14e Zondag na Pinksteren – een schare van mensen drong op Hem aan.

'Wees niet bevreesd, van nu aan zult gij mensen vangen'
‘Wees niet bevreesd, van nu aan       zult gij mensen vangen’

En het geschiedde,
toen de schare op Hem aandrong en
naar het woord Gods hoorde, dat
Hij zelf aan de oever van het meer Gennesareth stond, en 
Hij zag twee schepen aan de oever liggen. De vissers waren eruit gegaan en spoelden de netten. Hij ging in een van de schepen, dat van Simon, en vroeg hem de zee in te gaan, niet ver van de oever. En Hij zette Zich neer en leerde de scharen van het schip uit.
Toen Hij opgehouden had met spreken, zei Hij tot Simon:
     ‘Ga naar diep water en zet uw netten uit om te vissen’.
En Simon antwoord en zei:
‘Meester, de gehele nacht door hebben wij hard        gewerkt en niets gevangen, maar op Uw woord                                                                              zal ik de netten uitzetten’.
     En toen zij dit gedaan hadden,
haalden zij een grote menigte vissen binnen en
hun netten dreigden te scheuren.
En zij wenkten hun makkers in het andere schip, dat
zij hen zouden komen helpen.
En dezen kwamen en zij vulden beide schepen, tot aan zinken toe.
Toen Simon Petrus dit zag,
viel hij neer aan de knieën van Jezus en zei:
‘Ga uit van mij, want ik ben een zondig mens, Heer’.
     Want verbazing had hem en allen, die
bij hem waren, aangegrepen over de vangst der vissen, welke
zij gevangen hadden; evenzo ook Jakobus en
Johannes, de zonen van Zebedeus, die metgezellen van Simon waren.
En Jezus zei tot Simon:
‘Wees niet bevreesd, van nu aan zult gij mensen vangen’.
     En zij trokken de schepen op het land en
lieten alles achter en volgden Hem

Luc.5: 1-11

. . . Hij nu, die ons met u bevestigt in de Gezalfde en
ons heeft gezalfd, is God Die ook zijn zegel op ons gedrukt en
de Geest tot onderpand in onze harten gegeven heeft.
        Maar ik roep God aan tot getuige over mijn ziel, dat
ik om u te sparen niet meer naar Corinthe ben gekomen.
       Niet, dat wij heerschappij voeren over uw Geloof;
neen, wij zijn medewerkers aan uw Blijdschap, want
door het Geloof staat gij vast.
       Dit heb ik mij echter stellig voorgenomen:
niet weer in droefheid tot u te komen.
       Want indien ik het ben, die u bedroefd maak, wie
anders kan mij dan blijde stemmen dan Hij, die
door mij in droefheid verkeert?
       En nu was dit juist de bedoeling van mijn schrijven, dat
ik bij mijn komst niet droevig gestemd zou worden door
hen, over wie ik mij moest verblijden.
       Immers, ik vertrouw van u allen, dat mijn blijdschap
ook u aller blijdschap is.
       Want in zware druk en beklemdheid van het hart
heb ik onder vele tranen u geschreven,
niet opdat gij zoudt bedroefd worden, maar
opdat gij de Liefde zoudt kennen, Die
ik in overvloedige mate voor u koester
”.
2Cor.1: 21-24; 2: 1-4

'God, Die Zijn Zegel ook op ons gedrukt heeft'
‘God, Die Zijn Zegel                                 ook op óns gedrukt heeft’

Christus, onze Heer, is de Bron van alle Heiligheid.
De vele moeiten die wij ons getroosten Zijn Blijde Boodschap te verkondigen worden geheiligd door
de Genadegave van de Heilige Geest.
Christus bedoeling is: de toehoorders duidelijk te maken waaraan zij de komst van het Koninkrijk der Hemelen, zoals dit door Isaiah [59: 20] beschreven wordt, kunnen herkennen.
Aan het begin van Zijn openbaar optreden, ging Hij daarvoor naar de Synagoge van Nazareth, daar waar Zijn wortels liggen.
Als gelovige Jood gaat Hij op de sabbat naar de synagoge.
Ze reikten Hem de boekrol van de profeet Isaiah aan.
Hij opende de rol en vond de plaats waar geschreven stond:

De Geest des Heren is over Mij gekomen, omdat Hij Mij gezalfd heeft.
Hij heeft mij gezonden om aan armen de Blijde Boodschap te brengen,
aan gevangenen hun vrijlating bekend te maken en
aan blinden dat zij zullen zien;
om verdrukten te laten gaan in vrijheid,
om een genadejaar af te kondigen van de Hee
r”.
Voor Zijn toehoorders was dat genadejaar een bekend begrip”.

De Wet van Mozes bepaald namelijk dat er steeds opnieuw na
zoveel jaar een genadejaar moest worden ingelast, om
alles weer in het reine te trekken.
Toen begon Hij hen toe te spreken:
Het Schriftwoord dat gij zojuist gehoord hebt
is thans in vervulling gegaan
”.
En Hij zei:
Voorwaar, Ik zeg u:
geen profeet wordt aanvaard
in zijn eigen vaderstad
”.
Vandaag komt Christus, onze Heer bij óns met Zijn leven-brengend Woord van Liefde.
De Geest des Heren heeft Mij gezonden om mensen te bevrijden
En Hij voegt er aan toe:
Mensen , het schriftwoord dat gij hoort is nu, hier, midden onder u aan het gebeuren“.

icon-corner-from-a-russian-villageDiep vanuit ons hart voelen en weten we
dat het Gods woorden zijn die
hier worden gesproken, dat wij het zijn die uitzien naar Zijn Blijde Boodschap.
Want vaak voelen wij ons in het leven gevangen, wij willen bevrijd worden van onze hoogmoed [jaloezie en egoïsme],
van het vaak doof en blind zijn, dat wij dienen te leren inzien dat alles toch niet alleen maar slecht gaat, maar dat er ook vele goede dingen rondom ons zijn te ervaren.
Dat er tegenover onze moedeloosheid, het jaloers zijn,
de haat die wij soms ervaren, ook vrijheid en vreugde bestaat die
wij mogen ervaren.
Daarom komt Jezus Christus, onze Heer, ‘in ons midden’ als een echte bevrijder;
– – – Hij kondigt een genadejaar af.
– – – Hij verkondigt opnieuw weer Zijn woord van liefde,
te midden van egoïsme en verdeeldheid,
te midden van vernietiging en geweld die over de wereld raast.
Hij“, Christus is voor ons dè Profeet van de verzoening, ook
al botsen Zijn woorden soms tegen de kille muren van de harten van mensen.
Jezus houdt zich aan de Traditie van Zijn volk, ook
al gaat Hij soms heel scherp door de bocht.
De wet blijft hoe dan ook gehandhaafd;
Hij is niet gekomen om deze af te schaffen.

