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Love Christ through all the Scriptures  
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Reflection on John 18:1-27 2017-03-26 18:43:39

It was Passover, so the moon was full. The air would have been fragrant with the freshness of Spring, but the air near the brook Kidron must smell bloody, because on that day, all the Passover lambs were killed in the Temple and the blood was poured on the altar. From the altar there was a channel down to the brook Kidron and the blood of the Passover lambs drained away. When our Lord and His disciples finished the Last Supper meal and after He had prayed for all believers, He "left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley."  They went out of the city gate on the east side, went down the steep valley and crossed the channel of the brook Kidron which was still red with the blood of the sacrificial lambs. Would the thought of Himself being the true Passover Lamb be vivid on Jesus' mind?

Having crossed the Kidron Valley, they went up the Mount of Olives. On its slopes lay "an olive grove" which was called the little garden of Gethsemane. Only the wealthy people had their private garden on the Mount of Olives. So it must be some wealthy friend of Jesus who gave Him and His disciples the right to use the garden. "Jesus had often met there with His disciples" for peace and quiet time. Of course, Judas who already betrayed Jesus "knew the place" well. He had often rested there, listening with the other disciples to the Master's words. He knew this little garden would be the convenient spot to arrange the arrest of Jesus. "So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons." The authorities had trouble to arrest Jesus when He taught in public, for fear of the people who believed in Him. They were thrilled when Judas came to them to offer his infamous service of leading them to arrest Jesus. There is something astonishing about the force which came out to arrest Jesus. There was a company of Roman soldiers, together with the Jewish police force which were the "officials from the chief priests and Pharisees". A "detachment" could be made up of 200 men. What an expedition to send out almost an army to arrest an unarmed Galilean carpenter! But what a compliment to the power of Jesus! The Gospel according to John made it clear that both Jews and Gentiles were guilty of the death of Jesus who was about to die for the life of the world, the Jews and the Gentiles. "They were carrying torches, lanterns" to search for "the Light of the World". "They were carrying...weapons" to against the "Prince of Peace".

The other Gospels record how Judas kissed Jesus to betray Him. John does not mention Judas' kiss. John makes it clear that Judas is not the revealer but the betrayer, and rather that Jesus will identify Himself. It is not Judas' infamy that brings the success of Jesus' arrest. Rather, it is the Father's will. John also omitted Jesus' agonizing struggle in prayer and the disciples' sleepiness in Gethsemane, recorded in the other Gospel accounts. John kept the spotlight fully on Jesus who was fully prepared for "His hour" to win His personal victory on the cross in His Father's will. He would win without any help from man. Salvation itself involves no man's work. It is God's own work. 

When Jesus was fully prepared for the work of salvation, His disciples seemed deeply sleepy and did not notice the torches flickering through the olive trees and the feet tramping on the ground as the soldiers and officials reached the garden. Unlike His disciples, Jesus was fully aware of the soldiers' approach and took the initiative. "Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’" The soldiers and officials must have thought that they would have to search among the trees and in the hillside nooks to find Jesus with the help of full moon's bright light, plus the "torches, lanterns" brought by them. Far from hiding, Jesus stepped out and asked them the same question that He asked His first two disciples when the two followed Him for the first time. This question demanded an answer. The soldiers and officials replied, "Jesus of Nazareth". They referred to Jesus with His most humble and human name among all His names. 

Jesus stood alone, without weapon, as a man from an insignificant and small town in Galilee who is also God. He responded, "I am he". He used the most exalted and divine name "I am" to identify Himself. Jesus' self-identification produced dramatic effects. The soldiers and officials "drew back and fell to the ground. Judas the traitor (who) was standing there with them" must have fallen back as well. People falling to ground in the presence of God are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Here the ones falling are Hi

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Karen的分享#20:跟车护航 2017-03-26 18:33:45

又到了跟着孩子高中乐队,合唱队出门表演比赛的日子,有幸陪着一大群高中生开开心心地过几天。如果出行的距离不算太远,只需要当个跟车的就好;今年,陪他们从冰雪未融的新泽西,飞到阳光灿烂的奥兰多,在迪斯尼表演,就多了个护航的任务。四年前陪着孩子们来过一次,那些孩子都毕业了,这次是另一拨了。

