CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
BIBLE STUDY SERIES

REV. FR. DR. REJI MATHEW

Rev. Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew is the Principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur. Fr. Reji is an excellent orthodox theologist, blessed orator and Christian writer.

WHAT DO YOU PREFER? CHICKEN FOR GOOD FRIDAY? OR EGG FOR EASTER?
The description of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a major topic in most of the NT literature. Good Friday is the greatest day for Christians as the blood of our Lord has saved us from our sins. Easter is a big event in the Orthodox countries as it is the day Christ is truly risen. For all those who are trained in an Oriental background will prefer Easter to Good Friday as a day for celebration. Though Christ suffered and died for our sins, now He is not a dead One; He is a risen Christ and death cannot bind Him further any more.
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THE MINISTRY OF EPISCOPATE
According to Orthodox ecclesiology the bishop is the President of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic function of the bishop should not be considered as less important to other duties of a bishop. On the one hand the bishop is the sacramental presence of Jesus Christ with in the Church. But on the other hand he unites all the people. What distinguishes a bishop from a priest is his authority for ordination. Early Church adopted this as a sign for handing over priestly authority. It is his prerogative as a successor of the Apostles. Teaching can be considered as the unique function of a bishop.
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DO NOT FALL OVER YOUR STRENGTHS! [REVELATION 3:14-22]
The lukewarm response of the Church and the impression that, “I am rich and well off; I have all I need”; both these are sins in the eyes of the Spirit of God. The richness of worldly churches is seen as forgery in the eyes of God. Prosperity can impress only the world and not God. God advise man to pray for clear vision to see the things in a proper perspective. The strengths about which we are proud of can lead us to failures.
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THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON [REVELATION 12:1-6]
The image of the Woman with the Child and the Dragon quoted in the Book of Revelation is a reference to the persecuted Church or the sheep, which belong to Jesus. The whole world is the Church of Jesus. The evil forces try to destroy the Church, by snatching the “child” from it. This happens even today. Whatever happened to Jesus in his infancy is happening to His Church too. The ultimate meaning of life is best expressed in worship, love, sacrifice, personal moral accountability and compassion.
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THE RICH YOUNG MAN AND JESUS [LUKE 18:18-27]
The young rich man who approached Jesus could not update his spiritual knowledge. He could not identify his limitations and draw backs. He puts more importance for his wealth. He prefers the worldly to the heavenly. He wants to get the Eternal Life without loosing his possessions. Jesus asks for a de tour from all who approach him. Repentance and a change of attitude in our life are primary requirements to achieve the Eternal Life.
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ARISE AND SHINE [ISAIAH 60:1-3]
The prophetic words given to Israel are relevant for the children of God too. God crowned all His creation with glory and honor. He appointed men as rulers over everything He made; He placed them over all creation to shine on this earth. Repentance is necessary for Shining. Regular Communion with God is necessary for Shining. A life based on virtues and ethics is necessary for Shining. Sacrifice is needed for Shining. Transparency and Accountability are necessary for Shining.
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EXEGESIS AS AN APOSTOLIC MINISTRY [ACTS 8:25-40]
Regarding the apostolic interpretation of the Holy Scripture from the experience of the apostolic age of the Church, we can consider few thoughts for our understanding and practice. Both the Reader of the Scripture and its Interpreter are inspired by God. A divinely appointed Bible Scholar receives his wisdom directly from God. Discussion is a good method of Bible study. Jesus is the central message of every Bible text. Bible learning should lead to repentance and a change of life.
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THE FOOD SECURITY PROJECT OF JESUS
Spirituality is not only about nourishing the spirit but also about addressing the needs of the body and mind. Since the spirit finds its home in the body, physical needs appear also in the divine plan of salvation. Healing and the teaching were two sides of the ministry of Jesus and these happened together. God is the ultimate source of everything. The food security project of God includes a planning about the 'rest' and the 'waste'.
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LIFE OF AN INTER-TESTAMENTAL THEOLOGIAN [SIRACH 39:1-6]
The thirst for wisdom is something which distinguishes an academician from an activist. The Inter-Testamental theologian gives more emphasis for the past scholarship. A theologian should have the intellectual curiosity, patience to go through different resources and an analytical mind. Debates and dialogues are good methods for studying things. Travelling is one of the best means for attaining wisdom. Theologian should be a man of devotion, who maintains a regular and intimate relation-ship with the Divine. An effective theologian is able to communicate both verbally and literally. A theologian should have a good reputation.