christus-spreekt-in-de-synagoge-van-nazarethJezus doet wat alle gelovige mensen doen, hij gaat op de sabbat naar de synagoge.
Hij leest woorden die eeuwenlang
trouw zijn overgeleverd. 
Kerkgangers of mensen het nu graag horen of niet,
het belangrijkste van ons Geloof en Geloofsleven hebben wij niet zèlf uitgedacht,
nee, het wordt ons over de eeuwen heen aangereikt door overlevering.


Die overlevering, welke wij van van
generatie op generatie doorgegeven hebben gekregen,
dienen wij in ere te houden en op onze beurt weer
op verstaanbare wijze door te geven aan
onze kinderen en kleinkinderen.
We mogen en behoeven ons er echt niet voor schamen om wat zo diep geworteld is,
de grote eerbied voor God onze Schepper, voor zijn Mensgeworden Zoon,
welke onder ons is en voor de Heilige Geest, Die ons in Waarheid en Liefde
leidt naar de Vader, uit te dragen en door te geven.
Het is de Heilige Geest die ons niet onbewogen achter laat en
er over waakt dat wij niet afdwalen met zaken die
niet overeenstemmen met het oorspronkelijk Geloof.
Want we blijven vaak staan bij onze problemen en zorgen;
we blijven steken in redeneringen die ons niet verder helpen.
Maar indien wij werkelijk blijven zoeken naar de oorsprong van ons Geloof,
zijn we niet langer gericht op onze kleinzieligheid in plaats van op
de Almacht van onze Heer en Zaligmaker.
Het ware geloof vraagt om nederigheid en zelfverloochening;
wij dienen net als onze voorouders op te zien naar de verrezen Heer, Die
de wereld overwonnen heeft.

christus-is-in-ons-midden
‘Christus is onder ons!’

De Apostelen werden pas geroepen
toen de scharen op Christus aandrong en
van Hem, als Zoon van God, het Woord,
de Blijde Boodschap wilden vernemen.
Pas daarna werden de Apostelen verzameld in het schip van de Kerk, om
hun netten uit te gooien.
Eerst werden de mensen verzameld en
toen begon Christus pas te bouwen en niet andersom eerst een feestje organiseren en dan gaan afwachten of
je genoeg mensen bijeen krijgt.
De geschikte gelegenheid om een een huis voor de Heer te gaan openen
is pas dan aanwezig wanneer er een schare van gelijk-gelovigen op Christus aandringt
– voor de vormgeving van het Christelijk Geloof, de studie en het bijbehorend gebed.
De werving vindt geleidelijk aan plaats, gebruik makend van andere gebedsruimtes,
[zoals de synagoge] en niet zozeer in de hoofdstad maar in de plaatselijke omgeving.

Door middel van een gesprek komt pas dan een Geloofsgemeenschap op gang vanuit
een verzamelde menigte [velen], die op Christus aandringt.
Wanneer er ergens sprake is van een menigte van gelovigen neemt een geroepen
herder ‘uit het volk’ het initiatief voor hen een eigen gebedshuis te openen en
doet dit van het begin af aan voorzichtig en geduldig.
Eerst wordt afgewacht of de gemeenschap groeikracht bezit, waarbij
alles bij elkaar klopt en in verhouding is,
zonder zaken, die tegenstrijdig zijn aan elkaar en
eerst dan wordt overgegaan tot de aanschaf van
een definitief Godshuis.
Eerst nadat Christus de menigte [velen] verzameld had,
vroeg Christus de Apostelen met Hem de zee in te gaan, niet ver van de oever;
en vervolgens nam Hij daarin plaats en leerde de scharen vanuit het schip.
De studie van de Blijde Boodschap en het bijbehorend gebed is ‘een vrije impuls’ van
de Goddelijke Genadegave, welke in de dagelijkse dingen van ons leven voelbaar zijn.

Kerkgebouwen in de uitverkoop
Kerkgebouwen in de uitverkoop

Wanneer het schip, de kerkgemeenschap, gesetteld is wordt pas uitgevaren naar diep water en worden de netten uitgezet om te vissen.
Een enkel woord uit de Heilige Schrift kan die opmerkzaamheid dusdanig vergroten, als
iets vertrouwds aanreiken en je in een hele hoop geharrewar iets duidelijk maken; het
is soms precies datgene waar
onze ziel naar uitgaat en
dat is een grote Genade . . . . .
Hij nu, die ons met u bevestigt in de Gezalfde en ons heeft gezalfd, is God Die Zijn zegel eveneens op ons gedrukt en de Geest tot onderpand in
de harten van gewone gelovigen gegeven heeft.
Niet, dat wij heerschappij over uw geloof door opmerkingen aanmoedigen; 
neen, wij proberen slechts mee te werken aan het algemeen geluk van Zijn Gemeenschap van Gelovigen.
Het is immers door ‘de Blijdschap’ dat het Geloof vast staat.
Groot zal de Heerschappij zijn en eindeloos de Vrede op
de troon van David en over zijn koninkrijk, doordat Hij
het sticht en grondvest met recht en gerechtigheid,
van nu aan tot in eeuwigheid.
De ijver van de Heer der Heerscharen zal dit doen.
De Heer heeft een woord gezonden in
Jacob
[= Hij zal (de oplichter) beschermen] en
het is gevallen in Israël”.
Isaiah 9: 6,7

