Human Beings: Not for Sale!

by Bishop Aaron Yap


Recently, I read a news article reported by Al Jazeera dated 28th March 2017 that the selling price of a baby in our country ranges from RM3,500 to RM6,700. This is not new but something that has been going on for a long time. There are people out there who abduct children for illegal activities or as a form of illicit business to generate income. On the other hand, probably out of desperation, there are buyers who could be couples who could not bear any children.

 

Another form of ‘human beings for sale’ is ‘human trafficking’ and our country has been exposed as an important hub for such activities. Perhaps another form of human trafficking could be found in how we treat our ‘domestic help /maids.’ It was reported that the majority of trafficking victims are among the estimated two million documented and an even greater number of undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia. In addition, the more than 150,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia lack formal status or the ability to obtain legal work permits, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking. Further, children from refugee communities in Peninsular Malaysia are reportedly subjected to “forced begging.” (Please refer to SUHAKAM, and the U.S. Department of State – on 2016 Human Trafficking in Persons Report for more.)

 

In Psalms 8:4, “4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” God is shown to be mindful of human beings. This thought is also found in the beginning of the Creation where the Bible states that when God created human beings, God blessed them: “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over (Or take care) the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28) God blessed what He had created and He blessed human beings at the end of His great masterpiece. As such, we as God’s creation should also treat each other with respect.

 

God created, equipped and protected us and human beings are called to cooperate with God, to serve Him and to constantly fight evil. It is the particular responsibility of human beings to work for good in this world and to promote justice and peace.

 

Even if all that were set aside, see how great the price that God had paid for us, in Galatians 5:1, “1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” God has treasured each of us to the extent recorded in John 3:16-17, “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Since all of us have been liberated by God’s grace and our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us that we should love one another, we should not then enslave each other in different forms of slavery as outlined above.

 

Who can condemn the children of God since Christ had died for them? Bear in mind that since the inception of our Church, we have heard and continue to hear and read the wonderful sharing of our members, friends and associates, near and far of God’s Grace and Love. We – Human Beings: Not for Sale! This is one of the Sub-Themes in our 500 Years of Reformation Commemoration. We hope to hear more from you, as all of us are created in God’s own Image (Imago Dei)! We can share on how we treat each other with due respect and how this brings trans formative lives in your own context and experiences!

 

 

From the Cradle to the Cross

 

One of the more popular Christmas Carols, ‘Infant Holy, Infant Lowly’, begins with ‘Infant holy, infant lowly, For His bed a cattle stall; Oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the Babe is Lord of all.’ The wise-men, or Magi, ask King Herod, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2) The angel appears to the mother of Jesus Christ by saying, “32He (Baby Jesus) will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end…35So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:32-33, 35)

 

Am I worthy to receive this gift of Christmas – our God, Lord, King, and Savior Jesus Christ - who came as a helpless and vulnerable baby? Many of us think that in order to receive the gift of eternal life, we need to do something great to earn it! Good works such as serving God; giving a lot of money to earn a place in heaven; helping a lot of people to meet these qualifications; or even to the point of giving up our lives! Yet the Bible speaks a different language, a different type of understanding and message. Many of us miss it, and even more people missed it during Jesus’ time! Not even the religious authorities and scholars discovered this mystery of God in which He sent His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to this fallen world.

 

God sent His Son to save the world. But who expected God to send Jesus Christ into this world as a baby? A baby is so weak and feeble! A baby needs parents and others to take care of him! This baby is so vulnerable! Who expected Him to save the world? The Word of God prophesied long ago concerning this coming Savior and Messiah! In addition, His coming points to His death on the Cross and then to the Empty Tomb! John rightly pointed out in John 3:16-18, “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

 

This baby needed to grow like any other, and eventually to a path that others would not take. He was wrongfully accused and punished by hanging on the Cross as per 1 Peter 2:22-24, “22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”” From the cradle to the cross, His life given! Who will do such a thing when they know that their coming also points to their ending (on earth)?

 

This is the mystery of God! This is the unconditional love of God! This is the Gift of God! This is the Promise of God! Admitting our own shortcomings and weaknesses, we just cannot understand it all! Just receive it with wide open hands! Just believe it whole-heartedly! Just keep trusting Him on who He is! His ways are not our ways! His thoughts are not our thoughts!

 

May each of us be truly blessed in this Christmas Season with His everlasting presence! The ever presence of our God Immanuel – Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord of life! And with a new outlook and hope in the coming New Year – 2017, which also marks the 500 Years of Reformation (1517-2017)! May this spirit of Reformation continue to reform and transform us and LCM for His Glory! Amen.

 

The Bishop and EXCO of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia wish everyone God’s blessings this Christmastide and into the New Year.

 

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