Malankara World Journal Issue 67 Holy Week SPL 1 is available online
- The Malankara World Journal Issue 67 Holy Week Special 1 (March 29,
2012) is available online at:
We are at the beginning of the Holy Week. Holy week officially starts on
Monday, April 2. But the festivities starts on Friday, March 30 - the
fortieth day of the Great Lent. Saturday, March 31 is the Lazarus
Saturday and Sunday, April 1 is the Palm Sunday which is also known as
The Lectionary reading for the Fortieth Friday is the temptation of
Christ by the Satan. The revised Lectionary for the other churches
specifies the Temptation of Christ for the first Sunday of the Lent and
the Raising of Lazarus for the last Sunday of Lent. This certainly
raises the profile of these two important feasts in the eyes of the
common laity as many do not attend church on weekdays except during the
Jesus started his public ministry after the 40 day lent and the
temptation. His last miracle before the passion was the raising of
Lazarus. Raising of Lazarus is extremely important for its symbolic as
well as spiritual significance. Jesus may have used the raising of
Lazarus to predict what is coming. He allowed Lazarus to stay in the
tomb for 3 days like Jesus was going to be; he resurrected Lazarus on
the third day as was going to be the case with Jesus on the Easter Sunday.
The Lazarus story also shows the sheer humanity of Jesus that is
highlighted by the shortest verse in the bible, "Jesus wept." (John
11:33) Pastor Edward F. Markquart from Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle,
Washington describes the scene in his poetic, eloquent language thus:
"When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who came with her also
weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. Martha
went back home to find her younger sister and told her that Jesus wanted
to talk with her. Mary left immediately with her grieving friends to
find Jesus. She too approached Jesus with the same testy reproach,
"Jesus, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died."
But before Jesus could say anything, Mary burst into tears and so did
all her grieving friends. What was Jesus' response to her tears? The
Bible says that he was "deeply troubled." The underlying Greek word says
that Jesus "shuddered with sadness," so much so that his body shook with
emotion. This word in classical Greek is used to refer to a horse, when
it snorts. When a horse snorts, the horse's whole body shakes; and so
Jesus' whole body shook or shuddered with emotion.
You and I have experienced this often in life, where we are so grieved
and sad, that our whole body shook with sorrow.
Then will come that classic line, the shortest verse in the Bible.
"Jesus wept." In our antiseptic way, we imagine a single tear running
down his face. Rather, the Greek suggests, Jesus "burst into tears."
So here, in this little episode with sensitive Mary, we hear no classic,
eloquent teaching about eternal life. In fact, there are no words at
all, but simply strong emotions and bursting tears that shake his body."
In his book, 'The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself' Daniel B.
Clendenin explains the significance of the 'weeping Jesus' thus:
"The God whom Christians worship is not a remote and aloof 'sky god'
somewhere way out there. No, He's a tender God who is deeply moved, even
grieved, by anything and everything that threatens our human well-being.
This compassionate and empathetic nature of God is the reason why the
Scriptures encourage us to bring to Him every anguish, confusion, anger,
perplexity, and anxiety. Stoicism is not a Christian virtue. Like Mary,
Martha, and their neighbors, the Psalmist for this week demonstrates
this sort of visceral scream to God (Psalm 130:1–2):
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
We can pray to God like this because we know that He weeps when we weep.
We place our hope in Him because, as the Psalmist continues, He is a God
of 'unfailing love' and 'full redemption' (Psalm 130:7). Our God doesn't
only empathize with our many pains and sorrows. He also acts. Jesus wept
with Mary and Martha, and then he raised Lazarus from the dead."
That is the difference in the Christian God. We worship a living God who
has defeated death, sacrificed his only begotten son who died for our
sins. Our God understands us and weeps for us like the father of the
prodigal son and Jesus when he was here on earth.
With all the emotions running high when we read the Lazarus story,
another factor that is often overlooked is the most important confession
of Martha on the resurrection and her testimony that Jesus is the
Messiah. Another important point to note is that although Lazarus is the
central figure in this incident, he does not say a word! He was like
Joseph, a man of action and few words!
Let us take a look at Martha's confession:
Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who
believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives
and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' She said to
him, 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the
one coming into the world.'
Jesus responds with the divine name--ego eimi, "I am." "I am the
resurrection and the life"--zoe life. He goes on to explicate both
resurrection and life. Those who "trust" (pisteuein) will live again
even if they die, and those who "live" and "trust" will not die at all.
Zoe life is not only "life eternal," but true life--the essence of life,
the Life Principle itself--right now.
This is one of the seven "I am" teachings in the Gospel of John. In
John's gospel, there are seven signs and there are seven "I am"
teachings. It is worth reading this important 'I am statement of Jesus.'