Geef acht, Mijn volk, op Mijn Wet;
neig uw oor naar het woord van Mijn mond.
Ik zal spreken in gelijkenissen en wetenschap
verkondigen over het begin der dingen.
Zoals wij die gehoord en gekend hebben;
zoals onze Vaderen het ons hebben verhaald.
Het bleef niet verborgen voor hun kinderen
van het volgend geslacht.
Zij verkondigen de lof des Heren:
Zijn machtige daden, de wonderen die Hij had verricht.
Zo verwekte Hij een getuigenis in Jacob en stelde een Wet in Israël:
Hij beval onze Vaderen dit alles aan hun kinderen bekend te maken.
Opdat het volgende geslacht het zou weten, de kinderen die worden geboren,
en die zouden opgroeien om het weer aan hun kinderen te verkondigen.
Opdat zij God zouden vertrouwen en de werken Gods niet vergeten,
maar Zijn geboden zouden onderhouden”.
Psalm 77[78] vert. ROK Den Haag

De Heer Jezus Christus spreekt in gelijkenissen
De Heer Jezus Christus                                                        spreekt in gelijkenissen!

Nu horen we nog wel eens zeggen dat de Heer Jezus Christus
gelijkenissen gebruikte, wat voorbeelden waren uit het toenmalige dagelijks leven,
zodat Zijn toehoorders Hem begrepen.
Dit is mijns inziens de algemene gedachte binnen het “Christendom” bij gelijkenissen.
Ik heb hier diverse naslagwerken op nageslagen, maar velen behandelen toch wel het feit dat Jezus de gelijkenissen gebruikte, zodat het volk ‘niet doorhad’ waar Hij
het over had, omdat ze Hem in feite al verworpen hadden.
Een gelijkenis is manier van spreken waarbij een vergelijking of contrast
tussen Gods koninkrijk [en Gods karakter, handelen of verwachtingen van mensen] en                                                                                    iets in deze wereld aanschouwelijk wordt                                                                                          gemaakt, met het doel de hoorder                                                                                                        te overtuigen en over te halen
”.
Een gelijkenis is het dusdanig verwoorden in omschrijvingen, die aan het dagelijks leven zijn ontleend en dààrmee laat Christus blijken dat Zijn Woord dusdanig
wordt ingericht dat gewone omstanders de betekenis konden begrijpen!;
oftewel: Jezus sprak in gelijkenissen met woorden uit het dagelijks leven.

Van die manier van onderwijzen werd zeer veel gebruik gemaakt, niet slechts door
de Joodse rabbijnen, maar ook door de Arabieren en andere Oosterse wijzen en
zij werd zeer nuttig en doelmatig bevonden, te meer omdat zij ook zo aangenaam was.
Onze Heer en Verlosser maakte er veel gebruik van en
daarmee achtte Hij het waardig Zijn rede in te richten naar hun begripsvermogen.
God had reeds voorlang door Zijne dienstknechten, de Profeten,
in gelijkenissen gesproken, [zie Hoséa 12: 10], doch met weinig vrucht;
nu spreekt Hij in gelijkenissen door Zijn mensgeworden Zoon.
En Christus zond hen uit om het Koninkrijk Gods te verkondigen
en genezingen te doen, en Hij zei tot hen:
Neemt niets mee voor onderweg, geen staf of reiszak,
geen brood of zilvergeld, en hebt ook niet twee hemden bij je.
En komt je ergens in een huis, blijft daar en reist vandaar verder.
En zijn er, die je niet willen ontvangen, gaat dan weg uit die stad en
schudt het stof af van je voeten tot een getuigenis tegen hen
”.
Luc.9: 2-5
Jullie weten, hoe ik van de eerste dag aan, dat ik in Asia voet aan wal zette,
al die tijd onder jullie verkeerd heb, dienende de Heer met alle besef van nederigheid,
onder tranen en beproevingen, die mij overkwamen door de aanslagen van de Joden;
hoe ik niets nagelaten heb van hetgeen nuttig was om aan jullie te verkondigen en
te leren in het openbaar en binnenshuis,
Joden en Grieken betuigende zich te bekeren tot God en te geloven in onze Heer Jezus.
En zie, nu reis ik, gebonden door de Geest, naar Jeruzalem, niet wetende wat
mij daar overkomen zal, behalve dat de Heilige Geest mij van stad tot stad betuigt en
zegt, dat mij boeien en verdrukkingen te wachten staan.
Maar ik tel mijn leven niet en acht het niet kostbaar voor mijzelf, als
ik slechts mijn loopbaan mag ten einde brengen en de bediening, die
ik van de Heer Jezus ontvangen heb om het Evangelie van de Genade Gods te betuigen
”.
Hand. 20: 18-24

Christus, de Hogepriester
Christus, de Hogepriester

Want er staat geschreven: [Zo waarachtig als] Ik leef, spreekt de Heer: ‘voor Mij zal alle knie zich buigen,
en alle tong zal God loven’.
Zo zal [dan] een ieder van ons voor zichzelf rekenschap geven aan God.     Laten wij dan niet langer elkander beoordelen, maar komt liever tot dit oordeel:
‘uw broeder geen aanstoot of ergernis te geven’.
Ik weet en ben overtuigd in de Heer Jezus, dat
niets uit zichzelf onrein is alleen voor Hem, Die
iets onrein acht, is het onrein.
Want indien uw broeder door iets, dat gij eet [doet], gegriefd wordt, wandelt gij
niet meer naar de eis der Liefde.
Breng niet door uw eten [doen] hem ten verderve, voor
wie Christus gestorven is.
Laat van het goede, dat gij hebt,
geen kwaad gezegd kunnen worden.
Want het Koninkrijk Gods bestaat niet in eten en drinken, maar
in Rechtvaardigheid, Vrede en Blijdschap, door de Heilige Geest.
Want wie door deze Geest een dienstknecht is van Christus,
is welgevallig bij God, en in achting bij al de mensen
”.
Rom.14: 11-18

Apolyticion     tn.5
Komt, laat ons bezingen en aanbidden
het met de Vader en de Geest nede-eeuwige Woord,
Dat om ons te verlossen uit de Maagd geboren is.
Want Hij heeft het op Zich genomen
Zijn Lichaam aan het Kruis te laten slaan en
de dood te verduren,
om door Zijn roemrijke Opstanding
de doden op te wekken“.

