By V.Rev.Thomas P.Mundukuzhy Cor Episcopa
(A Renowned Writer And Publisher. Author of many Christian Devotional Books. Sunday School Director of American Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Church.)

ST.LUKE 13: 10-17

1. The bent woman continued to attend without desperation: Went to synagogue, though sick for 18 years. Go to church for healing and blessing. Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6-7; Hanna 2:36-37; Job 1:20-21; 2:9-10).

2. Couldn't raise her up. Need some help. The Church has the responsibility of helping and caring.

3. "God created man upright" (Ecclesiastes 7:29) cf. Genesis 1:26-28; But committed sin : Genesis 3: 1-13.

4. If bent, cannot see things above. Spiritual bent is also the same. Only self, nothing divine. Own wealth, prestige, personal care and concern. For own sake, seek God and make friendship. Love friends and hate enemies. Go to church as a way to heaven and to avoid hell: John 5:44. Sinners do not stand up among righteous: Psalm 1:5.

5. Crying face always looks down. When looks up, see God. Hagar cried for her son Ishmael. When looked up saw God: Genesis 21: 8-21. cf. Psalms 71:5-6: God's concern and protection.

6. Jesus understands all our needs. The bent woman didn't say a word. As soon as Christ saw her, He called her to Him and blessed her -- loosened from infirmity. Underneath are everlasting arms. Even if sins are red, can be changed to white: Isaiah 1:18 cf. 60: 1-5.

7. Jesus laid His hands on her: Jesus is the physical, mental and spiritual healer. He absolved her sins by touching.

8. Minister the needy on Sabbath. Our Lord did. We too. James 4:17. We should get the motivation during our Sunday worship. Sabbath to rest to help: Exodus 20: 10; Deuteronomy 5: 14-15.  

9. Hypocrisy: Fed the animals (13:15) but against healing the sick. Loved the Law more than the people. The Jews professed virtues and did not practice. Lent: no food, but bad talks and actions. Act before preach.

10. They were not courage enough to talk to Jesus. So the ruler scolded the woman. Jealous led the synagogue leader to get mad at the multitude because he could not at Jesus or perform miracles.

11. She glorified God. Praise and thank Him.

ST.JOHN 9:1-41

1. Blind man has so many drawbacks: He cannot see himself or others; or anything at all in that matter. His ignorance. The blind wanders in the streets (Lamentations 4:14). If the blind leads blind, both will fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:4). The blind (spiritually poor) needs counseling (Revelation 3:17).
Blindness leads to hate our fellow beings (2 John 2:11). Bribe blinds the eyes of the wise (Deuteronomy: 16:16). Drunken leaders are blind (Isaiah 29:9). Offering a blind as a sacrifice is evil (Malachi 1:8). Those who do not receive are blind (John 12:40).
Israel was blind to receive Jesus (Romans 11:7). Pharisees were spiritually blind - didn't recognize Jesus - :(John 9:40-41. To God, some watchmen (leaders) are blind ( Isaiah 56:10). 

2. Watch out parents: The iniquity of fathers upon children to generations: Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Psalms 109:14. Sick because of sin: John 5:14.

3. The blindness was to demonstrate the works of God, not because of anyone's sin: "It is time for you to act, O Lord" (Psalms 119:126). God wants to bring out
blind people (Isaiah 43:8). God brings the blind by a way nobody else knows (Isaiah 42:16). Jesus' ministry included "recovery of sight to the blind (Luke 4:18). Our Lord cured the blind (Matthew 11:5: Jesus to John's disciple: "Blind see..") God's work was revealed through man. The notion that suffering is due to sin: Exodus 20:5; Ezekiel 18:20; Compare Romans 5:12 (Death and suffering because of sin). Jesus revealed that sickness and suffering are not of the sin; but to reveal the love and grace of God.

4. God called us to open blind eyes (Isaiah 42:7): Job was eyes to the blind (20:15). We shall give light to others. Help the needy. We have to shine our lights (Matthew 5:14-16). We are His workmanship created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are called out of
darkness into His marvelous light ( 1 Peter 2:9). We have to rise up and shine (Isaiah 60:1) and help others (Isaiah 58:6-10).

5. The blind man believed, obeyed and was blessed. He was grateful for what happened. He is ready to acknowledge: "I was blind, but now I see" (v.25): Forget those things behind and reach forward which are ahead pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward (Philippians 3:13-14). There are failures and
successes in swimming or scientific and technological research for advancement.

Life's experiences prove that our faith takes us to the destination. Preach the Gospel: A proper Christian is a propagating Christian.

6. The neighbors were not ready to acknowledge the miracle. Those who could not understand this miracle are blind. Those who bypass truth and love are blind. They live in darkness. Satan binds the minds of believers: 2 Corinthians 4:4.

7. Jesus is the light of the world: John 1:5, 9; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 46. The Braille system of writing and printing for the blind. The healing of the blind reveals the Christian salvation - from darkness to light (1 Peter 2:9). Should be active as long as there is light.

8. The blind man's faith grew: His comments: A man called Jesus (v.11), a prophet (v.17), a man from God (v.33), the Son of God (vv.35-36). What do we think of Him?

9. Spiritual blindness of the Pharisees: divided
(v.16), called Jesus a sinner (v.24), questioned (v.29), and abused (v.34). Their prejudgment.

10. Nobody noticed when he was blind and asked for help. Now everybody knows him when he was touched by Jesus. The hated Jew became a a faithful believer.

11. The serpent told Eve to eat the fruit so that her eyes will be opened (Genesis 3:1-7). First Eve and then Adam ate, and saw that they were naked. What a contrast?

12. Jews couldn't enjoy the man being cured.

13. Several spiritually blind have been opening their eyes every day to glorify God.

14. God is willing to use the clay (grace). Siloam is the Church. One has to be washed in the Church (baptism, confession, communion) to be cleaned and to see. God created man from clay; here same thing and
gave light. We have to wash our sins through
repentance and confession in the sacrament of the Church.

15. The blind man is Jew. Everybody forsook him, but Jesus didn't.

16. Blind man's witness: "One thing I know; that though I was blind, now I see" (9:25).

LUKE 4: 1-13; MATTHEW 4: 1-11

1. After 40 days and nights of fasting, Jesus was tempted by the devil, but overcame. Jesus quoted the Scriptures to defeat the devil (Angel - Lucifer- plotted against God and was driven out; 2/3 stayed with God). Importance of studying the Bible.

2. As Jesus was tempted, we will also be tempted by the devil all the time.

3. Jesus was completely obedient to God. So should we too.

4. Loyalty is greater than hunger: Deuteronomy 8:3.

5. Worship only our Lord God: Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:10.

6. We shall not tempt our Lord: Deuteronomy 6:16.

7. God is there always to overcome our temptations: John 5:5; Hebrews 4:14-16.

8. Only Do His will.

9. Don't jump into anything thinking that God will help us.

10. Do not compromise with the laws of the world.

JOHN 11:1-46

1. Bethany: House of fig fruits ( 2 miles from

2. Jesus was invited to this house and enjoyed the company several times. Jesus shall be the unseen guest in our homes.

3. Lazarus got sick when Jesus was away.

4. Jesus did not come as they expected. Our
expectation is different than God's.

5. Came after the devil's temptation, arrived on the 4th day, to console His family friends, Martha and Mary, on time like those of sick for 38 years and 18 years were healed.

6. Martha welcomed Jesus, but Mary was slow, because of not getting her wishes.

7. Jesus was testing her love.

8. A lesson about resurrection. Lazarus was raised. We will all resurrect.

9. Jesus sought help from others to move the stone. We have to participate in God's activities.

10. Mary's faith came back. Jesus spent the last Sabbath with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus ... 6 days before the Passover, when she washed Jesus' feet.

