November 2019

Sunday 3rd November: 4 before Advent: Luke 19: 1-10

Then Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  And there was a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, who was very wealthy.  He was trying to see who Jesus was, but could not see over the crowd, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Him, since Jesus was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that place, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, for I must stay at your house today.” So Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed Him joyfully.  And all who saw this began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinful man!” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will repay it fourfold.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Zacchaeus was curious about this man who had heard so much about, but he wanted to stay in the background, keep his options open, and see from a distance.  Jesus, however, not only knew he was there, but wanted to confront him – and Zacchaeus responded immediately.  He realised that his actions in life were wrong – he was gaining riches at the expense of other people, and he faced up to this, resolving to change things around.

There is no hiding from Jesus – he knows everything about us, and wants to be part of our lives.  Do you feel there is something in your life that He feels needs changing?  He will help you do this – he comes to meet you wherever you are, and whatever your need.  Just ask Him.

 

Sunday 10th November: 3 before Advent:  Luke 20: 27-38

Then some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to question Him.  “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man is to marry his brother’s widow and raise up offspring for him.  Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a wife, but died childless.  Then the second and the third married the widow, and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children.  And last of all, the woman died.  So then, in the resurrection, whose wife will she be? For all seven were married to her.” Jesus answered, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.  But those who are considered worthy to share in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage.  In fact, they can no longer die, because they are like the angels. And since they are sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God……..He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”

The Sadducees were out to trap Jesus – but they were assuming that life after death would be a continuation of their present life, where people marry and raise families.  We do not know what will happen once we die – but we do know that Jesus has promised us a place with him, that he will be there to meet us and will be with us then for ever.  It is difficult for us to accept and imagine what it will be like – but Jesus is saying “Don’t worry; things will not be the same as now, but all will be well.

We do not need to get weighed down by worrying about our future life after death.  God can always be trusted and will never let his much loved children down ever – we just need to remember his promises and believe in them.  Have courage and faith that your life with God will never end and nothing can stop his loving relationship with you.

 

Sunday 17th November: 2 before Advent: Luke 21: 5-19

As some of the disciples were remarking how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and consecrated gifts, Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” Jesus answered, “See to it that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end is not imminent.  Then He told them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, along with fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. On account of My name they will deliver you to the synagogues and prisons, and they will bring you before kings and governors. This will be your opportunity to serve as witnesses. So make up your mind not to worry beforehand how to defend yourselves. For I will give you speech and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. Yet not even a hair of your head will perish. By your patient endurance, you will gain your souls.

Life with Jesus is never straightforward or easy and the disciples wanted reassurance about their future.  When, and how, and what, and why were all questions to which they required answers – but Jesus wanted  them – and us – to know that we do not need to worry about anything, even when what seem to be worrying things are happening all around us. In the long term our future is secured – with him.

Are you worrying about the future right now? What will happen to you, your family, your job, your community, the world?  Take comfort from Jesus’ reassurances that we do not need to worry about anything as He will be with us – always.

 

Sunday 24th November: Christ the King: Luke 23: 33-43

When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right and the other on His left.then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His garments by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”  The soldiers also mocked Him and came up to offer Him sour wine. “If You are the King of the Jews,” they said, “save Yourself!” Above Him was posted an inscription:

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there heaped abuse on Him. “Are you not the Christ?” he said. “Save yourself and us!” But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same judgment?  We are punished justly, for we are receiving what our actions deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus died a cruel and humiliating death on the cross, for our sakes – but he then rose again from the dead and by doing so marked himself for ever as our King.  He is the King of our lives, of our community, our country, our world.  He cares deeply about everything which happens to us and to everyone else as he is a loving and generous God who can overcome all problems, all worries, all disappointments.  Thank you Father, our Christ the King.

 

 

 




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