每年陪着孩子们出来,都有故事,最常见的是突发的小状况,好在还没让我赶上什么大事情。小状况处理好了,就变成了温馨的记忆,回想起来引人发笑。这次,我们十几个跟车护航的家长,陪着一百九十二个孩子们,加上两个老师,分乘五辆校车赶到机场。刚上高速,就发现四辆车走错了方向,还遇到前方车祸。等到大家终于在机场集合好了,一个女生突然发现找不到钱包和证件了,因为我们在孩子们上校车前,不厌其烦地一个一个查过他们的证件,推想她很可能是丢在校车上了,所以,当领队的那位家长赶紧打电话让校车司机开回来。还好,女孩的证件钱包找回来了,她也破涕为笑,没耽误跟着大家飞到迪斯尼来。

我们这十几个跟车护航的家长,主要的任务就是干杂活,从跟在孩子们后面捡遗失物品,到发奖结束,照完像后,给他们的奖杯打包装车,都归我们管。这不,刚刚才到旅馆,我们手里已经收了三件外衣,一副墨镜,左喊右喊都没人认领。出门在外,孩子们丢三落四是常见的事,只要不是急需的,他们不着急认领,反正有人替他们收着,等真要用到的时候再找不迟。这些跟车护航的家长们服务周到,孩子们还没到旅馆,网上买好了的零食饮用水就送到旅馆等着他们了。每天晚上,家长们要负责查房,早晨,也要叫他们起床。晚上他们有什么状况,都可以随时找这些家长们帮忙。这次出门,我和一位当护士的妈妈同屋,昨天夜里,我睡到三点左右,有个孩子感觉不舒服,来敲门找我的同屋,当然也把我吵醒了。和这么一大群高中生一起出门,想把觉睡足了是万万不能的。我每次和他们出来,都连续几天睡不够觉,往往在等他们排练,等他们演出时,抽空打个盹补觉。每天最累的时候,是把他们安顿好了,家长们和老师们还要开会总结当天的教训,处理问题,然后讨论第二天的行程,确保紧张的节目安排不出意外。

过去这两个晚上,每天都要讨论孩子们把公园入场券丢了怎么办最好,因为可以打保票,每天都会有孩子弄丢。也要讨论集合地点哪里最合适,也可以打保票,总有孩子找不到。至于每位家长什么时段到指定地点值班,这个基本上不会搞错,如果忘掉上岗时间,一个电话打过去,相关家长马上到位,值班时也闲不着,我在岗位上时,曾遇见过一桩事,一个女生的肩膀被太阳晒疼了,跑来问我怎么办,我不敢不上心,赶快打电话问我们中间当护士的家长,这位家长背着急救包很快赶来,给女孩的香肩上涂了一层清凉的薄荷牙膏,我也学了一招呢!当然了,孩子们如果丢了吃饭钱,家长中总有几个会抢着替孩子买饭。因为今天是演出日,昨晚的讨论会开得更长,我累得没听进去大家说了些什么细节。好在我是管钱的,他们都争取不安排更多事情给我,所以我在行程上糊涂点没大碍的,只要记住什么时候发零用钱到孩子们手上就可以了。因为这些跟车护航的家长们事无巨细都给孩子们打点好了,所以孩子们只要听话跟着走就行了。车开得快慢他们不屑操心,飞机晚点他们就在机场和朋友玩牌,玩游戏,吃饭有人替他们安排好,零用钱也随时发给他们(事先从他们家长那里收齐的),丢了东西有人替他们保管,缺少什么告诉家长们一声,往往帮他们解决。他们只负责拉琴,唱歌,开开心心和朋友们玩就够了。难怪每年出来表演比赛,孩子们都抢着参加。

我也记得多年前,我的大孩子还上小学时,我们全家开车出门旅行,有一个朋友恰好借住在我家,看见我们把零零碎碎的东西都装上车,再把一个个孩子绑在座椅上,感叹道,小孩子跟着家长出门真幸福,什么心都不用操,只负责享受就好了,我当时听了她说的话直点头。现在,我们这帮家长带着高中生们出门,他们也不需要操心,因为家长们替他们事先操好了心。