Theotokion     tn.5
Gij zijt in waarheid de Chrubijnentroon,
want in U heeft het Woord woning genomen Alreine
en is in het vlees uit U voortgekomen.
Om ons heeft Hij als God de Opstanding geschonken,
om onze natuur te verheerlijken.
Vraag voor ons om vergeving van de zonde“.

Kondakion     tn.5
Ter helle zijn Gij neergedaald, mijn Heiland,
en in Uw Almacht hebt Gij de ijzeren poorten gebroken.
Als Schepper hebt Gij de gestorvenen opgewekt;
de prikkel des doods vernietigd,
en Adam van de vloek bevrijd, o Menslievende,
Daarom roepen wij U allen toe:
Heer, red ons“.

Thursday & Friday in the Holy week – they hated Him “without any cause”

If the world hates you,
you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own.
Yet because you are not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world,
therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you,
‘A servant is not greater than his master’.
If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also.
But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake,
because they do not know Him Who sent Me.
If I had not come and spoken to them,
they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
He who hates Me hates My Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which no one else did,
they would have no sin;
but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.
But this happened
that the word might be fulfilled
which is written in their law,
‘They hated Me without a cause’“.
John 15: 18-25

It is usually understood, that the quotation our Saviour here refers to
is to be found in David’s Psalm, where he says,
speaking of himself immediately and of the Saviour prophetically,
Let them not rejoice over me,
those who are unjustly my enemies
Those who hate me without a cause
“.
Psalm 34: 19

Our Saviour refers to that as being applicable to Himself and thus He really tells us, in effect, that many of the Psalms are Messianic, or refer to the Messiah;
and therefore I did not accident,
when it is said that I believed the Psalms referred to the Saviour,
though He may have carried the Truth too far.
But it will be a good plan, in reading the Psalms,
if we continually look at them as alluding not so much to David,
as to the Man of Whom was the type, Jesus Christ, David’s Lord.

• No being was ever more lovely than our Saviour;
it would seem almost impossible not to have affection for Him.
Certainly at first sight it would seem far more difficult to hate Him than to love Him.
And yet, loveable as He was, yes, “altogether lovely“,
no being so early met with hatred
and no creature ever endured such a continual persecution as He had to suffer.
He is no sooner ushered into the world,
than the sword of Herod is ready to cut Him off
and the innocents of Bethlehem by their dreadful massacre,
gave a sad foretaste of the sufferings which Christ would endure
and of the hatred that men would pour upon His devoted Head.
From His first moment to the Cross,
save the temporary silence while He was a child,
it seemed as if all the world were in league against Him
and all men sought to destroy Him.
In different ways that hatred displayed itself, sometimes in overt deed,
as when they took Him to the brow of the hill and would have cast Him down headlong,
or when they took up stones again to stone Him,
because He said that Abraham desired to see His day
and saw it, and was glad.

At other times that hatred showed itself in words of slander,
such as these,
– “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say,
Behold a man gluttonous and a winebibber,
a friend of publicans and sinners.
But wisdom is justified of her children
“.
Matth.11: 19
or in looks of contempt, as when they looked suspiciously at Him,
because He did eat with publicans and sinners
and sat down to table with unwashed hands.
At other times that hatred dwelt entirely in their thoughts
and they thought within themselves,
This man blasphemes“, because He said,
your sins be forgiven you“.
But at almost every time there was a hatred towards Christ;
and when they took Him and would have made Him king and
a shallow fleeting flood of popular applause would have wetted Him on to an unsteady throne,
even then there was a latent hatred towards Him,
only kept under by loaves and fishes,
which only wanted an equal quantity of loaves and fishes offered by the priests,
to develop it itself in the cry of
Crucify him, crucify him“,
instead of the shout of
Hosannah! blessed is He
that comes in the Name of the Lord
“.
All grades of men hated Him.
Most men have to meet with some opposition;
but then it is frequently a class opposition
and there are other classes
who look at them with respect.
The demagogue, who is admired by the poor,
must expect to be despised by the rich;
and he who labours for the aristocracy,
of course meets with the contempt of the many.
But here was a Man Who walked among the people, Who loved them,
Who spoke to rich and poor as though they were [as indeed they are]
on one level in His blessed sight:
and yet all classes conspired to hate Him;
the priests cried Him down because he spoiled their dogmas;
the nobles would put Him to death because He spoke of being a king;
while the poor, for some reasons best known to themselves,
though they admired His eloquence,
and frequently would have fallen prostrate in worship before Him,
on account of the wondrous deeds He did,
even these, led by men who ought to have guided them better,
conspired to put Him to death
and to consummate their guilt by nailing Him to the Tree
and then wagging their heads, bade Him, if He could build a Temple in three days,
to save Himself and come down from the Cross.

Christ was the hated one,
the slandered and scorned;
He was “despised and rejected of men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
“.
Isaiah 53: 3

Then, let us defend what the Saviour said,
– “They hated me without a cause“.
• And we remark, that, apart from the consideration of man’s sinfulness,
and Christ’s purity, there certainly is not cause, whatever to be discovered
why the world should have hated Him.
Let us regard Christ in His person.
Was there anything in Christ’s person as a man, when He lived in this world,
which had a natural tendency to make any person hate Him?
Let us remark, that there was an absence of almost everything
which excites hatred between man and man.
In the first place there was no great rank in Christ to excite envy.
It is a well-known fact that let a man be ever so good,
if He be at all lifted above His fellow-creatures by riches,
or by title, though one by one men will respect Him,
yet the many often speak against Him,
not so much for what He is, as for His rank and His title.
It seems to be natural to men in the mass to despise nobles;
each man, individually, thinks it a wonderful fine thing to know a lord;
but put men together and they will despise lords and even bishops
and speak very lightly of principalities and powers.
Now Christ had none of the outward circumstances of rank,
He had no chariot, no long sleeves, no elevation above His fellows;
when He walked abroad there were no heralds to attend Him,
there was no pomp to do Him honour.
In fact, one would think that Christ’s appearance
would naturally have engendered pity.
Instead of being lifted above men,
He did, in some sense, seem to be below them, for foxes had holes,
and the birds of the air had nests,
but the Son of Man had not where to lay His head.
The envy naturally excited by rank, station, and such-like,
could not have operated in Christ’s case;
there was nothing in His clothing to attract attention;
it was the clothing of the provincial of Galilee
-“of one piece, woven from the top throughout“[John 19: 23].
Nor was there anything in His rank.
He might have been the son of an ancient royal family,
but its royalty was apparently extinct
and He was only known as the son of the carpenter.
The hated Him, then, in that sense, “without a cause“.

