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በስቅለት በዓል ማምሻ ላይ ተገናኝተን መጽሐፍ ቅዱስን በሕብረት ለማንበብ የተቀጣጠርን ጎረቤቴ ጋር ቀጠሮአችንን ላሳስብ ስደውል ባልጠበቅሁት መልስ አስደነቀኝ። “ከሌላ ጓደኛዬ ጋር ነኝ፤ ቢራም እየጠጣን ስለሆነ ሌላ ጊዜ ብንገኛኝ ይሻላል።” የመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ንባብን ጊዜ በቢራ ግብዣ መተካት አግባብ የጎደለው ውሳኔ ሆኖ ሳለ በስቅለት ዕለት ለሞቅታ መዘጋጀት የኢየሱስን መከራና ሞት ከግምት ውስጥ አለማስገባት መሆኑ የማይካድ ሐቅ ነው። አንተስ የስቅለትን ዕለት በምን አይነት ሁኔታ አሳለፍኸው?

የጉዳዩን ክብደት በይበልጥ ለማሳየት ወደ መጀመሪያው ምእተ አመት በአሳብ ልውሰድህ። በርካታ ወታደሮች በገንዘብ ወዳጁ በይሁዳ ተመርተው ኢየሱስን ያዙት፣ ደቀመዛሙርት ሁሉ ትተውት ተበታተኑ፣ ያለአንዳች ገላጋይ የወታደሮች ጥፊና እንግልት ወረደበት፣ የቅርብ ተከታዩ ስለእርሱ ሲጠየቅ አላውቀውም ብሎ ማለ፣ ኢየሱስን የሰሙት ስለ እርሱ እንዲመሰክሩ ሲጠየቁ ከሐሰትና ከተዛባ ቃል ሌላ ሊናገሩ አልተቻላቸውም (ዮሐ. 18: 19-23)። ኢየሱስ ግን ስለእውነት መስክሮ(ዮሐ. 18፡ 37)፣ ፍጹምነቱን ጠብቆ(ዮሐ. 18፡ 38፤ 19፡ 6)፣ የተጻፈው ትንቢት በእርሱ እንዲፈጸም ፈቅዶ(ዮሐ. 19፡ 28-30) ስለ ዓለም ኃጢአት መሥዋእት ሆነ ዮሐ. 19:30፤ ዮሐ. 1፡ 29)።

የአሳዛኙ ትእይንት ተመልካች ወዳጄ ሆይ፣ አንተ በዚያ ሆነህ ብትሆን ኖሮ፣ ኢየሱስ የተሰቀለበትን ቀን ምሽት የት ታሳልፈለህ? እቤትህ ገብተህ ሚስትህንና ልጆችህን ስታገኝ ያየኸውንና የሰማኸውን ታሪክ ታካፍላቸዋለህ? የቤተሰብህን አባላት የቀን ውሎ እንደመጠየቅ ያለ ነገር በማድረግ የአሳብህን ማረፊያ ቀይረህ ቀኑን ሁሉ ከነበረህ የአሳብ ሽክም ለመውጣት ትሞክራለህ? ወይስ ሸክምህን ከበር ውጪ ጥለህ ምንም ነገር እንዳልሆነ በመቁጠር ቤት ያፈራውን እየተመገብህ፣ በቡናና በለስላሳ መጠጦች ራስህን ታዝናናለህ?