我自己当跟车护航家长替别人家孩子操心时,往往干得挺开心,因为不太走心,专注于做具体事情就好了。但安排自己家旅行时,往往操心上火,记得以前每次全家来迪斯尼度假时,都是孩子度假,大人紧张,假越度越累,经常在心里感慨,恨不得自己当孩子。可惜还没过够当孩子的瘾,就成了替孩子操心的家长了,长大了真的好玩吗?我好像更喜欢当孩子。可惜当孩子的往往更盼着长大,是长大,不是变老。

其实呢,我也不必太难过,虽然在地上已经成为家长,在天父面前,我一直是个孩子。天父还让主耶稣替我承担犯所有罪,做所有错事该遭到的死罪,保证我永远不会被赶出天家,永远是天父的孩子。更妙的是,天父还让圣灵住在我的心里,和我在一起,祂是最爱我,和我最亲近的那一位,替我操心,让我时时刻刻享受祂同在的美好和平安,让我的生命成熟,越来越有主耶稣的样式。有圣灵替我操着心,我在走天路,走回天家的路时,真应该像孩子们那样轻松,只需要听话跟着走就好了,何需自己操心呢?



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Karen讲故事#77:士师基甸 2017-03-20 07:54:42


【士师记6-8章】

以色列的第五位士师基甸登台上场前,经上说,“以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,耶和华就把他们交在米甸人手里七年。” 耶和华曾兴起远方的美所不达米亚人,近处的摩押人,土著的迦南人轮番上阵,欺压以色列人。这次,神兴起游牧民族米甸人来欺压他们,这个游牧民族说不定从哪个方向入侵,不易防御。

以色列人前面几次遭侵略时,好像还可以凑合着过日子,只需按时给侵略者上个供,送送礼就好了。这回可不一样,经上告诉我们,“米甸人压制以色列人,以色列人因为米甸人,就在山中挖穴,挖洞,建造营寨。” 有没有搞错,耶和华把祂的子民带到迦南流奶与蜜之美地享福,子民们竟然沦落到在山中打洞藏身的可怜地步。而且,“以色列人每逢撒种之后,米甸人,亚玛力人和东方人都上来攻打他们,对着他们安营,毁坏土产,直到迦萨,没有给以色列人留下食物,牛,羊,驴也没有留下。” 这些米甸人不仅自己过来随意抢劫毁坏以色列人的土产和牲畜,还招呼着别的族人一起来,还大大方方地明着抢,不屑暗中夺,索性“带着牲畜帐棚来,像蝗虫那样多,人和骆驼无数,都进入国内,毁坏全地。” 这多如蝗虫,密密麻麻的侵略者,加上他们的牲畜,抢完了还要毁,搞得“以色列人因米甸人的缘故,极其贫乏,就呼求耶和华。” 看见了吧,以色列人在一拨又一拨的侵略者手下的日子越来越难过,这回惨到要住在洞穴里,连饭都不一定吃得饱。日子过得这么惨,他们竟然还熬了七年才“呼求耶和华”。

这次以色列人呼求耶和华,耶和华没有像以前那样,马上给他们兴起一位士师拯救他们,而是先“差遣先知到以色列人那里”,对那些把神的话当耳旁风,忘得差不多了的以色列人说,“我曾领你们从埃及上来,出了为奴之家,救你们脱离埃及人的手,并脱离一切欺压你们之人的手,把他们从你们面前赶出,将他们的地赐给你们。又对你们说:我是耶和华你们的神。你们住在亚摩利人的地,不可敬畏他们的神。你们竟不听从我的话。” 这位替神传话的先知明确地说明了,以色列人拜假神,得罪了独一真神,所以一次又一次地受侵略者压迫。可惜不知道有几个以色列人知道,他们为什么一茬接着一茬地受罪。将要被神兴起的士师基甸就不甚明白,为什么以色列人要受这份罪。

当“耶和华的使者向基甸显现”时,“基甸正在酒醡那里打麦子”。这里说的是基甸在酒醡里,不是酒醡边上打麦子,简单的说,基甸是在一个坑里打麦子。他偷偷地在一个坑里打麦子,是为了不引起米甸人注意,生怕这好不容易留下的一点儿粮食,也吃不到自家人的嘴里。可是,稍微有一点儿打麦子概念的人都会想到,需要借助风力使裸麦粒和脱落下来的麸皮分开。酒醡这种坑里是没有风的,基甸选择在这种地方打麦子,要多无奈有多无奈。夸他一句吧,作为养家糊口的男人,他还真尽心尽力了。以色列人藏在洞里过日子,躲在坑里打麦子,这七年受压的苦日子,可以想象一下了。