• Many persons seem to have envy excited in them
against those who exercise rule or government over them.
The very fact of a man having authority over me
stirs up my evil passions
and I begin to look at him with suspicion,
because he is invested with that authority.
Some men naturally fall into the groove
and obey simply because the ruled is made;
principalities and powers are established
and they submit themselves for the Lord’s sake;
but the many seem to have a natural tendency
to kick against authority, simply because it is authority.
But if authorities and governments were changed every month,
I believe that in some countries, in historical Roesj for instance,
there would be revolutions as much under one government as under another;
in fact, they hate all government there and wish to be without law,
that each man may do what is right in his own eyes.
But this did not operate in Christ’s case,
– He was not a worldly king; He did not assume sway over the multitude.
It is True He was Lord over tempests and seas;
it is True He could command demons, and, if He pleased,
men must have been His obedient servants; but
– He did not assume power over them.
– He marshalled no armies, He promulgated no laws,
– He made Himself no great fellow in church or country; the people did just as they liked,
for all the authority He exercised over them.
In fact, instead of binding laws upon them which were severe,
– He seemed to have loosened the rigidity of their system; for when the adulterous woman, who, otherwise, would have been put to death, was brought before Him,
He said,
Neither do I condemn you” [John 8:11].
And He relaxed, to a certain extent,
the rigidity of the Sabbatical ordinance,
which was in some respects too burthensome,
saying, ” the Sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath“[Marc.2: 27].
Surely, then, they hated Him “without a cause“.

• Some men make others dislike them because they are proud.
I know some men that I should have liked very well
if the starch had been left out of them;
I should really sympathize with them and admire them
if they had the least degree of condescension,
but they seem to walk about the world with such a style of pride!
They may not be proud
– very likely they are not; but, as an old divine said,
Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons
and healing people today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I will reach my goal’
“.
Luc.13: 32
And, somehow or other,
the human mind cannot bear pride; we always kick against it.
But there was nothing of that in our Saviour.
How Humble He was! Why He stooped to anything.
He would wash His disciples’ feet;
and when He walked about among men,
there was no parade about Him, as if He would say to them,
See my talent, see my power, see my rank, see my dignity,
stand by, I am greater than you

No, He takes His seat there.
There is Matthew, the publican, sitting beside Him
and He does not think He is hurt by the publican,
although He is the worst of sinners;
and there is a harlot, He speaks to her;
there is another with seven devils
and He casts the devils out of her,
and another, who has the leprosy,
and He even touches the leper,
to show how Humble He was and
that there was nothing of pride about Him.

Could you have seen the Saviour;
He was the very archetype of humility!
There were none of your forms of etiquette and politeness about Him;
He had that True politeness which makes itself affable to all men,
because it is kind and loving to all.
There was no pride in the Saviour
and consequently there was nothing to excite men’s anger on that account.
Therefore, they hated Him “without a cause“.

• There are others that you cannot help disliking,
because they are so snappish, and waspish, and angry;
they look as if they were born on some terribly dark stormy day
and as if, in the mixture of their body, no small quantity of vinegar was employed.
You could not sit long with them, without feeling
that you have to keep your tongue in pretty tight chain;
you must not talk freely or there would be a quarrel,
for they would make you an offender for a word.
You may say,
Such an one is, no doubt a good man” [Matth.19:17];
but really, that temper of his I cannot bear it.
And when a man stands prominently before the public,
with a nasty sour disposition,
one feels inclined to dislike Him.
But there was nothing of this about our Saviour.
When He was reviled, He reviled not again“[1Petr.2: 23]:
if men spat in His face He said nothing to them;
and when they smote Him, He did not curse them;
He sat still and bore their scorn.
He walked through the world,
with contempt and infamy constantly poured upon him;
but “He answered not a word“[Matth.27: 14];
He was never angry.
You cannot find, in reading the Saviour’s life,
that He spoke one angry word,
save those words of Holy anger which He poured,
like scalding oil, upon the head of pharisaic pride;
then, indeed, His anger did boil, but it was Holy anger.
With such a loving, kind, gentle spirit, one would have thought
that he would have gone through the world as easily as possible.
But, notwithstanding all that, they hated him.
Truly, we can say, “They hated Him without a cause“.

• There is another set of people you can scarcely help disliking;
they are selfish people.
Now, we know some persons who are very excellent in temper,
who are extremely honest and upright, but they are so selfish!
When you are with them, you feel that they are just friends to you
for what they can get out of you; and when you have served their turn,
they will just lay you aside, and endeavour to find another.
In trying to do good, their good deed has an ulterior object,
but, somehow or other, they are always found out;
and no man in the world gets a greater share of public odium
than the man who lives a selfish life.
Among the most miserable men in the universe,
kicked about the world like a football, is the selfish collector.

But in Christ there was nothing selfish;
whatever He did, He did for others.
He had a marvellous Power of working Miracles,
but He would not even change a stone into bread for Himself” [Matth.4: 3];
He reserved His Miraculous Power for others;
He did not seem to have a particle of self in His whole nature.
In fact, the description of His life might be written very briefly:
He saved others, Himself He did not save“[Matth.27: 42].
He walked about; He touched the poorest, the meanest
and those who were the most sick;
He cared not what men might say of Him;
He seemed to have no regard for fame, or dignity, or ease, or honour.
Neither His bodily nor his mental comforts were in the least regarded by Him.
Self-sacrifice was the life of Christ;
but He did it with such an ease that it seemed no sacrifice.
Ah! beloved, in that sense certainly they hated Christ without a cause;
for there was nothing in Christ to excite their hatred
– in fact, there was everything, on the other hand,
to bind the whole world to love
and reverence a character so eminently unselfish.