MATTHEW 21:1-17; MARK 11:1-11;
LUKE 19:28-34; JOHN 12:12-19

1. Triumphal Entry: The start of the Holy (Passion) Week - Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem is recorded in all four Gospels ... walked from Mount Olive of Jericho to Jerusalem, about 17 miles. (continues to the Last Supper, the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Suffering and Death on the cross, the Burial and the Resurrection).

2. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God. Went along with the Jerusalem entry for the fulfillment of the prophecy (Zechariah 9:9; 14:3-4), even though avoided an earlier attempt to make Him king (John 6:15). No fire works or pompous processions.

3. The only public reception and recognition (Jews expected the Messiah to appear from the Mount of Olive). Royal reception like that of Maccabee (1 Maccabe 13:5; Psalm 118:26). In B. C. 175, Antiochus Epiphanus invaded Jerusalem and defiled, but Maccabees intervened and sanctified. People were happy ( 2 Maccabees 10:7). They bore branches, fair boughs and palms --- sang psalms unto Him that had given good success in cleansing His place. Jesus is here to sanctify the temple (Malachi 3:1; Ezra 9:6)... Jeremiah during the Babylonian invasion, to inform the people, bore rope and yoke (Jeremiah 27: 1-6).

4. Jesus rode on the back of a donkey. Generally walks. Jesus probably had arranged the use of the colt/ass/donkey in advance. John's Gospel suggests that Jesus had much contacts there during the Judean ministry (John 2:13-3:36; 5:1-47; 7:3-10:39). During war time rides on horses, peace time on donkeys. Christ is the king of peace. Christ proclaims that peacemakers are sons of God (Matthew 5:9). It was a procession of simplicity and humility. cf. Genesis 49: 11; 2 Kings 9:13.

5. Why donkey? Reveals Jesus' message and character:

(a) Burden Bearing
(b) Humility and simplicity: Revelation 3:20. Jesus is king and the promised Messiah.
(c) Symbol of peace. Coming with the message of peace on a donkey; not on a horse for a battle. Jesus coming riding on a humble animal to give Himself for His people ... the one used to ride upon a cherub and fly (Psalms 18:10), rides on a poor man's donkey. Jesus had a virgin mother, virgin colt to ride, and a virgin tomb (For sacrifice a calf: Numbers 19:2; Arc on separate vehicle: 1 Samuel 6:7). 
(d) To fulfil prophecy (Zechariah 9:9).

6. Because Jesus rode on a donkey, it also got the respect and welcome. Those who bear witness to Jesus would get the same kind of honor and respect.

7. Royal welcome: "Red carpet welcome" - a welcome accorded to a king. No distinguished guests there, just ordinary people. .. those who were cured and healed. Critics and adorers are also there. Many stayed at home enjoying the worldly pleasures. Several criticized - Pharisees. Some raised protests.

8. Do right and feel great: Children shouted "Hosanna.". Angels said: "Kadeesh, kadeesh"; Humans: "Holy, Holy." "Praise the Lord and glorify the Heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:16). 

It is a sign and symbol of victory over sin and devil. They spread their clothes and palm tree branches on the street. Are the palm leaves for our victory? (Revelation 9:7). At the coronation of the Israel's king, people shouted in recognition of fighting against enemies. Also pilgrims used to sing on the way to Passover (Psalms 118:25-26). Here Christ's royal visit -- king of kings, king of peace, who gave His blood and life... not like others. They followed the one who came in the name of the Lord. Not just anybody. Some of those who praised this day shouted later "crucify, crucify."

9. Don't make Him angry: Jesus went to the temple for cleansing, but got angry when what He saw inside. "My temple is house of prayer." What would He see in our temple of heart? Jesus may cry looking upon us as did for Jerusalem. Hidden now (Luke 19:41-42). St. Paul's narration of Christ's cry for the Galatians (4:13-15, 19). Help without distinction, forgive sincerely, love others immensely so that we won't make Him to cry for us.

10. Let us enter into the temple of hearts. He is knocking at the door (Revelation 3:20). Submit ourselves to God when we praise the Lord. The entry into the temple is our entry to the kingdom of God (Psalm 24). Shall we ready to receive Him with the good deeds of palm leaves at His second coming?

11. Understand Jesus' courage, claim and appeal. Lots of enmities, but didn't mind to come forward, like John the Baptist or Stephen. He is Christ, temple's owner, sacrifice. He is king of the hearts, not of the world. He is king of peace, throne of cross. He came to establish the kingdom of God (Matthew 12:28). The disciples acclaimed Jesus as the promised Christ. The coming of Jesus has full of God's love - toward children, youth and parents who all have part in this (1 John 2:4-17).

12. Jesus' proclamation: Their jealous led them to ask Jesus to control the children to which Jesus answered: ".... if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

13. Participate in the procession understanding the meaning: During the 4th century, the church in Jerusalem instituted on this Sunday a solemn procession from the Mount Olives to the principal church of the city, in commemoration of our Lord's Triumphal Entry. The custom of such a procession of palms soon spread to the churches of Christendom, and became a regular preface to the Eucharistic Liturgy of the day. The congregation participates in this solemn re-enactment of our Lord's entrance into the events of the Holy Week by waving the palms and joining in the procession singing.

14. Cheers, then tears: Jesus wept over the city (Luke 19: 37-41) mainly for two reasons: (a) Because of rejection; (b) Knowing the destruction of Jerusalem (Happened in A. D. 70 with the Roman occupation).

15. This triumphal entry was a symbol of His second coming. We have to hold palm leaves clothed with robes to receive at His second coming (Revelation 7:9). Angels should glorify us by watching us (Matthew 5:16).

 LUKE 22:14-30; JOHN 6: 41-63

1. Jesus wanted, longed to celebrate the Passover with the disciples.

2. Passover commemorates (1 Corinthians 11: 23-25) the suffering and death of our Savior. It is observed on the anniversary of the day that Jesus was betrayed and crucified. We commit our lives and loyalty to Him anew when we observe this festival - our total commitment to Him with sincerity and truth.

3. Jesus loved them, including the one who betrayed, until the end.

4. Old Testament Passover is the remembrance of deliverance from the bondage of slavery (Exodus 12: 21-27) expressing profound thanks and joy. Teach children God's Law (Deuteronomy 6: 6-7). Four kinds of sacrifices in the Old Testament: Burnt Offerings, Peace Offerings, Sin Offerings, Meal Offerings. Passover is a Peace Offering. All these offerings are symbols of Christ's sacrifice. No more blood sacrifices after Christ's on the cross.

5. Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). Why did Jesus Christ have to be the lamb of God? For our first parents' sin, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, is uniquely qualified for the lives of all mankind. Male lambs "without blemish" (Exodus 12: 5-7) were slain for sacrifice. "Without shedding of blood, there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22 cf. John 1:29; Hebrews 10:4). At the beginning of exodus, Israelites killed the Passover lambs on the 14th day of the first month (Ahib or Nisan) of the religious year. The same day of the month, Jesus' blood was shed more than 1,400 years later. New Testament Passover is the continuation of the sacrifice of our Lord. Before crucifixion, Jesus blessed bread and wine and gave saying that they are His body and blood. Thus Jesus established Holy Eucharist (Qurbana). Also declared that He was the Passover lamb offered Himself and told to continue until His second coming. Jesus shed His blood for the New Testament (Matthew 26: 28). Through baptism, we are a new creation (Jeremiah 31: 31-34). Once we receive holy communion, we could not continue as the old person because we are completely new. We renew this in each of our confession and holy communion. This new covenant with blood means we do not go back even if we have to shed our blood (martyrdom). We in Him and He in us because of communion. Christ lives in us (John 6:56). So we should bear lots of fruits. We cannot do anything without Him (John 11:5).

6. Passover was prepared in a large, furnished, upper room. (Luke 22:12). We celebrate Holy Qurbana on a decorated altar. How about our hearts and minds? Are we prepared? Large enough? Cleansed and prepared? Examine carefully.