ይህ ጽሑፍ ራስህን እንድታይ ረድቶህ ከሆነ የጌታ ኢየሱስን ሞትና ትንሣኤ ዓላማ ተግባራዊ በማድረግ ስህተትህን ልታርም ትችላለህ። ኢየሱስ የሞተው፣በመጀመሪያ፣ በሞቱ ላይ ዘወትር ከመደገፍ ውጭ የዘለዓለም ሕይወት ሊታሰብ እንደማይቻል ለማሳየት ነው(ዮሐ. 6:53-59) ሁለተኛ፣ የአባቱን መልእክትና ሥራ በሙላት ለማሳየት ነው(ዮሐ. 8፡ 28-29)፣ሦስተኛ፣ ከየትኛውም ክፍለ-ዓለም ሰዎችን ወደራሱ ለመሳብና የሚያምኑበትን ሰዎች ኃጢአት አስወግዶ የዘለዓለምን ሕይወት ለመስጠት ነው(ዮሐ. 3:16፤ 10:14-18፤ 12፡ 20-26፤ 20:31)፣ አራተኛ፣ የእርሱ የሆኑትን ሰዎች መቀበል የተከታዮቹ ግዴታ መሆኑን ሊያሳይ ነው(ዮሐ. 13፡ 12-20) አምስተኛ፣ በእርሱ ታሪክ የተለወጡትን ሰዎች መልእክተኛና ምሥክር አድርጎ ሊልካቸው ነው(ዮሐ. 15:26፣ 20:21)።

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በምንኖርባት ዓለም ሰው የዕለት ቀለቡን ለማግኘት፣ ወርሃዊ ክፍያዎቹን ለማሟላትና ለቅርብ ዘመዶቹ ለመድረስ የሥራ ዕድልን በብርቱ ይሻል። ሥራም ለማግኘት ጠዋትና ማታ ሥራ አለ የተባለበት ቦታ በመሄድ፣ ጋዜጣና፣ ሌሎች የዜና ምንጮችን በመከታተል፣ እንዲሁም ሰዎችን በማጠያየቅ የተቻለውን ሁሉ ያደርጋል። የኢኮኖሚው ሁኔታ ከፈቀደለትም ሥራ አግኝቶ ህልሙን ከግቡ ለማድረስ ደፋ ቀና ይላል። ቀጣሪ ሠራተኛን ለማሰስ የመውጣቱ ጉዳይ ግን ብዙም ያልተለመደ እንግዳ ነገር ነው።

የማቴዎስ ወንጌል 20፡ 2-23 ሠራተኛ ፍለጋ የወጣውንና የቀኑን አብዛኛ ክፍል በሠራተኛ ፍለጋ ያሳለፈውን ቀጣሪ ያሳየናል። ጸሐፊው እንደሚነግረን ቀጣሪው በማለዳ(ምናልባትም ከጠዋቱ 12 ሰዓት ላይ) ተነስቶ ፍለጋውን ጀመረ። በቅድሚያ ካገኛቸው ሰዎች ጋር የቀኑን ልፋት ዋጋ ተነጋግሮ ወደ እርሻው ላካቸው። ሁለተኛውን ቡድን ከቀኑ ወደ 3 ሰዓት ገደማ በገበያ ቦታ ያለ ሥራ አገኛቸውና ወደ እርሻው ለሥራ ላካቸው። ሦስተኛውን ቡድን በዕኩለ ቀን ላይ ሲቀጠር አራተኛውን ቡድን በ 9 ሰዓት ላይ ቅጥረኞቹ አደረጋቸው። የሚያስገርመው ነገር ግን ከቀኑ 11 ሰዓት ላይ ቀጣሪው ሠራተኛ መፈለጉን መቀጠሉ ነው።ይህ ተግባር ከባለሃብት አንፃር ትልቅ ኪሳራ ሲሆን ከደራሲው እይታ ግን የቀጣሪውን ደግነትና ሥራ ፈቶችን ለመጥቀም ያደረገው ቸርነት ነበር።

