A Message For You --
The New Creation (Part 2)
In the last article we spoke about what St. Paul had to say to the Corinthians (in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5) about becoming a new creation.
We spoke of some understandings concerning what this means for us today. Especially we explored what it means to have a love of Jesus that controls us regarding His commandments and His calling unto us.
We looked that this love of Jesus in terms of loving others, of loving enemies, of speaking nicely about and to others, of being peacemakers, of obeying our parents and our elders, of sharing generously what we have, and of loving and worshiping God in all ways, in all places, and at all times.
If you are like me, you know that Jesus is right and that all these things are very good to do. But they are also hard to do all the time. Why is that?
This is where we must read again the clue that St. Paul gives us in 2 Corinthians 5:14:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”
It is now the second half of this sentence that we want to pay attention to:
“[B]ecause we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”
This part may be hard to understand, but it is very important.
Who is the one who has died for all? Isn’t that Jesus Christ?
And, if Jesus has died for all of us, and we are controlled by our love for Him, shouldn’t we also die for Him?
Does this mean we should really die? No. Not quite.
What it means is that we must work to die to all the things in us that keep us from loving Jesus, from following His commandments, and doing what He tells us to do.
We should die to all the things that hold us from being controlled by our love for Him.
If we want to dislike someone else and not love him, we should think about our love for Jesus and try to love that person.
If we want to say something that is not nice we should think about Jesus’ commandment to us and say something nicer instead.
If we want to get angry with someone and fight with him or her, we should think about what Jesus did and try to make peace.
If we want to disobey our parents or teachers and do only what we want, we should think about how Jesus obeyed His mother, St. Mary, His earthly father, St. Joseph, and His true Father, God, and try to do the same.
If we want to hold on to what we have and not share, we should remember the lesson of the Good Samaritan who gave of himself for the man in need (Luke 10:25-37), and of Jesus Christ Who gave His life for us all on the cross and try to be generous towards others.
And we should love the Lord Jesus, our God, all the time, everywhere, and in all things, with prayers, and praises, and thanksgiving to Him.
In doing these things, for the sake of our Lord and with a pure heart, comes to us the new creation, the new man.
And it is our church that helps us in this: through the words we say and the things we do during the Liturgy in praise and worship to the Lord, through the readings of the epistles, the saints (the Synaxarium), and the Gospel, through all the prayers, and through our blessed communion in the Holy Eucharist, the partaking of Christ’s Holy Body and Pure Blood.
All of what happens in our church happens for us, to take us out of who we are and who we have been, to bring us to whom Jesus Christ is calling us to be: the new creation, which is also Who Jesus is.
We are called to be in Him and of Him, born into the new life and new hope that is in Jesus Christ. As Jesus says to Nicodemus:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
The way that our church helps us, guides us, and prepares us for this new life and new creation, in Jesus Christ and of the kingdom of God, is precisely why our church is so holy and so special.
Beloved, may the Lord, and our church, help us always to be the new creation, for taking off the old and putting on always the new.
A Quiz To Do --
This time, let's do a quiz about someone else who became a new creation in the Lord Jesus: the chief tax collector, Zacchae'us, in Chapter 19 of the Gospel of St. Luke.
Please note: The text for this quiz is taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Your Bible may be a different version and so the wording may be a little different from what is used here.
Mom and Dad, please feel free to help the younger kids:
1. What was the name of the town that Jesus entered and was passing through?
2. What was Zacchae'us' occupation?
3. Why was Zacchae'us having trouble seeing Jesus?
4. What did Zacchae'us do to solve his problem with seeing Jesus?
5. What kind of tree was Zacchae'us in?
6. What did Jesus do when He came to the place where Zacchae'us was?
7. In verse 5, what did Jesus say to Zacchae'us?
8. What did Zacchae'us do after Jesus spoke to him?
9. In verse 7, what did the people say about what Jesus said to Zacchae'us?
10. In verse 8 what did Zacchae'us say to the Lord?
11. And in verses 9 and 10 what did Jesus say to Zacchae'us and to all the people?
Answers to the Quiz
And Some Useful Links --
Coptic Kid Corner (Stories, quizzes, word search, puzzles, games, Coptic language lessons, Sunday school lessons, and more)