7. Share the meal the Lord has set before us (1 Corinthians 10: 16-17; 12: 12-13, 27; Hebrews 10: 10, 12, 14-20). We have to receive holy communion on a regular basis and submit us before Him for continued blessings. Don't receive in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11: 26-29).

8. Holy mysteries are for the pure and the holy. Some of the disciples were not: Judah Iscariot (John 13: 10-11; Luke 22: 3). In spite of imperfections, we can reach God through Jesus Christ.

9. Examine ours before we receive holy communion (1 Corinthians 11: 27-29). Without holiness, no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). God hates sin, loves the sinners. Jews complained that Jesus is "eating with and being a friend" of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 3:34; Matthew 9:11). Jesus' coming was to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32).

10. Two people went to pray: Pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:13). Pharisee's prayer: not like other men (robbers, evil doers, adulterers, not even like this tax collector); Tax collector's prayer: "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." What a difference in their prayers?

11. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ( Romans 3:23).

12. King David took three steps after a shattering series of sins. He was composer of beautiful inspiring psalms and a man "after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14). But he had an ugly side (2 Samuel 11)... his relationship with Behtsheba, Uriah's wife. When we make mistakes, most of us try to blame others (parents, teachers, spouses, nutritionists, clergy, etc.). Blame almost becomes a way of life. To solve: (1) Admit that there is a problem (2) Repent and actively confront the problem (3) Ask God - pray - to overcome the problem.

13. Nathan taught David a lesson : 2 Samuel 12: 1-13.

14. Psalm 51. (A). Confessed (vv.1-2: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your kindness; in your great compassion, blot out my offenses."

(B) Repented (vv.3-4): "I know my transgressions, my sin is ever before me."

(C). Changed: "Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me." No excuses, no justification, no blaming.

15. Self-examination: Sins of commissions and
omissions. When thoughts of sins repeatedly come, confess; feel severe pain. Practice the presence of God. Simon Peter and Mary Magdalene confessed their sins. St. Augustine committed all kinds of sins before conversion. St. John doesn't know any kinds of sins. Say "good bye" to sins and have complete surrender to God's will. Feel "nothingness". See us as who we really are...thoughts, feelings, conversations, etc.

16. Penitence: Kneeling is a form of penitence
expressing our repentance and dedication. Jesus wept, (not laughed any time) looking at Jerusalem and also at the death of Lazarus. Abraham mourned when Sarah died; Jeremiah cried for the sins of the people; Job cried; David cried; Nehemiah cried; Mary and Martha cried; Mary Magdalene cried and washed Jesus' feet with tears.

MATTHEW 26-27; MARK 14-15;
LUKE 22-23; JOHN 18-19

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the heart of the Christian message.

1. FRIDAY: End of fast; temptations by the devil
2. SATURDAY: Arrived in Bethany; Lazarus was raised.
3. SUNDAY: Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem; Children praised raising palm leaves; healed the blind and the lame.
4. MONDAY: Cursing the fig tree; enemies gathered.
5. TUESDAY: Conspiracy continued; Lamented on Jerusalem.
6. WEDNESDAY: Supper at Bethany
7. THURSDAY: The Last Supper: Feet Washing (Matthew 26:26-20; Luke 22: 14-23; John 13: 3-17, 21); Departure of Judas; Foretells disciples' desertion and
Peter's denial ; prayer for the Church (Mark 14: 27-31; John 13: 36-38; chapters 14-17).
FRIDAY (the Day Christ was crucified): Night: Prayer in Gethsemane; disciples slept; Angel strengthened (Matthew 26: 36-46; Luke 22:43); Judas arrived with mob, seized, disciples ran (Matthew 26: 47-56). Early Morning: Taken to Annas; sent to Caiphas; Peter denied (John 18: 12-24); Sanhedrim tried for blasphemy (Matthew 26: 57-66); Peter denied 2nd and 3rd time (Mark 14: 70-72; Luke 22: 58-62); mocked, beaten, and spat upon (Luke 22: 63-65); sent to Pilate (Luke 22: 66-71; 23:1).
Morning: Judas hung himself (Matthew 27: 3-10); Pilate, after questioning, sent to Herod (Luke 23: 1-7); Herod returned to Pilate (Luke 23: 8-11); Pilate's attempt to release; rejection; scourging (Matthew 27: 15-26; Mark 15: 21-22; John 19: 1-16). 9 a.m - 3 p.m.: Crucified between two robbers (Mark
15: 25-28); prayed for the murderers (Luke 23:34); soldiers divided the garments (Matthew 27:35); scoffed and mocked (Matthew 27: 39-44); asked John to care for
Mary (John 19: 25-27); darkness all over the land from noon to 3 p.m. (Matthew 27: 45); given sour wine and stabbed; spoke last words and died (Luke 23:46; John 18: 28-30; 34-37). Late afternoon: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodimus claimed the body and laid in a new tomb (Matthew 27: 60; Mark 15: 42-46; John 19: 38-42).

JUDAS ISCARIOT: (1). Traitor (Luke 6:16), betrayer (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19), thief (John), son of destruction and curse (Peter). Jesus said that it would have been good for him if he was not born (Matthew 26: 24).
(2). The word means "The praise of God."; but no one dares to give that name to anyone because of aversion. Parents' hope of their children and the results.
(3). Not used his position and apostleship: Treasurer, sat nearer the Lord at the Last Supper. But he fell from his prestigious position. Very difficult to renew such people (Hebrews 6: 4-5).
(4). Jealousy: He was the only one from Judea. Others were from Galilee. May not have inner position like John, James and Peter, Jealous might have played a part. His love of money and desperation of not happening with Jesus as he expected from Him.
(5). Did not use his time intelligently: Warned that one of them was a devil (John 6:70). Jesus told him directly that he is the traitor (Matthew 26:25). 
(6). Overconfidence: He might have thought that Jesus could overcome all the opposition and arrest easily.
(7). "Akel Dama: "Field of Blood" (Acts 1:19): That is his death place. Peter repented; Judas did not. (more in OUR CHURCH, chapter II)

PONTIAS PILATE: (1) Governor (Luke 3:2), but became afraid of Jesus' situation (John 19:8).
(2). "I am innocent of the blood of this just person" (Matthew 27: 24). He is remembered daily in our Nicean creed.
(3). His conscience as well as his wife who told him that Jesus is innocent. So also the Law was in favor of Jesus. Still he made the wrong judgment.
(4). Joined with the wish of the multitude: Few days back, they said "Hosanna" to Jesus, now they say, "crucify, crucify."
(5). Stood to preserve his own power and authority: When he heard "You are not Caesar's friend", decided against Jesus.
(6). A coward: Sent to Herod; wanted to release either Jesus or Barabas; scourged to satisfy the crowd.
(7). Stubborn: Not to change the title put on the cross "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews" (John 19:19) to "He said, I am the king of the Jews" (John 19: 21-22).
(8). The death of Pilate (from Apocrypha): Roman emperor Tiberias was seriously ill. Heard about a physician in Jerusalem who could cure anyone by uttering a single word. He sent Volusiannus to Jerusalem for more information ... heard from Pilate's palace about Jesus Christ who was condemned to death by Pilate ... disappointed and left .... On the way met Veronica who told her experiences in making pictures of Christ .... she went went with him to the emperor, prayed and the emperor was cured. Ordered to arrest Pilate, but when the emperor saw him, changed his mind. but when Pilate left, got angry again and called back. This happened few times ... realizing the situation, Pilate killed himself using his own sword
... dead body thrown into Tiber river... thunder and lightening.. so thrown into river Ron in Vienna ... problem there too ... so taken to Luzania in Switzerland and buried in between the mountains.