ወንጌላዊው ቅዱስ ማቴዎስ እንደሚያስነብበን የሠራተኛ ፈላጊው ታሪክ የአንድ ሠራተኛ ቀጣሪ ባለኃብት የግል ታርክ ዘገባ ሳይሆን የእግዚአብሔር መንግሥት ማብራሪያ ነው(“መንግሥተ ሰማይ ለወይኑ አትክልት ሠራተኞችን ሊቀጥር ማልዶ የወጣ ባለቤት ሰውን ትመስላለች፤ ማቴዎስ 20፡ 1) ። የእግዚአብሔር መንግሥት የእግዚአብሔርን አስተዳደር፣ አመራር፣ ሕግ(ሕገ-መንግሥት)በተለይም የጌታ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስን ንግሥናና ትምህርት፣ የመንፈስ ቅዱስን ሥራ፣ የቤተክርስቲያንንም ውክልና የሚያካትት ርእሰ-ጉዳይ ነው (መዝሙር. 103፡ 19፣ማቴዎስ5-9፣ 12:22-32፣ 18፡ 15-20)። የነገሥታት ንጉሥና የጌቶች ጌታ እግዚአብሔር የሰው ልጆች ሁሉ እንዲያውቁት፣ እንዲፈልጉት፣ ባለማወቅ ስላባከኑት ጊዜና ሕይወታቸው ንስሐ እንዲገቡና ወደፊትም ለፍርድ እንደሚመጣ በመገንዘብ ሕይወታቸውን እርሱ በሚፈልገው መንገድ እንዲያስተካክሉ ያዝዛል(ሥራ. 17፡24-31)።

ምንም እንኳን እግዚአብሔር የፈጠራቸው ሰዎች እርሱን በማወቅ፣ በመፈለግና በማምለክ ሥራ እንዲጠመዱ በተደጋጋሚ ቢያሳስብም በቀጣሪው ታሪክ ላይ እንደተመለከትነው በየዘመናቱ የነበሩ ሰዎች በራሳቸው ሥራ ላይ ብቻ ተጠምደው የእግዚአብሔርን መንግሥት ሥራ ዘንግተውታል። አንድ ጊዜ ጌታ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ይህንን አስመልክቶ ሲናገር “ነገር ግን ይህን ትውልድ በምን እመስለዋለሁ? በገበያ የሚቀመጡትን ልጆች ይመስላሉ፤ እነርሱም ባልንጀሮቻቸውን እየጠሩ እንቢልታ ነፋንላችሁ ዘፈንም አልዘፈናችሁም ሙሾ አወጣንላችሁዋይ ዋይም አላላችሁም።” ሲል ገልጾአቸዋል(ማቴዎስ 11: 16-17)።

አንባቢ ወዳጄ ሆይ፣ አንተስ የእግዚአብሔር መንግሥት ሥራን እንዴት ይዘኽዋል? እግዚአብሔር ራሱንና የመንግሥቱን መመሪያ የገለጠበትን ቅዱስ ቃሉን ታነብባለህ? በቤተክርስቲያን ውስጥ ከሌሎች ክርስቲያኖች ጋር ሆነህ በሕብረት እግዚአብሔርን ትፈልጋለህ? ኑሮህን በእግዚአብሔር ቃል ትምህርት መሠረት ትመራለህ ወይስ በገበያ ቦታ ላይ ያለ ሥራ እንደተገኙት ሰዎች ወይም ንጉሥ ሠርግ ሲጠራቸው ጥሪውን ትተው ወደ እርሻና ወደ ንግድ እንደሄዱት ሰዎች የእግዚአብሔርን መንግሥት ጥሪ ጆሮ ዳባ ልበስ ብለኸዋል? ወይም ንጉሡን በመጥላት መልክተኞቹን እንዳገላቷቸውና እንደገደሉአቸው ሰዎች ልታደርግ ትሻለህ(ማቴዎስ22፡ 1-6)። ምርጫው የአንተ ነው። እግዚአብሔር ግን ልክ እንደ ሠራተኛ አሳሹ ቀጣሪ አሁንም በደግነት የመንግሥቴ አባል ሁን፣ ከእኔ ጋር ወግን፣ እንደ ሥራህ መጠን ሳይሆን እንደባለጠግነቴ መጠን እከፍለሃለሁ ይልሃል(ማቴዎስ 20 :10-16)።

Nothing is exciting like participating in the final work which gives meaning for the entire process of the vocation that began earlier. Triggering greater interest, finishing points often coerce ones focus on to the heart throbbing event. For example, when athletes approach the finishing line, spectators stand and scream.   Some even cry due to an overwhelming emotional fulfilment.

