Saturday, December 25, 2010

Android Developers newsgroup post on Christmas

I was amazed to find this post yesterday on the Android Developer newsgroup, obviously from a sincere Hindu, completely ignorant about Jesus and Christmas. I hope he reads this explanatory link

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: saurabh sinha
Date: Dec 24, 9:50 pm
To: Android Developers


there is bitter truth behind christmas which I felt personally when
jesus was on earth nobody cared him
even he was punished by some bad people on cross sign including some
innocent people

but while dying he said to everyone I am dying for all of you and
today everyone missing him
its just a formality of doing and celebrating christmas

I mean to say when we have anything near we dont care but after
missing that same thing we start caring

well by the way this christmas inspiring to us we should care everyone
and never make any difference
it does not matter who is big or small matter should be good for others

but you know everyone celebrating no body think what are the main
reason behind this celebration

I thought deeply and paid homage to that great man who came on earth
and was good human being that is JESUS

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anil Philip's blog: Jesus touches a leper!

Anil Philip's blog: Jesus touches a leper!

Jesus touches a leper!

When I was growing up in Bangalore, my grandmother had to walk up a hillock, cross the railway tracks to go to the market (see map). One day, she came back shaken. The leper who used to beg near the hillock, had apparently tired of life and one night, went and lay down on the tracks. The train came through and chopped him up into pieces. My grandmother saddened, wondered at how he must have despaired of life. she had tossed him coins, and exchanged a few words (I don't know if she gave him the gospel).

At school, we learned that leprosy was incurable. That one's skin became desensitized to pain and fingers, noses, arms and legs gradually rotted away. I used to be scared at the thought of contracting this dreaded disease, and would hold my breath passing by one of 'them' so as not to breathe in the virus. If I tossed one a coin, it would be from afar. Lepers were usually beggars and pushed themselves on small wooden carts with trundle wheels where they begged at train and bus stations and markets. They were shunned by society and had no family, wandering instead in groups. People avoided them. (picture of leper and also here)

With this background, I was amazed when I read this sentence in the passage:
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
 14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5)
 Jesus touches a leper! For a Rabbi, this was unthinkable. It made Jesus ceremonially unclean according to Old Testament law in the Torah.
But think of why he did this. He could have healed the man with a single word as he did on so many occasions. Jesus did not need to touch the man. Yet he did.

To be touched is a universal human craving. Some years ago, Romanian orphanages found babies died mysteriously even when they were well fed. It was found that they were fed but left alone by themselves. When they were picked up and held and carried, the death rate in these orphanages diminished.

The man craved contact from another healthy human being. Being shunned from society meant that only another leper could touch him. People recoiled and shrank in horror when he approached; he had to loudly announce his presence in advance calling out, "Unclean!". The wound inside his soul was deep. Not just his rotting flesh, but his wounded soul needed healing. Being touched by Jesus even when he was diseased meant he was accepted and cared for.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)
Furthermore, I believe that Jesus did not simply give him a light tap. I believe that Jesus really placed his hand on the leper's body so that the significance sunk into the psyche of the man.

Yet another arresting instance of the compassion of Jesus.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The birth of Jesus

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2:6-7)
When I read these lines, I had to stop. The thought struck me. I had the mental picture of a baby, all wrinkled, eyes half open and wrapped in rough cloths and placed among some straw. Weak, vulnerable  and defenseless (although there were invisible angels guarding him). Jesus ate the same food and shared the discomforts of his poor working class family.