PETER'S FAILURE (Matthew 26: 33 cf. 74):
(1) Peter's great concern turned into bitter
experience: Peter did not want to see Jesus suffered (Matthew 16: 21-22). He said that he will never stumble (Matthew 26:33). Even peter cut the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant at Gethsemane during the arrest event (John 18:10). But later he fled from the scene (Matthew 26: 56), followed the arrested Jesus and stood at the door outside (John 18: 15-16), but later admitted. Here he denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26: 71: to the servant girl; 26; 72: to another girl; and a 3rd time: Matthew 26: 74, to those
who stood by). 

(2) Peter's over confidence: He said that he will never stumble. His personal dependency. Pride and haughty spirit lead to destructions (Proverbs 16: 18). Goliath was fallen by David, the shepherd boy (1 Samuel 17). We should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). We have
to take heed lest be fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). We have to depend upon God's grace.

(3) Ignored prayer: Slept in Gethsemane while the Lord was praying. Samson slept in the lap of Delila that led to his fall. We have to awake to receive the Lord's light (Ephesians 5:14; Romans 13:11; Isaiah 26:18; 60:1). 

(4) Followed Christ at a distance (Matthew 26: 58): Told him to "follow me." No dedication or submission.

(5) Circumstances led him to deny (Matthew 26:58). Sat with the servants at the fireside warming himself: do not sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalms 1:1). Light cannot communicate with darkness (2 Corinthians

(6) Failure led him to victory. Peter went out and cried bitterly (Matthew 26:75). Sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9). The power of God (1 Peter 1:4) kept him through faith to be submissive (1 Peter 5:5) and to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8).

ANNAS, THE HIGH PRIEST (John 18: 13; 19-24):
(1) Questioned about Jesus' disciples and His doctrine (John 18:19): To find fault politically and religiously.
(2) Became high priest by bribing the Romans. Spokesman of the people and president of Sanhidrim. Self-served: Money making business and family oriented affairs.
(3) He hated Jesus because of jealous (Mark 15:9) and because Jesus proclaimed that they were making he God's temple into robber's den that led to loss of income. Same thing happened to Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19:27-29). Also Jesus' questioning irritated them.
(4) Bribery again (Matthew 28:11) .. to the soldiers.

SIMON, THE CYRENIAN (Mark 15:21): (1) Jesus was taken to Calvary - the offering was carried outside the camp (Leveticus 16:27).
(2) Simon was compelled to bear Jesus' cross: An unexpected experience. Though disliked to carry the cross, he did it which made him great. Like Joseph, son of Jacob, who was sold, finally became the prime minister.
(3) Carried another one's burden: "Bear one another's burden." Galatians 6:2.
(4) He did his job faithfully, may be because of his love to Jesus. He is proud of carrying the cross of the Savior.
(5) His family became Jesus' followers. Children Alexander and Ruphos (Mark 15:21) and wife (Romans 16:13) became prominent leaders in the Church. The Cyrene Christians (Acts 11:20) later preached the
Gospel in Antioch.

(1) Rich man: He had a tomb of his own in the garden. Brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes.
(2) Council member (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50): Prestigious position. He made use of it profitably.
(3) Just man: Luke 23: 50.
(4) Waited for the kingdom of God: Mark 15:13; Luke 23: 51: Waited for the fulfillment of the prophecies ( Isaiah 11: 1ff; Amos 5: 25)
(5) Disciple of Jesus: Matthew 27: 57. Like Nicodimus (John 3:3; 19:39), Joseph was a secret disciple. It was a drawback to him (Luke 9:26).
(6) Courageously came forward to ask for the body of Jesus: Mark 15:43): Burial with the help of Nicodemus. Make use of the "acceptable time" and "the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 49: 8).

JESUS' TRIAL: LUKE 22: 66-68

1. No anger to any one: "With malice to none and charity for all." Abraham Lincoln after the Civil War. Jesus was calm and quite... wanted their, conversion. St. Paul was angry. When Pharaoh's soldiers drown in the Red sea, angels thrilled with joy, but God scolded
them: "Aren't they also my children."
2. Jesus is the trial judge, not to be tried: Pilate
was unsteady, Caipha wretched, Annas business man. Judgment: John 3:19 3. The death was the fulfillment of God's eternal goal:
The lamb prepared to be sacrificed .. was ready to accept (John 18:11). Good comes out of the world of evil.


Meditate the cross of Jesus on Calvary with the following thoughts: 

1. Some shouted that Jesus blasphemied against God and should be condemned to death. 

2. Some accused Him of treason and demanded for His execution.

3. Pontius Pilate agonised over what to do with Jesus.

4. The Jewish leaders including the high priest
brought charges against Jesus.

5. Jesus' closest friends disowned Him and fled. 

6. Some followed Him to the cross mourning for Him.

7. Some insulted as He was dying: "Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him" Mt. 27:42. A big challenge. Jesus could have come down, but resurrection is the important event. Jesus came to fulfill the will of God: John 6:38. Peter tried to prevent Him from crucifixion: Matthew 16:22-23. If the cross was the end of the story, it would be a story of tragedy, not victory. Jesus was a conqueror and it was a victory. (Satan's challenge to make stone bread, but Satan failed: Matthew 4:3-4). 

8. One of the criminals executed with Him was deeply moved.

9. The other robber said:" If you are the Christ, save yourself and us" (Luke 23:39). "He was numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12), thus crucified between two robbers. He simply followed others by blaspheming Jesus ... criticized for nothing, may be because of jealousy. cf. the older brother of the prodigal son and Cain against Abel. His prayer like that of the Pharisee vs. the publican. He lost paradise. Learn to love each other.

10. A centurion uttered: "Surely this man was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39).

11. There was darkness between noon and 3 p.m.

12. The curtain in the temple was ripped in to two from top to bottom.

13. Tombs broke open and many were raised from the dead

14. Though Jesus was crucified, he raised from the dead.

15. Jesus was God in the flesh. God came down to reach out humans. God "reconciled us to Himself through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:18). As St. Paul told to Titus, Christians' future rests on the hope of eternal life that God "promised before the beginning of time"
(Titus 1:2). We have to reconcile with Him. As St. Peter says, everyone has "to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

16. Jesus died forgiving (Luke 23:33-34): Trouble forgiving others and trouble accepting forgiveness of our sins. Humanity: "How much you loved us?" Jesus: "This much": Then He spread both of His hands to both sides, rested His head on the cross and died.

17. Died proving the seriousness of sin. First time  when we sin, conscious pricks and sticks ... eventually become a habit. Our sins killed Jesus on the cross when He cried with a loud voice: Matthew 27:46. 

18. Died thoughtful of His loved ones: Concern for His mother (John 19:26-27). A new son and a new mother. Jesus told to cry for them and for their children, not for Him (Luke 23:28). His concern for Mary who washed His feet and also at the death of Lazarus. Told them to cry for those who are the reason for His crucifixion. 

19. Died having finished what He started: John 19:30.  We start several things, but finish few. We change sides. Peter confessed Jesus and then denied. Howabout us? Jesus finished his mission.

1. Judas: For the love of money
2. Peter and disciples: For the lack of courage
3. Annas and Caipha: For prestige and profit
4. Herod: Because of his wife Herodia's instigation
5. Pilate: To please the crowd and to retain his job
6. Soldiers: For their livelihood
7. Jews: Because of their anger for pointing out their follies and drawbacks
8. We: Our sins ("You are the man" (2 Samuel 12:7) Nathan to David.
9. The common people: Misled by the leaders.

1. On Calvary: Adam's skull
2. Between heaven and earth
3. At the center of the world
4. Between two robbers
5. Between Angels and Human Beings
6. At the Center of History: AD & BC.

1. Two disciples slept (at Gethsemane)
2. One disciple betrayed
3. Another one denied
4. Some ran away
5. Women followed and cried
6. Only Angels and Nicodemus comforted

"Bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5, 10)
(Pelican bird feed the chicks with its own flesh).

1. IN THE FACE: They spat in His face, beat Him and struck Him (Matthew 26:67): spat, struck and slapped. When we use our hands for unlawful and insincere things, we are striking Jesus with our hands.

