PCEA Stands Easter 2021

“Double Agent” day and “Alabaster Boxing” day - Wednesday 31st March

Scripture Matthew 14: 3-9/Luke 7:36-39

 In the Passion week countdown, we arrive on Wednesday.

  • Wednesday the day before Holy Thursday
  • Wednesday two days before the crucifixion of Jesus
  • Wednesday double agent day
  • Wednesday Alabaster boxing day

My colleagues will elucidate on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I want to briefly focus on Wednesday “double agent” day and “Alabaster Boxing” day. These two polar opposite events took place on Wednesday of the Passion week journey. Wednesday’s events were a critical part of the Holy week journey. Let us look at what I refer to as double agent day. In order to understand the gravity of this day we have to briefly look at the role of the twelve Disciples who were chosen by Jesus. They were envoys sent out to towns to teach, preach and work miracles . They were the ones closes to Jesus, his confidants. The 12 messengers were entrusted with the authority over demons and given power to heal the sick and raise the dead. One of the 12 Disciples was a man named Judas Iscariot. It was on Wednesday of the passion journey we see that Judas agreed with the religious authorities to betray Jesus. The bible does not give us the details regarding what events, or factors caused Judas to switch sides. The gospel accounts gives us different hypothesis as to why he switch sides: Greed, possessed by the Devil, he was fulfilling prophesy, he was politically motivated, he was disillusioned by Jesus because he expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman empire. Our purpose today is not to weigh the probability of the various hypothesis. We have seen and will see how every event this week leads to Calvary. Wednesday, the defector Judas agreed to give up his allegiance to The Christ. The very one who called Judas to follow him and entrusted him with the good news. Judas agrees to abandon his cause and betrayed Jesus by turning him over to the authorities which lead to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Let us move on as we continue our Wednesday, passion journey.

I find it Ironic on this very Wednesday we have the first, the original boxing day instituted by a “sinful” woman. The paradox of this day, we spoke of Judas a trusted , confidant, a member of the “Jesus squad” i.e. the 12 disciples, turns out to be a double agent. On the other hand we see a woman who is described as a “sinful” woman, this was a way to describe a woman who was a prostitute. Yet, this so-called sinful woman’s, wisdom, spiritual insights led her to deeply understanding the significance of the time. This woman’s discernment caused her to pull from her traditions to point us to a new understanding of who God is. The Alabaster box during the time of Jesus was used when a woman was at the age of marriage; her family would buy an Alabastra Box. The woman would fill it with ointment. When a man would ask her hand in marriage the woman would break the box at his feet, anointing his feet was to show him honor. Wednesday, during the week of the Passion of Christ, the woman’s prophet act showed her insights and understanding of the pending death and the need to prepare Jesus for his death by anointing his body with ointment. This act had a symbolic meaning which we will see fully on Thursday. The people of God, the church becomes the bride of Christ, praise be to God. These two polar opposites of Judas and the woman converge at the cross. The message as we journey together this passion week and reflect on Wednesday is twofold: #1 Christ’s death on the cross was for Judas, the one who betrayed him. #2: This women, who lived a life of shame because of labels society put on her did not allow the labels to paralyze her. She understood her calling, the act that she must perform was to break the Alabaster box and anoint the Master, with love. Wednesday “Alabaster boxing day” Mary as some biblical passages refer to her, poured her praise on Jesus through her act. Mary used what she had her gift of hair to dry his feet. Mary poured her life without measure, she did not count the cost of the perfume. This so-called sinful woman understood what it meant to be in the presence of Jesus, to be forgiven by The Christ. The cost of the oil was not a factor when she thought about the price Jesus would pay for the sins of the word. The so called “sinful” women points us to the deeper meaning of Christ, the price He paid on the cross for our sins, in contrast to the Judas, the one who was entrusted with the insights into the life/purpose/ mission of Christ.

In the Name of the one who died so that we might have life, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Prayer: Thank you Loving God, for the journey we are taking with you this week. Speak to us afresh each day as we reflect on your word. Amen

By Rev. Phyllis Byrd Ochilo

Have faith in God - Tuesday 30th March

Rev. Dorcas Kamau

Read Mark 11:22-25

In the Holy Week, we follow the story of Jesus on his journey through Jerusalem. On Palm Sunday people stood on the side of the road waving Palm branches when he was riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. Doing so, Jesus was fulfilling the prophesy of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9).

While in Jerusalem, Jesus taught his disciples many lessons using parables, illustrations and asking and answering questions. The cursing of a fig tree is one illustration Jesus used to teach his hearers. Jesus said,” Have faith in God.” (Mark11:22).The scene is in Jerusalem and the time is few days before his death. In the immediate context, he had used a fig tree with nothing but leaves to illustrate the barren state of Israel due to unbelief.

The big question we need to ask ourselves is how important it is to have faith in God. 1 Peter 1:3-12 shows how important faith in God is.He gives us a great picture of faith,a faith that we can anchor deep with, and a faith which holds us during the storms of life.

In Mark 11:22-25, Jesus is teaching two conditions for effective prayer. The first is faith in God. He continues to say that if we want to do impossible things, we must have faith in God. We must have faith that God can do the impossible (Mark9:23,10:27).

At a deeper level Jesus is saying to us that we need not to despair, but have faith in God. He goes on to say that through faith our prayers are answered.

The second condition for effective prayer is forgiveness. Jesus teaches that we should forgive others so that our Father in heaven may forgive us.

Prayer

Our heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing of Easter. Teach us to have faith in you. Help us to pray without ceasing. May we have forgiving hearts. We pray all this in Jesus name.

Amen

Jesus clears the temple again - Monday 29th March

In Mark’s Gospel, chapter 11 in particular, verses 11-21, we Jesus’ activities following on to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, recorded in the previous section of this gospel. In this passage see unusual incidences:

  • The cursing of the fig tree
  • The cleansing of the temple.

The cursing of the fig tree was an acted-out parable related to the clearing of the temple. The temple was supposed to be a place of worship, but true worship had disappeared. The fig tree showed promise of fruit, it produced none. In these instances, Jesus shows his anger at religious life without substance. If we claim to have faith without putting it to work in our lives, we are like the barren fig tree. Genuine faith has great potential. The Epistle of James tells us that faith without work is dead (James 2:14-17).

In this passage, we see that Jesus got angry but did not sin (vv. 15-17). Here see that there is a place for righteous indignation. Christians have a right to be upset about sin and injustice and should take a stand against them. Unfortunately, believers are often passive about these important issues and instead get angry over personal insults and petty irritations.

As our wake-up call this Easter Season, Christ would urge us to practice true religion, that is, to visit the sick, take care of the weak and provide for the hungry. This is the true religion whose fruits are visible, productive and helpful. How about injustices and corruption in our society today? If we are angry about these vices let us discuss them with authorities and leaders since doing so is the first step towards bringing any change where we live.

In this passage, Jesus also talked about prayer as an essential feature in Christian life, a feature that changes circumstances which we may find ourselves in from time to time. God will answer our prayers, Jesus said (vv. 24-25), but not as a result of our positive mental attitude. Other conditions must be met:

  • We must be believers
  • We must not hold a grudge against anyone
  • We must not pray with selfish motives
  • Our request must be for the good of God’s kingdom.

To pray effectively, we need faith in God, not faith in the objects of our request. If we focus on our request, we will be left with nothing if our request is refused.

May God help us this Easter Season to practice true religion and learn to pray that God’s kingdom may come to us, live among us and change us.

Prayer

Great God, cleanse your church of fake piety, overturn our greed, and let us be a holy people, repentant, prayerful, and ready to worship you in Spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.