• Another sort of people there are that I do not like, namely the hypocritical;
nay, I think I could even live with the selfish man, if I knew him to be selfish;
but the hypocrite, do not let him come anywhere near where I am.
Let a public man be a hypocrite once
and the world will scarcely trust him again; they will hate him.
But Christ was, in this particular, free from any blame;
and if they hated Him, they hated Him not for that,
for there never was a more unvarnished man than Christ.
He was called, you know, the child Jesus;
because as a child speaks itself out and has no reserve,
and no craftiness, even so was it with Jesus;
He had no affectation, no deceit.
There was no change about Him;
He was “without variableness or shadow of turning“[Jac.1: 17].
Whatever the world may say of Christ,
they never said they believed He was a hypocrite;
and among all the slanders they brought against Him,
they never disputed His sincerity.
Had they been able to show that He really had been imposing upon them,
they might have had some grounds for hating Him;
but He lived in the Sunlight of sincerity
and walked on the very mountain-top of continual observation.
He could not be a hypocrite and men knew He could not;
and yet men hated Him.
Verily, my friends, if you survey the character of Christ, in all its loveliness,
in all its benevolence, in all its sincerity, in all its self-devotion,
in all intense eagerness to benefit man, you must say, indeed,
“They hated him without a cause”
there was nothing in Christ’s person to lead men to hate Him.

• In the next place, was there anything in Christ’s errand
which could make people hate Him?
If they had asked Him, for what reason have you come from Heaven?
would there have been anything in His answer likely to excite their indignation and hatred?
I troy not. For what purpose did He come?
He came, first of all, to explain Mysteries
– to tell them what was meant by the Sacrificial Lamb,
what was the significance of the scape-goat,
what was intended by the Ark, the brazen serpent, and the pot of manna;
He came to rend the veil of the Holy of holies,
and to show men secrets they had never seen before.
Should they have hated one Who lifted the veil of Mystery
and made dark things light, and expounded riddles?
Should they have hated Him Who taught them
what Abraham desired to see, and what Prophets and kings had longed to know,
but died without a knowledge of?
Was there anything in that to make them hate Him?
What else did he come for?
He came on earth to reclaim the wanderer;
and is there anything in that that should make men hate Christ?
If He came to reform the drunkard, to reclaim the harlot,
and gather in the publicans and sinners,
and bring prodigals to their Father’s House again,
sure that is the Object with which every philanthropist should agree;
it is that for which our governments are formed and fashioned,
to bring men to a better state; and if Christ came for that purpose,
was there anything in that to make men hate him?
For what else did He come?
He came to heal the diseases of the body;
is that a legitimate object of hatred?
Shall I hate the Physician Who goes about
gratuitously healing all manner of diseases?
Are deaf ears unstopped, are mouths opened, are the dead raised,
are the blind made to see, and widows blest with their sons?
Are these causes why a man should be obnoxious?
Surely, He might well say,
For which of these works do you stone me?
If I have done good works wherefore speak ye against me?
“[John 10: 32].
But none of these works were the cause of men’s hatred;
they hated Him without a cause.

• And He came on earth to die, that sinners might not die?
Was that a cause of hatred?
Ought I to hate the Saviour,
because He came to quench the flames of hell for me?
Should I despise Him Who allowed His Father’s flaming sword
to be quenched in His own vital blood?
Shall I look with indignation upon the substitute
Who takes my sin and grief’s upon Him, and carries my sorrows?
Shall I hate and despise the man Who loved me better than He loved Himself
– Who loved me so much that He visited the gloomy grave for my Salvation?
Are these the causes of hatred?
Surely His errand was one
that ought to have made us sing His praise for ever,
and join the harps of angels in their rapturous songs.
“They hated Me without a cause.”

• But once more: was there anything in Christ’s doctrine
that should have made us hate Him?
No, we answer; there was nothing in His doctrine
that should have excited men’s hatred.
Take His pre-locked up doctrines.
Did He not teach us to do to others as we would they should to us?
Was He not also the exponent of everything lovely and honourable, and of good report?
And was not His teaching the very essence of virtue, so that if virtue’s Self had written it,
it could not have written such a perfect code of lovely morals, and excellent virtues.
Was it the ethical part of his doctrines that men hated?
He taught that rich and poor must stand on one level;
He taught that His Gospel was not to be confined to one particular church or nation,
but was to be Gloriously expansive, so as to cover the whole world?
This perhaps, was one principal reason of their hating Him;
but surely there was no justifiable cause for their indignation in this.
There was nothing in Christ to lead men to hate him.
“They hated him without a cause.”

• And now I come to dwell on man’s sin,
that He should have hated the Saviour without a cause.
Ah!, I will not tell you of man’s adulteries, and fornications,
and murders, and poisonings, and sodomies.
I will not tell you of man’s wars, and bloodsheds,
and cruelties, and rebellions;
If I want to tell you man’s sin,
I must tell you that man has to make up his mind
– that he put to death His God, and slew His Saviour;
and when I have told you that, I have given you the essence of all sin,
the master-piece of crime, the very pinnacle and climax of
the terrific pyramid of mortal guilt.
Man outdid himself when he put His Saviour to death,
and sin did out
– Herod when it slew the Lord of the universe,
the Lover of the race of man, Who came on earth to die.
Never does sin appear so exceedingly sinful
as when we see it pointed at the Person of Christ,
Whom it hated without a cause. In every other case,
when man has hated goodness, there have always been some extenuating circumstances.
We never do see goodness in this world without mixed ingredients;
however great may be any man’s goodness,
there is always some nail whereon we may hang a censure;
however excellent a man may be, there is always some fault
which may diminish our admiration of our love.
But in the Saviour there was nothing of this.
There was nothing that could blot the picture;
Holiness stood out to the very life; there was Holiness – only Holiness.
There was nothing in Him but Holiness:
and any person with half an eye can see, that the thing men hated was simply
that Christ was perfect; they could not have hated Him for anything else.
And thus you see the abominable, detestable evil of the human heart
– that man hates goodness simply because it is such.