2. ON THE BACK: They scourged Jesus: Matthew 27:26 cf. Psalms 129:3. Plowers plowed. Because the crowd uttered to crucify Him and to release Barabas. Are  we doing
the same?

3. ON THE HEAD: Crowns of thorns: Matthew 27:29. cf. Genesis 3:18 and Isaiah 55:13: Thorns and thistles. Struck on the head: Matthew 27:30. Became out of shape. Are we using our brain against Jesus?

4. HANDS AND FEET: Psalms 22:16. They crucified Him: Matthew 27:35. Pierced nails. Through heresy and walking through wrong paths, we hurt Him.

5. HEART: Pierced His side with a spear: John 19:34. Look on Him whom they have pierced: Zechariah 12:10. Insults broken the heart: Psalm 69:20.

Jesus suffered all these for us. What do we do for Him?" What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits toward me ?" (Psalm 116:12). Make our decisions blended with the blood of Jesus on the cross.


Normally Romans gauged the mouth and cover the face of the crucified. Here an exception, may be to utter the seven verses from the cross. Here is a cross on that same mount where Isaac was taken to sacrifice. Abraham's words: "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering", about 2600 years back. Here is another sacrifice on another altar. The size of the cross depends upon the person, big or small. Here big for Christ and small for the robbers. Soldiers mocked by saying: "If thou be the king of Jews, save thyself." and "Thou that destroyed ... from the cross." The chief priests with elders and  Scribes mocked as: "If He be the king of Israel, let  Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." Garments were divided. Normally those who were crucified uttered under despair, blasphemies and curses. Jesus spoke 7 times from the cross: three times to God, the Father and four times to those nearby: first three for others - those crucified, the robber, and then the mother; fourth to the Father, fifth to quench His thirst, 6th about His triumph, and the 7th, directly to the Father. St. Matthew and St. Mark describe one, St. Luke and St. John three each.
I. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34): During light. Lots of people took part in our Lord's crucifixion. Jesus is not angry against them, but prayed for their forgiveness: cf. Luke 19:41 (wept for Jerusalem). a. This prayer made way for the conversion of many souls. No revenge. The girl who escaped from the murderer of her parents and siblings became a nurse and happened to care the culprit, but served him carefully and revealed herself when he said goodbye by quoting the above verse.
b. New Testament message: No tit for tat as in the Old Testament. Judges 16:28: Samson wanted renewed strength for revenge; 2 Chronicles 24:22: Zechariah prayed for revenge. But in the New Testament, different approach: Acts 7:60: St. Stephen: "Do not charge them with this sin." We should have love and patience: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
c. Words go with actions: Taught to love enemies and pray for the persecutors: Matthew 5:44. Forgive seven to 70 times.
d. They did because of their ignorance: They knew that they crucified a just man. But they did not know this when they crucified; Acts 3:17. Peter to the crowd; because of their ignorance: Paul 1 Corinthians 2:8.
e. Words of hope and expectation: Forgiving spirit. 
II. Today, you will be with me in paradise: Luke 23:43. Jesus was crucified in between the robbers as prophesied (Isaiah 53:12). Darkness started. The two thieves joined bystanders to revile Jesus (Mark 15:32). One of them insulted by saying: "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us" (Luke 23:39). The other, though mocked earlier, repented and rebuked the other and prayed (like Joseph in Genesis 40:14) to Jesus to remember him:" Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (v.42) ... this is our prayer when we kneel down before the cross with offertory on Good Friday ... to which Jesus responded by giving him hope. Those who reject God, their petitions go unanswered. Thief converted at the nick of the time. The Lord marvels at the conversion of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:21-24. The Lord never cast out (John 6:37). Those who surrender get strength to face the present and hope for the future.
a. He really understood Jesus: Pilate asked whether Jesus is king (Luke 23:3; John 19:14-15). "If you are the king of Jews, save yourself": Soldiers (Luke 23:36); "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us": the other robber. "Hail, king of the Jews": Soldiers (Mark 15:18). They were all rebuking Jesus. But this robber believed that Jesus was king because of his personal experiences. Jesus' words to the women: Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children (Luke 23:28); His prayer to forgive those who crucified; He might have seen the inscription:" Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19) in Hebrew (Universal language), Greek (Literary language), and Latin/Roman (Law language). God might have revealed him. He believed that "this man has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41).
b. His humble prayer: John and James wanted high position in His kingdom; David prayed to have mercy on him (Psalms 51:1); Repented publican prayed to have mercy on him, a sinner; thief prayed to remember him. The Lord is rich to give to all who call upon Him:
Romans 10:12-13. Call Him with faith to be saved.
c. Jesus' promise: Will be with Him in the paradise. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly (Ephesians 3:20). Asked to remember: Got the promise to be with Him, not long after, but the same day. To be with Him is the greatest blessing. St. Paul wished for it (Philippians 1:23). After death we are going to be with Him alive.
d. We are saved because of His grace, not just because of faith in action: Ephesians 2:8.
e. The thief on the left is the representative of the goats (also of Judaism who didn't believe) who will be on His left at the great day of final account and the right thief is that of the sheep (also of Gentiles who believed) is of His right and receive blessing. The Jews believed that in heaven itself, there are seven mansions into which several degrees of the elect would be admitted. St. Paul speaks of him as caught into the third of these seven heavens (2 Corinthians 12:20); Jesus also taught this (John 14:2). 

f. In Christ's first word, He exercised his function as High Priest, the second is of promise. The first gives repentance and grace to the sinner; the second opened the door to a great sinner. The first is of with the kingdom of grace, the second is of glory. The thief wants only to remember; Jesus says that he is with Him. The chief butler and Joseph only after two years; here the same day. 
g. Jesus' readiness to receive and pardon all those who turn to Him. cf. Zechariah 13:1. The first saved was thus a thief.
h. Penitence or true repentance has its own reward.
III. "Woman, behold your son.......behold your mother" (John 19:26-27): Concern to His mother. Don't forget one's own (1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus had a trusted friend:
John, the disciple. (First verse was to God, the father; second was to the repented thief; third to His own mother and loving disciple):
a. Lamenting mother is at the foot of the cross: All her life ... pregnancy, delivery, ministry, all led her for worries and concerns ... sword pierced through her soul: Luke 2:35. The forehead, hands, legs His mother kissed and touched are nailed to the cross. Disciples and own people deserted Him. Only mother is
nearby with the beloved children. b. Son on the cross: Jesus lived for others. One of the ten commandments to respect parents. Obey your parents (Ephesians 6:1 (St. Paul). Jesus was "subject" to them (Luke 2:51). A mother's wish to hear son to call her "mother" before she dies. 
c. The disciple at the foot of the cross: Thomas said: "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (John 11:16). Peter: "Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made stumble" (Matthew 26:33. Both of them are gone. All disciples forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). John returned. If we are gone away from Him, let us go back. 
IV. "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabakthani": "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). A cry that in the thick dark ... .darkness all over. Jesus is the light of the world... then how come He cried in the dark? Jesus prayed at Gethsemane to takeaway the suffering (Luke 22:42). Jesus was tempted and tested like us (Hebrews 4:15). We too call God when in agony. Jesus quoted the first portion of Psalm 22:1: Messiah's suffering and exaltation. Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He is God and Man. He made Him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians5:21). Here is a cry of a sinless who was made to be sin. Jesus bore our own sins on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). He is the slaughtered lamb (Revelation 13:8).Sin brings darkness (Exodus 10:21). When emerged with sinners, had to go through unusual experiences. The light shines in the darkness (John 1:15). To work during day. as no one can work in the dark (John 9:4).  Asked the question from the cross representing the sinners. The wages of sin is death. To raise them from the grave (Psalms 49:13-14), Jesus cried aloud. God's  rod and staff comfort us (Psalms 23:4). He sets us on high places (Psalms 18:33) and glory shall come in (Psalms 24:7). Can we be candles in the dark? Because Jesus pointed out their love of money and hypocrisy and the lack of leadership, Jews wanted to destroy Jesus. Judas Iscariot did not change even after spending with Jesus for 3 years. Pilate because of the concern of his job, made the bad judgment. We have to make good decisions with repentance not to sin again and thereby not to crucify Him. 
V. I Thirst (John 19:28): Jesus endured the heat, pain, rejection and loneliness. Darkness started to move. Asked for help ... for a drink and received vinegar (Matthew 27:48) thus fulfilled David's 1000 year-old prophecy (Psalm 69:21). Jesus is thirsty for the lost souls. cf. Samaritan woman and the lost sheep (John 4:34f). Hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). It shows Jesus' extreme passion on the cross. It also shows that Jesus was also human - born of a woman and was brought up as a man. ..was hungry and thirsty, was happy and sad; got angry, etc. As God, walked on the water, calmed the sea, cured the sick, raised the dead, and so on... was king as well as servant... as God promised paradise, as human, was thirsty. Jesus experienced all our pains and hunger and thirst (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15). We have our Savior in such a person: He quenches our thirst.

