From Vicar's Desk
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,
By the grace of God, after the annual General Body, we are able to enter into a new working year. I would like to thank all the Office bearers, Executive Committee members and Auditors of the year 2019 for their dedicated service and look forward your prayers and support for the new Executive Committee members and Auditors. Let us pray for God’s blessings in our parish and in our families.
We are entered into a Lenten season and requesting your prayerful participation in it. 50 days lent (February 23 to April 12, 2020) with careful reading of Bible, possessing a penitent heart and interceding for others, would make our spiritual journey more nourished and blessed.
St. Mark 10:45 (parallel in St. Matthew 20:28); “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The importance of the word Ransom in the ministry of Jesus
To understand the mission of Jesus Christ and a careful study of the Christology requires an in-depth research on the word ransom. The word simply means; “a sum of money paid for the release of the prisoner” or “obtain the release of (a prisoner) by making a payment demanded.” This word ransom (lytron in Greek) does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament. In extra-Biblical literature, lytron denotes the price paid to free slaves.
Context: the saying (Mark 10:45) appears at the climax of a dispute about greatness precipitated by the request that James and John receive positions of honor in the coming kingdom. Jesus explains that the true greatness according to him, consists in service. This teaching culminates in the ransom saying. From this context (after Mark 10:45) the Gospel of Mark focuses more on the passion narratives of Jesus and Jesus begins to give explicit teaching about the necessity of his death. The words of Jesus indicate that Jesus clearly understood the mission of his ministry.
Isaiah 53 and the image of the suffering servant is clearly read in the background of ransom saying. Both the words of Jesus and Isaiah 53 combine the ideas of servanthood and atoning death. Texts tell us that servant voluntarily giving his life (vicarious suffering). The purpose of his coming to earth was to serve others. This service included giving his life for them after the pattern of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. The cost paid here to free humans is his life. The emancipation of the many including us, are accomplished at great cost, the death of Son of Man. This has a substitutionary significance. Paul in Romans 5:17-19 brings the same teaching, one’s obedience and death bring eternal life for many. The annual observance of valiya nombu is to recognize the importance of Jesus’ sufferings in our life. Let us trust that his blood acts as a remission of our sins. May we all have a meaningful observation of lent. God bless you all.
Sam Philip Achen