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A PRIEST AMONG THE DEAD AND THE LIVING
What differentiates a priest from a layman is his thirst for prayer. Social intervention of a priest should have its starting point in a prayerful life. What guides a priest is always the Word of God. It inspires him, empowers him and gives shape to his personality as a priest. A priest is not simply representing his own folk. Rather his responsibilities should cover the whole universe. Priest should always stand for justice and peace, as they are the executors of God's plan on earth.
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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF A STUDENT
Fear of Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All wisdome oriinate from God.All worldly knowledge explore the depth of the universe created by God. Discipline is something which makes one a disciple. Laziness is the biggest enemy of a disciplined person. The religious leaders should be spiritual and guardians of morality.
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SEVEN ATTITUDES OF SPIRITUAL LIFE
St. Paul call for the believers to become living sacrifice to God which will be acceptable to God. Firstly, one has to dedicate him/ herself to the service of God. Secondly, what a believer wants to do is to transform inwardly with a change of mind/ attitude instead of conforming to the worldly things. Thirdly, the faithful realizes the will of God.
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ARE JEWS REJECTED FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
It is only a theology of convenience to eliminate Jews from the Kingdom of God. What Jesus wants from us is the love for the enemies. The prayer that is pleasing for God is not that of self-justification and of accusation of your neighbor, but that of repentance. Only a perverted theology can interpret the brutal measures of the concentration camps as means of God’s justice. St. Paul is of the opinion that the call and election of Israel as the People of God are not null and void after the crucifixion of Jesus. Christ event should not lead us to a theology of hate and revenge.
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"TEACHERS OF THE BIBLE, SHARE THE GLORY AND GOODNESS OF GOD"
The responsibility of a Christian teacher is always to teach the right faith in accordance with the Bible. The false teachers lose their thoughts even about heaven and forget the source of their wisdom due to their arrogance. A Bible teacher should be sincere and should realize that there are human limitations. The motivation of the Bible teachers should not be to acquire wealth. The divine call and choice given for teaching should be made a permanent experience and should lead a holy and dedicated life.
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THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS
The history of Israel enters into a new phase by the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, whom the Israelites were waiting for a long. Jesus Christ is not only the Son of David but also the Son of Abraham. Genealogy of Jesus gives us a hope during this Christmas. Jesus has come, of course, not only for the religious and the royals but also for the unknown of the society. The women, and even those who are stigmatized as sinners, can be associated with Jesus and they can become a part in the salvation event. That is the uniqueness of Christmas.
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MORE ARTICLES OF THE AUTHOR IN LOL:
THE "CROWN' AND "GIFT OF GOD" FOR THE DIASPORA
The sudden demise of H.G. Dr. Stephanus Mar Theodosius is a blow to the Malankara Orthodox Church in general and for the Diaspora in particular. Thirumeni’s presence in North India itself was incredible. He came to north in the early fifties and has become a North Indian in many ways. No bishop of our Church has spent that much time in this part of our country. Thirumeni is almost unknown to many youngsters of Kerala, because he visited the mother land only for some unavoidable programs.
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CALL AND CHOICE OF GOD [MALAYALAM]
St. Luke had given much emphasis in his Gospel for the episodes in the Public Ministry of Jesus which relate to the very common people and marginalised ones in the society. He had written regarding the call and choice of St. Peter in detail than all other evangelist. Manner of his writings are accurate, exact, polite and elegant. Jesus called people from different class of society. Scripture reveals us that people are called by God at different situations and places. The positive response we can give to call of God is made possible by the divine power of God.
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LOVE, BROTHERHOOD AND MUTUAL RESPECT AS FACES OF SPIRITUALITY [MALAYALAM]
Family is the origin of love, brotherhood and mutual respect. It was the exhortation of St. Paul to be affectionate one to another with brotherly love and to honor preferring one another. It signifies love, but also a readiness and inclination to love, the most genuine and free affection, kindness flowing out as from a spring. The tender unconstrained affection leads us for the greatest courtesy and obligingness, one to another. Instead of contending for superiority, we should forward to give to others the pre-eminence.
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