VI. It is finished (John 19:30): Finished the work on the earth. His work was to teach to love the Lord our God as well as our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Do it with our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). God ended His work (Genesis 2:2). It is done (Revelation 2:6).
a. Fulfilled all prophecies and signs: All the Old Testament predictions completed.
b. Completed all the will of God: At the age of
twelve (Luke 2:49); To finish His work (John 4:34); Finished the work given (John 17:4).
c. Completed the sufferings (Isaiah 53: Suffering Servant). Earlier He said: "My hour has not come yet" (John 2:4); Son of Man shall lifted up (John 3:15); At  the time of Transfiguration about His sufferings (Matthew 17:12); told disciples about the sufferings in Jerusalem (Matthew 16:21); at Gethsemane to take the cup away (Luke 22:42); He bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
d. Completed the fight against the devil with triumph: Colossians 2:15.

VII. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46):
(a) Committed with complete submission (Psalms 31:5) ... could be a prayer before go to sleep. Father: Luke 2:49; 22:42; John 10:18.
(b) Intimate relationship with Father at the time of death: Communion with Him all the time. Daniel, St. Paul and Silas experienced in the jail; even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalms 23:4). (c) Saw the gory of God: St. Stephen (Acts 7:55) 
(d) Laid His life by Himself (John 10:18). We live by faith in Him (Galatians 2:20).
(e) Let us rest in Him: John 10:28-29.


1. Jesus was crucified on Calvary (Latin) or Golgotha (Aramaic) which means skull. It was outside the city of Jerusalem (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12); near a well-traveled road as passersby mocked Him (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:21, 29-30); on a hill to be plainly visible at a distance (Mark 15:40) and the tomb was in a garden (John 19:41.
2. The portrayal of Jesus on the cross is very sacred. The death of Jesus on the cross was the most important act of human history.
3. In the Roman empire, crucifixion was originally the punishment of slaves. Later, foreigners and criminals were executed on the cross.
4. The cross was a symbol of humiliation. Jesus transformed humanity from sin and death through crucifixion (Galatians 3:13) humbly, obediently and voluntarily (Philippians 2:5-8).
5. Crucifixion atones: pays for our sins; crucifixion justifies (spiritually right with God), crucifixion reconciles (takes away the sins), and crucifixion redeems (pays the note of debt): Colossians 1:21-22. 
6. Crucifixion transformed Paul, the persecutor (1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Timothy 1:13) with "Christ, the crucified" and "the message of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18-23). With spiritual sacrifices, we have to take up the cross (Matthew 10:38; Luke 9:23). 
7. The Egyptians symbolized cross life; for the
Greeks, the cross was a metaphor for the four elements of creation: air, earth, fire and water. The cross was also used as defense against demonic forces and to ward off vampires.
8. The cross was once borne by criminals ... only the lowest of criminals: robbers, traitors, and rebels were forced to "bear" it. Now it represents eternal life.
9. The cross was a terrifying symbol for the Muslims during the Crusades.
10.The cross has been imprinted on battle fields and has been an award for valor like the famed IRON CROSS given by Germany and the VICTORIA CROSS by Britain. The US Congress gives the highest military honors of the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
11. The tree in the middle of the garden of Eden represents the cross of Jesus Christ.
12. Human beings are created in the form of a cross.
13. The cross is the symbol of our faith, a sign of spiritual birth and renewal.
14. CROSS: I: Selfishness; Cross is selfishness crossed out + . Sign the cross, wear the cross, bear the cross and adore the cross.


1. Jesus was a person of absolute integrity, humane, compassionate, healer and reconciler, a person at ease with the poor and the outcasts.
2. But Jesus was executed as a criminal, practically abandoned, without the comforts of His friends or the satisfaction of a completed mission.
3. Jesus lectured to His captors, assuring the release of His disciples, befuddling His inquisitor with a mixture of brilliant replies and majestic silence.
4. There is suffering and humiliation involved because of the selfishness of certain people
(clergy), carelessness of the leadership (Pontius Pilate), chaotic attitude of the associates (soldiers) and the helplessness of the multitude (General Public).
5. There was opposition because of His association with the sinners... showed compassion and love, preached, healed and offered hospitality to them, respected women and made them the most trusted followers, and criticized Jewish Law. - In the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer. - Condemned to death: Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke
22:66. - Crown of thorns: Crown, a royal or imperial headdress "..... and plating a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand." (Matthew 27:29). There is a common saying: "What hat are you wearing today?" meaning: "What job are you doing?"; "What role are you fulfilling?"; "What uniform are you wearing?". We all wear a variety of
"hats' every day. Jesus carried our grieves and sorrows by wearing the crown of thorns.
- Jesus takes up His cross: Carrying the cross, Jesus went forth to the place called Calvary ... obedient to the father, like an innocent lamb to the slaughter. - Jesus falls the first time under the cross.
- Jesus meets His afflicted mother.
- Simon of Cyrene is forced to take up the cross.
- Jesus falls a second time.
-Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem and comforted:
"Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children."
- Falls a third time: Beaten with blows and scourges
- Stripped of His garments: They came to the place called Golgotha or Calvary, place of the skull. There they gave Him wine to drink, mingled with gall. He tasted, but didn't drink. They divided His garments among them by lots thus fulfilled the prophets.
- Nailed to the cross: Crucified with two thieves.
- Dies on the cross: Uttered the seven verses.
- Body is taken from the cross.
-Body placed in the sepulcher; Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in a new tomb.
- The Resurrection.


1. Prayer (Matthew 26:36) at Gethsemane

2. Obedience (Matthew 26:39, 42): to do His will.

3. Watch the sleeping disciples (Matthew 26: 45)

4. Faith in God, not in men (Peter and all the
disciples): Matthew 26:35, 56.

5. Forgiveness from the cross: Luke 23: 34

6. Silence during interrogation: John 19: 9-10.

7. Stayed within the boundaries: rules and
regulations: Paid taxes, went to synagogue, taught and

8. Took care of their needs: Mother (John 19: 26-27)


1. Jesus' beloved disciple: John
2. The ear of the chief priest's servant (Malchus)
was cut
3. Peter denied Jesus three times
4. Judas betrayed Jesus and hanged himself and later
Mathias was elected to replace him
5. Joseph and Nicodemus helped for the burial
6. Women, especially Mary Magdalene, first witnessed the resurrected Christ.
7. Thomas did not believe first until he personally witnessed the resurrected Jesus Christ.