Strikingly, In spite of people’s eagerness for close ups, disciples’ lack of interest in Jesus’ description about the completion of His redeeming task categorized them among the unregenerate (Luke 18: 31-34). Even though the twelve followed Jesus for the whole three years and appeared to be most zealous people that ever lived on the face of the earth before Jesus, He perceived them to be spiritually impaired as a blind man (Luke 18: 35-43).So, Jesus prescribed a persistent reliance on him as the son of David which would be the cure to their spiritual ignorance.

But why was Christ’s suffering at Jerusalem so crucial to the disciples?

First, Christ’s suffering is the key that unfolds the entire Old Testament’s writings concerning His independent power on offering Himself as a complete sacrifice (Luke 18: 31-32).

“Jesus took the twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again. ”

 According to Luke’s presentation, no one takes charge on Christ’s death except Himself. The Voice Luke used in verse 32(with statements such as, “He will be handed, will be mocked, mistreated, and spit upon”) is passive. By this the point Luke tried to communicate is that not even a single person has any right to claim authority on Jesus’ sufferings and death other than Christ alone. Jesus affirms this in John 10: 17-18 in a more clear way.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Second, Christ’s suffering is the God ordained plan which holds the entire mankind accountable (Luke 18: 33).“…and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him…”

  As the phrase, “which are written through the prophets,” (verse 31), unveils it, Christ’s death on the cross is God’s predetermined plan (Luke 24:46, Rev. 13:8). But, that is only partial truth of the gospel accounts. Luke along with other Biblical witnesses testifies that Jews and Gentiles without separation take the blame for shedding the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son. Is God responsible for causing people to kill Jesus? By no means! In fact, none of the scriptures support this assumption. Instead, the Bible conveys that the whole human race contributed for the assassination of Jesus due to their slavery under sin and strong attachment to the devil (John 8: 34- 47). Thus Luke presents the simultaneousness of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of sinful humanity in Acts 2: 23 quoting peters preaching.

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

 Third, Christ’s suffering is the means through which Christ demonstrates His absolute triumph over His foes. “…and the third day He will rise again” (Luke 18: 23). As the first part of the statement indicates, Christ’s resurrection is an antithesis to the suffering and death inflicted to Jesus through sinful people. In this case Jesus’ resurrection was not only a display of His power to demolish sin and death but also to unveil the vanity of evil people to kill the prince of life (Acts 3: 13-15).

Christ’s suffering narratives, even now, deserve Christians’ full attention. Themes like Sacrificial systems, God’s control, man’s accountability, and Christ’s victory over His enemies are considerable portions of the Bible reading portrayed clearly in Christ’s suffering.  Additionally, The Old Testament significantly anticipated Christ’s suffering while the New Testament celebrates it. So, if partaking in God’s redemptive History is essential it can never happen apart from understanding the suffering of Jesus Christ. Thus, To give no focus to Christ’s suffering is to be blind for God’s overall purpose and work; to give less attention to the crucified Lord is to grasp insignificant amount from God’s wisdom; but, to devout ones whole being to understand the cross is to obtain spiritual sight that enables to walk rightly in the ways of God. Let us return to the cross!

 

 

 

True Christians, without question, want to advance in their spiritual life. Hence, they pray, read scriptures, contemplate, and even fast. Attending conferences and seminars are other areas that demonstrate Christians’ interest in spiritual maturity. Some think spiritual maturity can be attained by acquiring Bible degree, or involve in a special kind of ministry akin to mission trip involvement. But when one evaluates all these practices as good as they are, he will discover their inadequacy to meet the core essence of God’s requirement. Then, what is the height of Christian faith according to God?