• Brokenness we see nowadays is not what He intended:
domestic violence, corrupted governments,
resentful nations and bitter Church congregations.
We all know that when the Lord created this world,
everything was ‘Good‘ and ‘in order‘.
His purpose for Humanity is so that everyone
can enjoy this relationship with Him and worship Him.
But until we realize and truly understand
how fearfully and wonderfully we were made,
Whom we belong to and why we are even here,
we will not be able to fulfil God’s Purpose in the world.

Will we not help one another
to bring the beauty within each of us out?
Will we not allow our hearts to be broken
for what breaks Him?
Will we not use our God-given talents to serve our families,
neighbours or even strangers?
And will we not pour our hearts, thoughts and spirits
in seeking and searching for Him
in order to have more of His Love every day?

We are children of the King.
Let us do all this, and many more.
And now may you who hate Christ love Him;
that He would bring Himself to you now!
That He would show himself to you!
And then sure you must love Him at once.
He that believeth on the Lord Jesus will be sure to love Him
and he that love Him shall be saved.
That God would give you Faith
and give you Love,
for Christ Jesus’ sake!

Today is the day of your judgment. Do not fear.
Come, bare your back with Him Who bared His back and was not ashamed.
Come, turn your face, and turn it without looking backward,
as  the Prophet said about Him,
I turned not backward [never]”.
Isaiah 50: 5

Do not be afraid. Walk, step by step.
That is the Price of your minor sins,
the cost of violating God’s minor commandments.
Come, come with Me,
share this punishment that can wash your flesh, blood, and bones
and make you reborn with the flesh of a new-born babe.

Today is the Day of Judgment of mankind for minor sins.
Come, come, O sinners, those with a heavy conscience,
those burdened by sin; come, for this Day is yours.
Come to sate the passions of your conscience,
to live without a conscience burdened by sin,
not with a conscience that has sinned,
but with a conscience that has been purified
and cleansed to become whiter than snow [Psalm 50].

They clothed Him with a crimson robe
on the Day of the Cross,
which is in fulfilment of the Prophecy:
Who is this that comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah“,
Isaiah 63: 1
i.e., crimson robes stained with blood.
The mention of a crimson robe here has a beautiful reference to the cross:
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool“.
Isaiah 1: 18
The wool here refers to the robe of the Lamb on the Cross.
They stripped Him, dressed Him in a crimson robe
and lifted Him up, revealing the royal robe.
Christ donned the robe of Glory,
the robe of Eternal Purity.

But when the Comforter is come,
Whom I will send unto you from the Father,
even the Spirit of truth, Which proceeds from the Father,
He shall testify of me:
And you also shall bear witness,
because you have been with Me
from the beginning
“.
John 15: 26-27

Orthodoxy & back to the future, the dream of a nationalic Church around Moscow

Separation of Church and Politics???
Patriarch Kirill
compares Ukrainian independence wish
with Russian revolution.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church
has the ‘Euromaidan’ protest in Ukraine ,
that led to the dismissal of a pro – Russian government,
compared with the Russian Revolution of 1917.

This led to the overthrow of the tsarist regime .
About half a year later, the fledgling democracy was smothered in a communist coup .
” The recent events in Ukraine , terrible images of the revolutionary uprising in the capital, killed people , spiritually and mentally driven to madness – all this helps to understand what happened at that time in Russia, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow told us .

“Today, in this life-changing time for our country ,
we have in the Kremlin prayers for the Russian state
and the entire historical Roesj
so God under the protection of the Holy Mother of God
will love us and will never allow
that a war between us
brother will not stand up against his brother
and that the spiritual power of Roesj will increase
– the same force that led to
the foundation of the great state”,
said this Patriarch.

The historical term Roesj [or Kiev – Roesj]
refers to the loose connection of medieval Slavic tribes
between the Baltic and the Black Sea led by Roerik dynasty.
Both Russia , Belarus and Ukraine [the main city of Kiev]
see this as their precursor.

Orthodoxy & peaceable prayer

I have loved,
because the Lord shall hear
the voice of my supplication;
for He inclined His ear to me,
and in my days
I shall call upon Him“.
Psalm 114: 1,2

Spending time developing
our own personal relationship with the Lord
is a valuable investment of our time.
God has made it possible for us
to communicate with Him through our prayers.
He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible.
Therefore, the more we pray and read His Word, the deeper our relationship with Him will be.

Prayer is a vital link in our relationship with God.
An held in reserve controller to help us
to be more effective
in our communication with God
can be remembered by periodical Actions:

Adoration
– This means I worship God for Who He is
rather than for what He does.
In adoration we verbalize our worship, praise, honour, and exaltation of God.
Many of the Psalms help us focus on the attributes of God,
such as His loving kindness, His mercy, His majesty and others.
Adoration is expressing our love for Him through our words.

Confession
– As we begin our prayer with a worshipful adoration of God,
the Holy Spirit will often reveal any sin in our life
that needs to be confessed.
To confess means to “agree with“.
In other words, I agree with God concerning my sin
– that it is sin.
I also agree with God
that the blood of Jesus Christ
has paid for that sin.
This leads me to thank Him
for His forgiveness.

Thanksgiving
– Giving thanks expresses faith and faith pleases God.
In giving thanks we are expressing verbally
our gratefulness and appreciation for what God does.
Thanksgiving is also saying, “God I trust You“.
It is the opposite of grumbling and becoming bitter.

Supplication
– Supplication with thanksgiving is letting
our requests be made known to God.
We are praying for everything that concerns us,
as well as for the needs of others.
Supplication includes intercession and petition.
Periodical actions helps us to be “on the alert” in our prayers.

Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests
be made known to God
“.
Phil.4: 6

I am exhorted to make my requests known to God,
but how can I pray with confidence?
Four key words answer this question:

1.].  Abide
Abiding is the key to successful praying.
Jesus states,
If you abide in Me and My words abide in you,
ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you

John 15: 7
The Apostle Paul adds,
Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you“.
Col 3: 16

2.].  Ask.
Jesus tells us,
Ask, and it shall be given to you;
seek and you shall find;
knock and it shall be opened to you.
For every one who asks receives;
and he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks it shall be opened
“.
Matth.7: 7, 8
Someone told me once,
when we get to heaven we’ll find a lot of unopened packages
with our name on them because we did not claim them through prayer.