 MATTHEW 27:57-66; MARK 15:42-16:1:
LUKE 23:50-56; JOHN 19: 31-42

1. Royal funeral.

2. Like God rested after creation, here after
completing the affairs of salvation, rested in the tomb.

3. Joy of earth and heaven: From Sabbath to Sabbath: Isaiah 66: 23.

4. Preached the Gospel to the departed in the 

hade: Preached to those who could not be converted by Noah's preaching and died (1 Peter 2:5; 3:18-20; 4: 16). They all came and worshipped Jesus.

5. Pray for the dead: 2 Corinthians 5: 9; Revelations
7: 15; 1 Peter 5: 8.

6. In baptism, we are crucified to sin and
resurrected. We have to live in that faith.

MATTHEW 28: 1-20; MARK 16: 1FF;
LUKE 24: 1FF; JOHN 20: 1FF

1. Easter falls between March 22nd and April 26th on the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 21, the vernal equinox (the time in Spring when  the day and night are of equal length). The date of Easter was established by the first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 A. D.

2. Easter is believed to have taken its English name from the Teutonic festival celebrating the return of Spring each year which was called Easter. The French word for Easter, "pyques", the Italian "pasqua", and the Spanish "pascua", came from the Hebrew word "pesah". This is a Jewish feast celebrated on the night of the first full moon in the Spring. The feast of pesah (passover) marks the freedom of the ancient Israelites from the Egyptians.

3. Easter is a wonder to tell, a mystery - the
resurrection of Christ from the dead. It is the "Feast of Feasts" and "the solemnity of solemnities." It is the celebration of Christ the Victor, Christ the King.

4. On Easter, the churches are filled with
worshippers, the altars are decorated with flowers and lighted candles, and the music of the day proclaims the joy of the season. People wear colorful dress on this holy day to express joy and gladness, and children in many places collect and hunt chocolate
bunnies and Easter eggs.

5. Jesus proclaimed His resurrection (Matthew 20:19; Luke 18:23; Revelation 1:18). "Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Christ's resurrection proves that He is the Son of God. Resurrection is the crowning proof of His diety.

6. The Empty Tomb: Friday body was placed in the tomb and a huge stone was rolled against the entrance; Roman soldiers watched; yet on the 3rd day, the tomb was empty. "Why do you seek the living among the dead"
(Luke 24:5). Jesus rose again, appeared to several, talked and ate with the disciples. First the women and then the disciples witnessed. Thomas put his finger in the fingernails and cleared his doubts. Jesus dispelled his doubts. Thomas uttered: "My Lord and my God." Later, Saul (Paul) the persecutor also witnessed Jesus' resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 4-9). Thomas wanted to see before he believes, but Paul had no problem (1 Corinthians 15:3-70). Death happens many
times in our times. Often we must die to our own ego, our own preferences, in order to love others.
7. Christ's resurrection proves that there is life
after death. The astounding news is that life can begin again. It teaches that eternal life becomes a present reality. It is the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). If death is end of all we do, then all what we do is futile. Our end is the beginning of a perfect union. It is victory over sin. Easter egg to teach children that there is life inside and will come out: This is the resurrection from death. Life from lifeless.

8. Assurance to the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 28: 1-20). If Christ is not risen, our faith is empty (1 Corinthians 15:14); we are still in sin (but Christ rose again according to Scriptures: 15:3); and there is no hope for our dead (but Christ is the first fruits of those risen from the dead: 1 Corinthians 15:20).The dead have to rise (Revelation 3: 1-3). Jesus overcame death. That is our hope in our life to rise again. Earthquake at the death as well as at resurrection. Soldiers fell down watching the angels who sang: "Holy art Thou O God." Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Jesus on the cross assured the other thief that he shall be with Him in paradise. Rich man's suffering in the hell because he didn't care about other's suffering.

9. Jesus is in our hearts (Romans 6: 3-7): Nine
month's in Mary's womb; hung on few nails for a while; in the sepulcher of Joseph for three days; rose again and ascended into heaven; sitting at the right hand of the father judging the world. He should be in the inner most part of our hearts.

10. Our faith depends upon this great truth (1 Corinthians 15:14). If Jesus was not resurrected, all the preaching and belief are in vain.

11. Resurrection teaches us that we believe in a living God. Jesus Christ conquered death. He has risen (Luke 24: 5-6). Thomas believed it only after checking it out (John 20: 25-28). Jesus' resurrection turned the world around (Acts 17:6). He can change our lives too.

12. Jesus wipes away our weep. "Why are you weeping?" (John 20: 15) to Mary at the empty tomb. She was an adulterous. But Jesus saved her. Jesus wept at the death of her brother Lazarus (John 11: 32-36). When
blind Bartimaeus cried to help, Jesus stopped and cured him (Mark 10: 46-48). When Jesus saw the widow weeping, had compassion on her and raised her son (Luke 7: 13-15). Here the resurrected Lord called her by name (20:16) and she recognized His voice (John
10:3). "Weep not, I shall not die, and as I leave the land of the dying, I trust the blessings of the Lord in the land of the living." (Edward the Confessor, King of England).

13. Mary was the first missionary who told the
disciples about Christ's resurrection (John 20: 18).

14. The message of Christ after resurrection:
a. Rejoice: Matthew 28:9 (:Rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalms 118: 22-23).
b. Do not be afraid: Matthew 28:10: Moral depression or private battle, fear not.
c. Tell the brethren: Matthew 28: 10.
d. Peace to all: John 20: 20-21.
e. Receive Holy Spirit: John 20: 22
f. Forgive sins: John 20: 23.

15. Resurrection is the foundation of the Apostolic faith (Acts 1:22) and the corner stone of Christian life. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. St. Paul's example (1 Corinthians 4:8). Jesus resurrected Himself and raised some. He will raise everyone during His second coming. He can raise even those who died in sin (A murderer in the jail was presented with a Bible by a visiting missionary. The crucifixion story changed his life).

16. Power of resurrection (Philippians 3:10; Acts 3:15; 1 John 1:1). The scattered disciples were brought together. cf. 1 Corinthians 15: 14. Jesus proclaimed His resurrection: Matthew 20:19; Luke 18:23; Revelation 1:18

17. Goodness overcame evil. Love and peace united within us uniting between human beings as well as with God. God newly created the fallen human race: washed away the tears

18. We shall be grateful to God. Are we?

19. Christ's resurrection from the grave is symbolic of emergence from the long dead of winter. It marks the season of renewal, of rebirth. It gives us profound hope, happiness and contentment.

20. The disciples were glad when they saw Jesus (John 20:20). Their despair due to the lost affairs of Jesus' crucifixion; their fear of Jews and Romans (20:19); their shame (ran away: Matthew 26:33; John 11:16 -Thomas -; women stood by but men ran away); their emptiness because of the absence of their master. When they saw the resurrected Christ, they were glad; all lost ness disappeared.

21. Several witnessed the resurrected Jesus including Saul, the persecutor: 1 Corinthians 15:4-9. Truth is higher than anything (John 18: 37). They crucified truth, but truth resurrected; God is greater than evil, Jesus died for the sinners and resurrected; life is stronger than death (1 Corinthians 15: 20-22,55); love is greater than hate. 

NOTES: 1. In the early Church, baptism was conducted on Easter Sundays.
2. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, gave one week's vacation after Easter.

ST.JOHN 20:19-31

1. Jesus appeared several times to the disciples staying with them 40 days after resurrection: (Acts 1:2-3)

2. This is the first to 10 disciples, empowering them for their ministry.

3. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood in the midst: God is Spirit.

4. Jesus' new message on peace; Love our enemies. Here offered peace three times (Six times in Holy Qurbana: "Peace to you.")

5. Showed His hands (20:20). Son surprisingly asked his mother why one of her hands looks black and weak. She told the story how she saved him from a house fire. Grateful son embraced his mother and looked after even life after death. Jesus showed His hands, the ones pierced in on the cross. We have two hands, legs, feet, ears, eyes, etc., but only one heart. Jesus' hand touched the blind, leper, and performed several miracles.

6. Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord (20:20).