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes
in me, though he die, yet shall he live. Whoever lives and believes in
me shall never die. Do you believe this?
This is the greatest proclamation of the bible - basis of our Christian
Creed. It is an Easter proclamation. We human beings know that we will
all physically die but here Jesus immortalized the truth of the gospel:
WHOEVER LIVES AND BELIEVES IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?
Pastor Edward F. Markquart eplains the importance of this thus:
'Then Jesus gave a word that has become one of his most treasured
teachings: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and
believes in me will never die!" Will never die! It is one of the great
lines of the Bible. Then Jesus asked one of the most important questions
found in the Bible, "Do you believe this, Martha?" What a question. Do
you believe this? Do YOU believe this? Do you believe that whoever lives
and believes in me will never die?"
Martha answered, "I believe. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son
of the living God and that whoever lives and believes in you will never
die." That is an incredible conversation, and we could stop here but the
The word, "believe," is a dominant word in the Gospel of John. That word
occurs more than sixty times within this gospel. The purpose of the
gospel is to tell the Jesus story so that we may believe and that in
believing, we find power, abundant life and eternal life.'
Please read the full sermons given in Malankara World and meditate on
them to grasp the full impact of today's bible readings. We have three
important feasts of the church packed into three consecutive days.
Hopefully, you got a taste of the importance of them from the synopsis
God willing, we hope to bring out two more special editions for Holy
Week. The next issue will cover Monday thru Monty Thursday. Another
special edition will cover Good Friday to Easter.
We encourage you to visit our extremely informative Malankara World
Special Supplement for Passion week with several eBooks that discusses
the seven words of Jesus on the cross:
as well as our Great Lent Supplement:
May God bless us all.
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Table of Contents Issue No: 67
1. Editor's Note
2. Bible Readings for Friday, Saturday and Sunday
3. Sermons for Friday, Saturday and Sunday
4. Inspiration for Today
God is faithful.
5. Featured: Palm Sunday and What Jesus' Passion Means to Us
Christ arrives a king triumphant today and dies as a criminal on Friday.
Christ is honored with palm branches today and crowned with thorns on
Friday. Christ is adored with singing today and mocked with jeers on
Friday. Christ is born in victoriously on the foal of an ass today and
bears the burden of the cross on Friday. ...
6. Book Excerpt: With Christ In the School of Prayer - Lesson 30: The
Ministry of Intercession
A priest is a man who does not at all live for himself. He lives with
God and for God. His work is as God's servant to care for His house, His
honor, and His worship, to make known to men His love and His will. He
lives with men and for men (Heb. 5:2). His work is to find out their sin
and need, and to bring it before God, to offer sacrifice and incense in
their name, to obtain forgiveness and blessing for them, and then to
come out and bless them in His Name. ...
7. The Priest Does Not Just Do a Job ... He Is a Man Impassioned for
Christ by Pope Benedict XVI
I know that there are so many parish priests in the world that give all
their strength to evangelization, to have the presence of the Lord and
of his sacraments. I have said that it isn't possible to do all that one
wishes to do, which perhaps should be done, because our strengths are
limited and the situations are difficult in a society that is
increasingly diversified, more complicated. ...
8. No Accident
Jesus was born crucified. Whenever he became conscious of who he was, he
also became conscious of what he had to do. The cross-shaped shadow
could always be seen. And the screams of hell's imprisoned could always
be heard. This explains the glint of determination on his face as he
turned to go to Jerusalem for the last time. He was on his death march. ...
9. The Importance of Loving Every Aspect of Christ
So many people today love the "soft" side of Jesus, yet they forget
about the fact that He will also judge. So as you worship Christ,
remember that while those pictures of a sweet, gentle Jesus are true,
they're only part of the picture of the Lion and the Lamb who loves, but
will also judge. ...
10. Family Special: Coming to Terms With the Past
God does not want us to be forever burdened with our past sins. .. So
too is the promise for our marriages, which so often bend under the load
of sins, both past and present. We must be honest with ourselves, with
the Lord and with each other about memories or habits or activities that
may be eroding our relationship and then deal with them. But we can do
so in the joy of knowing that in Christ we can find forgiveness,
restoration and a new start. ...
11. Health: Studies Find an Aspirin a Day Can Keep Cancer at Bay
Three new studies added to growing scientific evidence suggesting that
taking a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent, and possibly treat,
12. Recipe: Pessaha Appam (INRI appam)
One of the favorite recipes for the traditional bread for Pessaha. More
recipes can be found in Malankara World.
Two middle-aged couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of
the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to
last month?" ...
14. Position, Motivation
Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn't seem to get to
work on time. Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late...
15. About Malankara World
Read all the articles and features in this week's Malankara World
Journal online at:
Thank you for your support and help.
In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956