4 April, Saturday – Love Hurts

4 April 2020

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Ezekiel 37:21-28 

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

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John 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.

The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’

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…it is better for one man to die for the people…

“Love is sacrifice.” It is a cliché but nowadays there are only few people who believe in that. Many Gen Z’s (not all) no longer believe that there is sacrifice in love. They have a loose grasp of that concept, thinking that if it hurts, then it is not love at all. Love, for them, is the number of love reactions they received on social media. Many of them do not want to hear what the Bible says about love. If they are in a relationship, they tend to easily break it off whenever they experience things that do not go their way. They do not like situations that make their life challenging. They do not like to make sacrifices.

Because of the current pandemic situation, lots of memes can be seen on social media. One of the best memes that I saw was, “Stay at home, because we stay at work for you.” It is simple, yet meaningful.  Staying at home is one of the solutions to control the spread of virus. For many people (not all), staying at home is a sacrifice because for them, it is boring. They are not free to hang around the mall or other crowded places. For those who are working as pay-per-work, it is also a sacrifice because it means that throughout the quarantine period, they will have no source of income. Hopefully, they would be able to surpass this difficulty. Coming from the point of view of our front-liners, for me it is a great example of their love. Love for their neighbour. They choose to come to work and not give any excuses to stay at home and be with their family. They stand there to see and interact with strangers exposing themselves to the virus. They put their life on the line for the benefit of the majority. With so many people (some are stubborn), they skip meals, they lack sleep, they are overworked, and some have passed away while trying to save others.

These front-liners may or may not believe in God. But they are living the Word of God. What we are experiencing right now is incomparable to what Jesus did to save us. But similarly, the sacrifices made are still not enough and not appreciated by some. Quoting Romans 8:18 “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”

 (Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)

Prayer: Father God, please forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.

Thanksgiving:  Thank you Father God, for your mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for the love and sacrifices of our front-liners in this COVID-19 pandemic.  Amen.

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