7. Jesus sent to "catch"; to teach and preach: commandment to all of us.

8. Like the Father sent the Son, Jesus sent His discipls with authority to continue His ministry.

9. Breathed and gave them the power to forgive: "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.... if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (20:23).

10. Thomas was not there. That doesn't mean, he didn't get the Holy Spirit. Cf. (Numbers 11:25-26). (Eldad and Medad who were in the tent also received the Holy Spirit). Also forgiving authority was already given (Matthew 18:18), and St. Thomas was there at Pentecost.

11. Thomas wanted a personal experience of Jesus' resurrection. (Peter and John ran to the tomb to see the resurrected Jesus in person. cf. (John 1:1). Mathias was with them at resurrection: (Acts 1:22).

12. Fulfilled the wishes of Thomas by letting him to feel His print of the nails in His hands because of His love to him. Thomas was overjoyed and thrilled and thus cleared the doubts.

13. Jesus asked Thomas to look at His hands: (John 20:27).

A. The hands of creation: The hands laid the foundation of the earth (Isaiah 48:13; 59:1; 64:8); the hands of the Master Craftsman (Proverbs 8:30); the hands of He who created all things visible and invisible (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
B. The hands of Redemption: The pierced hands (Psalm 22:16); the wounded hands (Zechariah 13:6).
C. The hands of sustenance: Everlasting hands (Deuteronomy 33:27); Filled with good (Psalm 104:28); Satisfying hands (Psalm 145:16); Feeding hands (Matthew 6: 26: Birds do not feed or gather).
D. Hands of judgment: Writings of judgment (Daniel 5:24); Judgment of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10): Receive things according to our deeds.

14. Believe by seeing as well as hearing. Believe with or without seeing.

15. Thomas' utterance: "My Lord and my Lord" (John 20:25 cf. Psalm 35:23): Jesus' sovereignty and deity cf. Matthew 16:16: Peter's confession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

16. Remember St. Thomas three times annually; Sunday after Easter, July 3rd, December 21st.

17. Three instances to reveal his character:

(a) Readiness to die with Christ (John 11:6);
(b) His interest to know where Christ is going (14:5);
(c) Desire to see the resurrected Christ in person (21:24).

18. Jesus strengthened the faith: Gave them new enthusiasm.

19. Jesus Christ should be with us all day every day.


"PEACE BE WITH YOU": JOHN 20:19,21,26
1. Christ gives us peace: (John 14:27)

2. This peace guards our hearts and our minds: (Philip.4:7)

3. God is the author of peace: (1 Corinthians 14:33)

4. Christ is the prince of peace: (Isaiah 9:6)

5. Peace is a fruit of God's Spirit: (Gal. 5:22)

6. Humility precedes peace

7. We have to depart from evil to have real peace:(Ps.34:14)

8. When we please God, we make peace with our fellow men also: (Proverbs 16:7)

9. We have to follow the Law: (Psalm 119:65)

10. We have to make peace with one another (Mark 9:50) and we will be blessed (Matthew 5:9): Peacemakers are sons of God.

11. God comforts: (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

12. Word of encouragement does wonders: (Prov.12:25)

13. Peace at the birth of Christ: (Luke 2:14)

14. St. Paul begins his epistles with the exhortation of peace: (Romans 1:4) ; (1 Corinthians 1:32) (Corinthians 1:2) ; (Galatians 1:4)

15. Also General Epistles: (1 Peter 1:2) ; (2 Peter 1:2) ; (2 John 1:2) ; (Jude 5.2)

16. He is our peace: (Ephesians 2:1)

17. Jesus preached peace: (Ephesians 2:17)

18. Peace and righteousness inseparable qualities: (Ps.85:10)

19. Pursue the things which make peace: (Rom.14:19)

20. God fills us with peace: (Romans 15:13)

21. Bond of peace: (Ephesians 4:3)

22. Peace of God to rule in our hearts: (Colo.3:15)

23. Pursue peace with all people: (Hebrews 12:14)

24. Fruit of righteousness sown in peace by those who make peace: (James 3:18)

25. Peace to him who is far off and near: (Isaiah 57:19)

26. Worthy homes receive peace: (Matthew 10:13)

27. Son of peace accepts peace: (Luke 10:5-6)

28. Blessed are the peacemakers: (Matthew 5:9)

27. No peace to the wicked: (Isaiah 57:21)

28. Maketh even enemies at peace: (Prov.16:7)

29. Peace with God: (Romans 5:1)

30. Peace through the blood of His Cross: (Col..1:20)

31. God is the author of peace: (1 Corinthians 14:33)

32. Peace of God keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus: (Philippians 4:6-7)

33. Peace of God rules in our hearts: (Colossians 3:15)

34..........and peace there shall be no end: (Isaiah 9:6-7)

35. Actual Holy Eucharist service starts with prayer for peace.

36. PEACE before and after Gospel Reading.

37. "PEACE BE WITH YOU" six times in Holy Eucharist apart from several prayers and exhortations for peace.

ST. JOHN 21:1-14

1. Earlier appeared in Jerusalem while the disciples were in prayer. Here while in Galilee when in hard work to earn their food. Earlier appeared to ten disciples, here only seven including Andrew and Philipose, may be at the house of Peter.

2. Sunday is the Lord's day. If Sunday is a fun day, week-days shall be weak days. The first meal of the day shall be the Lord's: the Holy Communion. Here Jesus is there with the breakfast food.

3. The disciples went back to work; rather than being lazy.

4. Peter said: "I am going fishing:" Others said: "We are going with you also." Their united front.

5. They went back to their old job even after seeing the resurrected Christ. They are concerned about their future. They lost their faith. Their thoughts about replacing Herod and ruling Israel faded. They lost their hope and expectations (1 Corinthians 15:19). Should not look back after putting hand to the plow: Luke 9:62.

6. Caught nothing that night: Results of going back from promises and decisions. Their fishing days were gone. They went out without seeking the will of God; they forgot that they could not do anything without their Master. Not possible without God: (Psalm 127:1)

7. Jesus got their to help those who forgot Him. God works with us in our need. God's strength and blessings: Psalm 27:1: God is our light and salvation.

8. Did not recognize Him first: If we go astray sometimes this happens.

9. The one Jesus loved most recognized first.

10. No Christ in the night; but Christ there in the morning and big blessings.

11. Jesus did not get angry for going back to their old job.

12. Fishing at the wrong place, side:

13. Obedience enabled them to fish: Listened to Jesus and caught 153 big ones.

14. Fish was the symbol of Christ and Christians. ICTHUS (Greek) = Fish= Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior: First letters of Greek makes ICTHUS: Code for Christians during persecution. Christians were depicted as fish swimming in the water.

15. 153 Fish stand for converts; BOAT stands for Church (1 Peter 3:20); NET stands for Gospel. The net was cast by the instruction of Jesus and lots of people embraced the Church. The NET was not broken (Christ's robe was not torn: John 19:23-25) shows the unity of the Church. 153 fish stand for all kinds of people, according to Jerome. The kingdom of heaven compared: (Matthew 13:47) ;(Ezekiel 47:9) "The Church of Love" in Hebrew. The value of these letters total 153.

16. His presence with us all the time and helps us in trouble:

(a) "I am with you all always, even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).
(b) His "words will by no means pass away" (Matthew 23:4)
(c) We don't have to fear even when we walk through the valley of death because He is with us, and His rod and staff comfort us: (Psalm 23:4)
(d) He is our strength and present help in trouble: (Psalm 46:1-3)

17. They got more than they wanted: He is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20-21). When we do things with His Grace, we get results.

18. Don't' be discouraged for not getting an immediate answer. He never changes: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8)

19. All ate fried fish and bread: Not vegetarian.

20. Jesus gave them bread and fish (John 21:12-14): Symbol of Holy Communion; also at Emmaus (Luke 24:30): Experienced Lord's presence.