Being ‘Avataras’ of Christ – Paschal Message by Lecturer Cincy Mariyamma Thomas of STOTS- Nagpur

OCP News Service – Cincy Mariyamma Thomas – Lecturer at STOTS Nagpur (Faculty of Religions) – 31/1/18

Chris is Risen!
He is Truly Risen Indeed!!!

Christ himself had spoken that, “I am the resurrection and the life” John 11:25, and in that statement claimed to be the source of both. There is no resurrection apart from Christ, no eternal life. Jesus does more than give life; He is life, and that‟s why death has no power over Him. Jesus confers His life on those who trust in Him, so that we can share His triumph over death (1 John 5:11–12). We who believe in Jesus Christ will personally experience resurrection because, having the life Jesus gives, we have overcome death. It is impossible for death to win over us (1 Corinthians 15:53–57). St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians 4:4–5 says, “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.” In other words the redemption or the ransom frees us to be a part of God’s family. We had run away and sold ourselves into slavery. But God pays a ransom and redeems us out of slavery into the Father’s house. Hebrews 2:14 puts it like this, “Since the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death.” In other words, the reason Christ took on human flesh was so that he could die and in dying pay a ransom and free us from the power of death, through his Resurrection.

He came in this world so that the distance that was created between the creator and the created could be diminished. As this Good News is summarised in the gospel according to St.John chapter 3 verse 16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have an everlasting life.”

We read in the scriptures and have also seen in history of the world about many prophets and their lives, and of many great men, and these come down to us through centuries of writings and workings by their disciples, and by the life witnesses and proclamations by their contemporaries. Through thousands of years of chiselling and modelling by great men who lived on the face of this Earth, no one was so crucial ever to have such a mind blowing storm against evil as did our Christ with the help of his simplicity, meekness and such a self less love. He showed us the true path that it‟s not the sinner who has to be destroyed but the sin. And that is possible only by sacrificing one‟s self, and showing the true example. One should get rid of one‟s ego for the betterment of others.

As we examine we find that the word ego does not appear in the Bible, concepts and principles regarding the ego certainly do. The word ego generally refers to an exaggerated sense of self-importance, which usually results is an excessive preoccupation with “self.” But „self-less-ness‟ which in Christ reached a level of „dying of self‟, the polar opposite of ego, is the biblical model for Christians. The Bible is filled with admonitions against the self because of man‟s inherent desire to be worshiped. All the various forms of modern idolatry have self at their very core. The dark forces of this age through the world around, have convinced many that contentment is achieved only by satisfying the urges of self. And we can trace this all the way back to the Garden of Eden where Eve became stirred by Satan‟s lie that she could “be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Scripture is fully exemplifying the need of humility and „self-less-ness‟. In the book of Micah we read, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). King Solomon declared, “Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honour and life” (Proverbs 22:4). One verse that epitomizes why we are to be humble is Peter‟s exhortation in his first epistle: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

In proverbs 16:18 we read “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

i. Pride goes before destruction…. As it did in the angels that sinned, who, through pride, fell into condemnation, not being able to bear the thought that the human nature, in the person of the Son of God, should be advanced above theirs; and as it did in our first parents, who, not content with their present state and circumstances, and ambitious of being as God, knowing good and evil, ruined themselves and all their posterity; and as it has done in many of their sons, and all through the history;

ii. and a haughty spirit before a fall; or, “a high spirit”, or “height of spirit”; a man that carries his head high; looks upwards, and not to his path, he does not see, at what he may stumble, and so falls: moreover, the bigger a person or thing is, the greater is the fall; and that is a scientifically proven fact; the reason being that the moving object has a particular inertia; greater the mass, greater is the inertia; and very often when a man has got to the height of his riches and honour, and is swelling with pride and vanity on account of it, he is on the precipice of ruin, and his fall is immediate; which was the case of Nebuchadnezzar, who while he was expressing himself in the haughtiness of his spirit, being in the height of his glory, his kingdom departed from him, Daniel 4:30; and this will be the case of the man of sin, or antichrist, Revelation 18:7.

Apart from the material gains and the ego associated with that, we have to be much careful with our spiritual ego. for eg. After taking the 50 days lent seriously and doing all the spiritual exercises that church commands, at the end we may feel that we have grown spiritually to a great height. We may have actually grown, but, as soon as this thought comes in us, it creates a spiritual ego in us that shatters our true spirituality. Not only is this the case with the Lenten periods, even in our day to day life we should have a regular check on our spiritual ego. We have to cut short on our worldly as well as the spiritual ego.

We have to rise in our spirituality, and simultaneously fall in our ego or self, that will result in increasing our self-less-ness; so that we can gradually rise to the level of “dying of self” that our saviour showed us. In a way ascending towards “Theosis”, so that we may overcome sin and death, through His resurrection, to be a meaningful Christians who strive for the betterment of the Human race.

As Bhagvad Gita says…यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्ऱाननर्मवनि र्ारि । अभ्युत्थानर्धर्मस्य िदात्र्ानं सृजाम्यिर्् ॥ ऩररत्राणाय साधूनां ववनाशाय च दुष्कृिार्् । धर्मसंस्थाऩनाथामय सम्र्वामर् युगे युगे ॥ Bhagvad Gita, Ch 4: verses 7-8 Swami Vivekananda in his interpretation of the above verse mentioned as follows: “Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself.

To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga.”1 Although this verse of Bhagvad Gita is for the avataras, here in the interpretation “…I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good…” is very true in the case of our savior Jesus Christ. He proved himself one step above all these virtues by giving his life for the establishment of virtue and to destroy evil and to save the good. We are the images of Christ in this world, in a way His avataras in the present age, and have the duty to manifest Christ through us. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good in all the ages to come, as a caretaker of the creations.

OCP News Service