不管怎么样,基甸这个卖力地在困难时期想方设法为家人谋福利的男人,听见耶和华的使者对他说,“大能的勇士啊,耶和华与你同在!” 使者称基甸是“大能的勇士”,是在夸他什么呢?那个时候,他充其量也就是个肯为妻儿卖命的男人,看来为家庭负责任的男人,在神的眼里是“大能的勇士”。当然,这个“大能的勇士”也有可能是预言他以后的光景。被称为“大能的勇士”的基甸,听了“耶和华与你同在”这句话,不太认同啊!他委屈地回话说,“主啊,耶和华若与我们同在,我们何至遭遇这一切事呢?我们的列祖不是向我们说,耶和华领我们从埃及上来吗?他那样奇妙的作为在哪里呢?现在他丢弃我们,将我们交在米甸人手里。” 基甸一点都没认识到以色列人拜假偶像才是他们受压迫的根源,反而埋怨神置他们于不顾,错的太离谱了!对于基甸在这个大问题上的认识错误,神没跟他理论,没准儿是因为这个问题的答案很明显,而且神已经让先知对以色列人说过了。其实,世世代代的人都愿意为他们受的苦难,跟神讨个说法,神难道没解释过吗?人们又何曾听得进去呢?

看着一肚子委屈的基甸,耶和华说,“你靠着你这能力去从米甸人手里拯救以色列人,不是我差遣你去的吗?” 神不管差遣谁去,都会把能力赐给这人。基甸此刻还真够有自知之明的,也可以说他够自卑的,我从他以后的表现看,不敢说他谦卑,只敢说他自卑。他回答说,“主啊,我有何能拯救以色列人呢?我家在玛拿西支派中是至贫穷的,我在我父家是至微小的。” 基甸没说他自己的本事大不大,他说他出身太卑微,背景不强大。耶和华对他说,“我与你同在,你就必击打米甸人,如击打一人一样。” 虽然米甸人多如蝗虫,在神眼里,击打他们和击打一个人没什么区别,这种能力,神也会赐给祂要差遣的人。

听了神的话,基甸不敢相信,他要确认一下,到底是什么人在跟他讲话,差他做事,看来基甸是个小心谨慎的人。他说,“主啊,我若在你眼前蒙恩,求你给我一个证据,使我知道与我说话的就是主。求你不要离开这里,等我归回,将礼物带来供在你面前。” 主说,“我必等你回来。” 接下来,基甸回家预备了山羊羔和无酵饼,把供物带来,摆设在神的使者面前。神的使者神仗引火,“烧尽了肉和无酵饼,耶和华的使者也就不见了。基甸见他是耶和华的使者,就说:‘哀哉!主耶和华啊,我不好了,因为我觌面看见耶和华的使者。’”  看来,基甸刚刚才确认了,跟他说话的是耶和华的使者,先前他并不确定的,所以他开始没觉得怕,没觉得自己“不好了”,因为他不知道自己亲眼看见了“耶和华的使者”。在他跟本就不认为对方是真神使者时,就轻易地将礼物带来供上,是不是拜偶像假神啊?那么他此刻怎么突然确定了,跟他说话的是真神了呢?这是因为只有独一真神是不需要人们的供应的,所以把供物烧个干干净净。而假神偶像们是对人们有所需求的,偶像和罪人们在互相需要的时候,会互相利用,偶像是不会把供物烧干净的,会留起来用。

耶和华看见基甸终于明白过来是谁在和他讲话了,也有了敬畏之心,就安慰他说,“你放心,不要惧怕,你必不至死!” 基甸听了这话,应该跟我们听了福音又相信的感觉一模一样吧!罪人被神免去罪的惩罚就是福音。难怪基甸马上敬拜神,给神“筑了一座坛”,表达他敬拜感恩之心。当天晚上,神就派基甸做事,神让基甸做的第一件事,不是“从米甸人手里拯救以色列人”,而是先从自家除去偶像。神要基甸出手


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