Mourning into Joy | Holy Monday: Tough Love | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 3 of 10

Love is not always meek. My mother loves me a lot. I know this, not only because she is good to me. But because she scolds me, and corrects me when I need correcting. Christ demonstrated this bolder side of love, post His meek entrance into Jerusalem. He cursed a healthy-looking fig tree. And raged through the various vendors at the temple. Because the Israelites had lost the plot. They were more concern with being religious superficially, than knowing God authentically. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22) If the Israelites really cared, they would have known what their patriarch David himself wrote: “you do not desire a sacrifice (oh! LORD), or I would offer one”. (Ps 51:16) But the whole pretext of littering the temple with various vendors was to facilitate the ease of offering sacrifices; as Israelites came from various different places – travelling long distances. From that perspective, what a reasonably noble thing those vendors were doing. But that’s not what YHWH desires. But beyond that, the superficial religiosity was keeping foreigners away from God. Jonathan Parnell wrote:

The great sadness of this scene wasn’t so much the rows of product and price-gouging, but that all this left no room for the Gentiles and outcasts to come to God.” (Pg. 27)

This scene was sad, because according to Isaiah’s vision foreigners and outcasts were to gather with His people. (Isa 56:4-8) Do you understand now, why Christ did, what He did? He cleansed the temple – because He loved us. He corrected the Israelites because He loved them; and most importantly, He loved us – foreigners and outcast, who without Christ’s intervention would have remained outside of His covenant.

So – dear reader, do you understand, Christ’s bold move wasn’t a reaction against an unexpected sight – seeing corrupt money lenders in the temple. No. He is sovereign, and omniscient. He knew it already.

This was a lesson He wanted His disciples to learn, and for us to know. It is not a bloated religiosity that He wants. A fig tree no matter how healthy, without good fruits, is only destined for condemnation. What Christ wants – what YHWH wants is our hearts. And no one, absolutely no one can bear good fruits, until He is planted in the one who says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5, ESV)

So dear readers, this is why Christ cleansed the temple. So that we could be gathered into Him; so that we could abide in Him, and bear good fruits. Let us take comfort in knowing that this same Christ, is willing to clean our hearts and make us a temple that glorifies His name. Because nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love, that is manifested through Christ for us. (Rom 8:38-39) To God be the Glory.   


Series Index: (1) Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week (2) Palm Sunday: Sovereign Mercy

Mourning into Joy | Introduction: Why Observe the Holy Week | Holy Week | Devotional Series | Part 1 of 10

Observing the Holy Week has always been a polarizing ritual for me. Because, I’ve always felt it to be a virtue-signing act. Perhaps that is my own inner crookedness, that I cannot accept that anyone could even observe this ritual genuinely. Secondly, and this used to be my go-to excuse – (that) the scriptures never made it mandatory. But as I grow older, and as I learn to spend more time meditating in the scriptures – I find that it is not I but Christ that leads me into discipline and obedience towards holiness. (Matt 19:26) In other words, it is not by our strength, but by the virtue of God’s grace that we can genuinely observe the Holy Week to its full effect.

Though it is also true that the scripture does not make it an obligation to observe the Holy Week, but it sure does – undeniably builds us up towards it. The Old Testaments swells up to this point. This is the week, when the promise of salvation was about to be materialized. The Devil was to use all its might, the saints were to see the last of the trying times as sinners-unrepentant, and Christ – God, Christ was to lead us through this darkness – like YHWH led the Israelites through the parted Red Sea. The Holy Week, this ordinary week, may not mean much to the world, but for the believer it is nothing less than historic. Apparently, that’s why, all the four Apostles dedicated a major part of the Gospel to this week (alone). Because it was during the course of this week – that Christ changed our fate. He suffered everything we were meant to suffer. And showed us what obedience and perseverance meant. He took the wrath of God for us, and showed us – it is He – who was to come – and paid the full payment of our sins. And most importantly, it was during this week – He demonstrated the Father’s love for us – and bought us the prerequisite holiness to be united with God.

But beyond these reasons – that are grounded in the Biblical past, there is one that I find absolutely convincing. The reason why we should observe the Holy Week is because this is a wonderful opportunity for us to walk with Ekklesia – the body of Christ. David Mathis explains this better. He writes,

“Marking Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and through the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless realities.” (Pg. 1)

How wonderful that is. I hope dear reader, that you’ll join me in relishing this wonderful opportunity – in walking with Christ and His Church, this Holy Week. Blessed Greetings.


NOTE: Daily Devotions will start from Palm Sunday i.e. 5th April ’20, 9 AM (IST). And end on Easter Sunday i.e. 12th April ’20. You can also subscribe the blog via email to receive the devotionals directly in your inbox.   

Peace, Love, & Joy | Pass Me Not | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 19 of 27 | December 18, 2019

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” – Fanny Crosby[1]

The greatest danger to our faith is not a hostile government. Our danger is not even our trials and tribulations. Our danger is not a failure in our private business venture. It is not a failure in our career. It is also not a broken marriage, home, or family. It is not social evils, ostracization, or any form of discrimination. The greatest danger to our faith is none of these. The greatest danger to our faith is disbelief.

Rev. C. B. Samuels in his sermon “Nevertheless: The Government is on His shoulders[2] expressed how we forfeit the joy of Salvation every year. (Is 9:3) Because we only want to celebrate the baby Jesus on Christmas. Because we do not want to confront Jesus the Son on whose shoulder the government will be established. (Is 9:6)

There are two reasons why we don’t want to confront the Son on Christmas. First, we don’t want to confront out sins. And second, we don’t want to submit to God.

The message of the advent was/is clear and simple: “repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Mat 3:2, NLT) The response to this message is same now, as it was when John the Baptist preached. Some stepped forward, repented, and were baptized. And some malign the very act by their mere presence. A majority of us fall on the second lot. This is how we forfeit eternal life, and its inherent joy. We take comfort in the fact that we are born (brought up) in a Christian household, or lived in a Christian community, or know a Christian, et cetera. We take false refuge in the fact that we identify as Christians – which automatically immune us from eternal damnation. The Baptist retort “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.” (Mt 3:8-9, NLT)

The second half of the message, is the announcement of YHWH’s Sovereign Rule. “The Kingdom of Heaven is neara son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.” (Mt 3:2, Is 9:6, NLT) YHWH not only demands submission, but He declares, He is going to take it. But we don’t want to give up control. We don’t trust God enough to satisfy all our needs. We don’t want to submit to Him. We want to be the God of our own lives. And so, we forfeit the entire Kingdom of God.

Christ concluded this reality, in clear coherent words to Nicodemus. “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God… I assure you; no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (Jn 3:3, 3:5-6. NLT) Let us pray, and seek Christ, that the Holy Spirit would regenerate our hearts and save us from our own disbelief. So that we could repent, be a part of His Kingdom.


[1] https://mereorthodoxy.com/reading-the-hymns-pass-me-not-o-gentle-savior-2/

[2] Delhi Bible Fellowship South, 15th December 2019


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him