3.].  Believe.
Matthew tells us,
Everything you ask in prayer,
believing you shall receive
”.
Matth.21: 22
Faith, which is an attitude of believing
and this pleases God.

4.].  Receive.
If you are abiding in Christ
and if you have asked, believing, get ready to receive the answer.
In other words, when you pray for rain, carry an umbrella.
Ask and you will receive,
that your joy may be made full
“.
John 16: 24

Remember these four words
to pray with resourcefulness:
abide, ask, believe and receive.
– One of the things you can be assured of is
that God does answer your prayers
as sometimes He answers right away
or He makes us wait
and as a real Father He will even say no.
– •  I would connect praying to God
like telling my Father my deep problems
and after I have prayed about the problems
then my heart feels light.
– •  When I pray the first thing I ask is
God to reveal to me any area where I have sinned
if I told a white lie, became impatient
and got angry for no reason or any other area.
•  I ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins and the next phase
•  I ask Christ to fill me with his Holy Spirit.
You see if there is sin in your life that is not confessed
then God can’t hear you
so when your sin is confessed
then God will hear
what you are saying.
It is kind of like defragging a computer
if there is so much ‘junk’ in ‘my head’
God will not be able to hear me
till I have asked for forgiveness.

Many people don’t understand the Holy Spirit
as when we ask for forgiveness
and ask Christ to fill us with the Holy Spirit
then the Holy Spirit will give us a peace
that we have not known before.
During your prayers you will then find that
the Holy Spirit will put things in your mind
for you to pray for [even your enemies].
Often when I am praying I ask the Holy Spirit
to reveal to me who I need to pray for
and he will do so.
Praying is not just asking for things
that we want or think that we need
however prayer is an exercise in faith.
I am not able to pray for four hours at a time!
I pray in short prayers
and I find if I pray with my typing on my iPhone or lap top
then I am focused on who or what I need to prayer for.
My biggest prayer always is
that God will give me joy in this very dark world
so others will see the difference in my life.
The very thing that Satan wishes is
to prevent you and me from praying and he has no power over us
however he does have the power of suggestion
in fact he does not even know
what we are thinking!

I hope this helps a little prayer is meant from the heart
and when you seek Christ through prayer,
reading the Scripture and the Holy Fathers
He will teach you how to pray.
Often prayer is not a heat up solution as many people pray
and think how it comes God did not answer a prayer.
Prayer is communicating with God
through Christ and with the Holy Spirit
and allowing God to show us his will
and often he tries to teach us patience.

‘God grant me the Serenity                   => in dutch 
to accept things
I cannot change,
the Courage
to change the things I can
and the Wisdom
to know the difference’.

and be found in Him,
not having my own righteousness,
which is of the law, but that which is through the Faith of Christ,
the Righteousness Which is of God by Faith:
that I may know Him, and the Power of His Resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being made conformable unto His death;
if by any means I might attain
unto the Resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained,
either were already perfect:
but I follow after,
if that I may apprehend
that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark
for the prize of the high Calling of God
in Christ Jesus
“.
Phil.3: 9-14

February 13th – the Apostles Aquila and Priscilla [1st cnt]

Priscilla and Aquila were a first century Christian “serving” couple
described in the New Testament and
traditionally listed among
the Seventy Disciples.
They lived, worked, and
traveled with the Apostle Paul,
becoming his honored, much-loved friends
and coworkers in Christ Jesus.

Priscilla and Aquila are described in the New Testament as providing a presence that strengthened the early Jesus groups.
Paul was generous in his recognition and
acknowledgment of his indebtedness to them.[Rom.16: 3-4]
They have been called the most famous couple in the Christian Bible
since they are mentioned seven times, always as a couple and never individually.
Of those seven times, five times Priscilla’s name is mentioned first.
According to the account in Acts, they corrected the faith of Apollos,
an important preacher of that period.
Their mutuality in ministry and their leadership as laypeople
can inspire members of church communities today
to work ‘in solidarity’ together as servants,
teachers and preachers of the Gospel.

Priscilla was a woman of Jewish heritage and one of the earliest known Christian converts who lived in Rome. Her name is a Roman diminutive, or nickname, for Prisca which was her formal name. Some scholars have advanced a case for Priscilla being the author of the New Testament Book of Hebrews.

Priscilla is believed to be a different woman from Priscilla of the Roman Glabio family, the wife of Quintus Cornelius Pudens, who hosted Saint Peter circa AD 42.

Aquila (Greek Ἀκύλας Akúlas), husband of Priscilla, was originally from Pontus and                     a Jewish Christian like her. According to church tradition, Aquila did not long dwell in Rome: the Apostle Paul made him a bishop in Asia Minor. The Apostolic Constitutions identify Aquila, along with Nicetas, as the first bishops of Asia Minor [7.46].
Tradition also reports that Aquila ended his life a martyr, along with Priscilla.

Priscilla and Aquila, according to Acts 18:2-3, were tentmakers, as Paul is said to have been. Priscilla and Aquila had been among the Jews expelled from Rome by the Roman Emperor Claudius in the year 49 as written by Suetonius. They ended up in Corinth.
Paul lived with Priscilla and Aquila for approximately 18 months. Then the couple started out to accompany Paul when he proceeded to Syria, but stopped at Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia, now part of modern Turkey.

In Acts 18:24-28, an important evangelist in Ephesus named Apollos is mentioned as one who “taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately“.
Priscilla and Aquila were among the earliest known teachers of Christian Theology.

In 1 Corinthians 16:19, Paul passes on the greetings of Priscilla and Aquila to their friends in Corinth, indicating that the couple were in his company. Paul founded the church in Corinth; including their greetings implies that Priscilla and Aquila were also involved in the founding of that church. Since 1Corinthians discusses a crisis deriving from a conflict between the followers of Apollos and the followers of Cephas [possibly the apostle Peter], it can be inferred that Apollos accompanied Priscilla and Aquila when they returned to Corinth.
This happened before 54, when Claudius died and the expulsion of the Jews from Rome was lifted.

In Romans 16: 3-4, thought to have been written in 56 or 57, Paul sends his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and notes that both of them “risked their necks” to save Paul’s life.