Christian faith’s pinnacle requires more steps to go than becoming content with ability to discern. In fact, unlike its usefulness to the church abilities to straighten the church’s teaching up well, it may involve excess criticism and destroy believers in place of building them up. Ephesus was one of the best churches in Asia Minor in discriminating false teachers. Looking at the church’s strong effort to expel false apostles, Jesus commends the church for relentless refutation of dreadful dithers (Rev. 2:2-4). Nevertheless, He discredits its discernment stamina by what it lacks.

Christian faith’s height goes farther miles than reflecting God’s sentiment against those whom he hate. The church of Ephesus, unlike Pergamum, not only had no room for the Nicolaitans’ philosophy, a sect whose characteristics are unidentified, but also disgust it (Rev. 2:6). Yet even though God conferred upon them some credit for their emotional coalition towards His enemies, by His immediate call for repentance He indicated that their hatred towards God’s enemies is not the most important thing He thirsts for.
The height of Christian faith, then, can never be understood in any less term than loving God with undivided heart. When Jesus, who manifested Himself by His ever indwelling presence among all His believing group of people (Eph.2:1; Mt. 28: 20), continues to address the church of Ephesus He articulated, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev.2: 5). Then, by expanding the terrible condition of the church He asserted,”remember from where you have fallen,” (Rev. 2:5). Even though “from where,” is the actual translation of the preposition in the original language, the word” fallen” with its connotative meaning of downward motion gives freedom for the NIV Bible to translate it as “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” Thus our translation bids us see the love God as the height of Christian faith.
New Testament argues that loving God is to be the determining factor of Christians, beginning from Christ’s corroboration of loving God with ones entirety as the most essential practice of the Christian community (Mt. 22: 37), His followers derived similar principles for diverse audience at various occasions. Thus, John stated Christian life style as two dimensional response (I.e. love for God and love for believers) for the manifestation of the divine love (1John 4: 19). Even Paul said, “If any one does not love the Lord is to be accursed (1cor.16: 22).

Do you want to experience the height of Christian faith? Then, Love God! Offer Him your affectionate heart! And value Him more than commandments, even the Ten Commandments. Re-adjust your main concern and make the love of God your priority over “knowledge,” ministry and other religious activities. Then everything will fit together from the main source, which is your love for Jesus Christ.

October thirty-first proves to be special for many due to the freedom to enjoy candies and costumes.  Employees at most mega shops dress up with varieties of attire before Halloween to motivate customers to visit their stores. When the actual date comes, people are adorned with famous men’s outfits as though they cease to be themselves for the day; yet who can deny the comfort and emotional peak one experiences inside great people’s clothing?

As October thirty-first passes, cleaning up starts at the stores and homes. The process of normalization finally affects each individual, forcing them to shed their costumes. Yet, when the outfit is removed the dream of pretending to be a famous person also vanishes away, and one is left with the depressing reality of being himself.

In order to reverse this downer the Bible instructs to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13: 14).

But how does a person clothe himself with Jesus Christ?

One wraps himself with Jesus Christ when he understands wickedness is diminishing and Salvation is conquering. The Bible declares in Romans 13: 11 that God’s people must shed carousing, drunkenness, sexual immorality, and sensuality. The motivation behind paying the price of removing sinfulness is the immanence of salvation. Verse 12 asserts that this age of iniquity is coming to an end and encourages Christians to wage war against wickedness.

If good is about to prevail why do we experience evil with such great intensity?  The Bible unveils that the author of evil having full awareness that his end is near still acts wildly to secure his survival (Revelation 12: 12). The question is not whether evil prevails, instead it is how much it struggled enough before succumbing to Jesus Christ.

Since normal people want to be in the winning party, donning with Jesus Christ, who is “the armor of light,” and girding up to fight the power of darkness is an astute decision. Therefore, let everybody remove the evil costume which the devil’s fans put on, such as carousing, drunkenness, sexual immorality, and sensuality. Let all start to hate the sins which those who do not have a positive future commit, and learn about Christ. Let everyone embrace Christ’s battle strategy to eradicate the surrounding evil beginning with the love of self, and obey Him as ever-living victorious Lord.

 

MINISTRY TRIP TO ETHIOPIA