech Jesus our Lord, who has risen from the dead, to give us the spirit of the resurrection from within, to renew our lives and our repentance. We desire Him to enter unto us, even if the doors were closed, so that we can hear His divine voice.

4th Sunday of Abib – The Raising of Lazarus from the dead

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Sunday Contemplations

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The Lord was planning to give Himself to death for the world. He intended to give us life, not only to our body, but also to our dead spirit. These are the spirits that died in sin and the filth of guilt (sins). Therefore, the Lord has arranged to raise Lazarus from the dead as a guarantee for everyone’s resurrection. When the Lord raised Lazarus, He opened the gate of hope, for those in the graves. The world is always in need of witnesses to the resurrection, a proof concerning what’s after death. This is more effective than books, seminars or any teachings…

3rd Sunday of Abib – Feeding the Multitude

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Sunday Contemplations

(miracles)feeding_the_multitudes-001.jpg"And the
apostles, when they were returned, told Him all that they had done. And
He took them, and went aside privately into a desert place." (Luke 9:10).

The service has its numerous blessings in the life of the Apostles. In it, there is the power
of the word and its authority. Within it, they were assured of Satan’s
weakness and the chattering of his imperial power. Through it, they
lived a life of surrender, relying on the arms of the Lord, without
moneybag or knapsack. Also, they felt the precious value of the soul
and its salvation… In general the blessings of the service are more
than words in the Apostles’ lives. After the Apostles returned to the
Lord from their service trip, they needed to be in seclusion with the
Lord. And our blessed Jesus knows their needs, so He went into
seclusion with them. During their seclusion with the Lord, they
informed Him with all their deeds. The seclusion session with Jesus,
after the service, meant the following:

2nd Sunday of Abib – Children and the Kingdom of Heaven

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Sunday Contemplations

jesuswithchildreninheaven.gifAt this hour the disciples approached Jesus saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heave?" (Matt. 18:1). Then Jesus brought before Him a young boy and placed him in the center and said, "Assuredly,
I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children,
you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3). He who is pure and innocent like this child is greater in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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