Working Experience: Mazwe is the Managing Director of Umnotho Wamazwe (PTY) LTD. The company specializes in Commodity Trading, Construction Project Management, Research and Strategic Facilitation on Leadership, Strategy, Trade and Development. He was the Executive Director of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) responsible for Transformation Policy. Before joining Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), he was the Group Manager at Sasol responsible for Stakeholder Relations and Transformation. He is the former Gauteng Provincial Chairperson of the Black Management Forum (BMF). He is the Board member of the Compensation Commission, He is the Board member of the UIF Gauteng Regional Appeals Committee and is also the Founder and Chairperson of Society of Free Thinkers (SOFT).Mazwe is a Leader, Theologian, Bible Teacher, Philosopher and Strategist. Sobantu Community Church, Thubelihle Junior Secondary School, White City Jabavu. Sunday Church services: 10h00 – 12h00
After the feeding of five thousand men, Jesus challenged the Jews: Do not work for food that spoils ..there is a food that endures to eternal life (6:27). This food does not rot but instead nourishes real life forever. Jews as usual in their response challenged Jesus to give them this food just like Moses gave their forefathers manna. In other words, prove yourself! Let’s see what miracle you can perform! Jesus granted the crowd’s request to receive this bread (v35-40). This request for bread from heaven is met by a revelation similar to that received by the woman of Samaria: when she requested the water, Jesus responded by revealing himself to her. Here also, Jesus reveals himself to this crowd and declares, “I am the bread of life” (v35). He is claiming to be that which one needs in order to have life and continue to live. What he said earlier about the one sent from God (v29) and the bread coming down from heaven (v33) is now clearly identified with himself. Jesus as bread is a very significant image in which we can see connections with God’s word. We are not to ‘live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3). Jesus, the bread of life, promises, ‘he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty (v35). He expands the promise he made to the Samaritan woman (4:10; 13-14), vowing to satisfy not just thirst but hunger. He makes this promise not privately to an individual but openly to a crowd. What is required of us is that we come to him and believe. What, then, is needed in order to come to Jesus and actually receive what he offers? There are two sides to this mystery: the divine and the human. On the human side (v35) says we need to come and believe, and later it is said we must hear and learn from the Father (v45). But behind the human is the divine (v45). Those who come and receive have been given to Jesus by his Father (v37); they have been drawn by the Father (v44). The divine will is fundamental, for “no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him” (6:65). It is God’s gracious action in our lives that saves us from beginning to end. If we eat this bread we will never go hungry. This is an open invitation from the Universal Chef who is inviting us to his eternal dining room to eat with him. What a privilege to be a God’s chosen one! You partake in the bread that sustains life forever.
Thank you, Father God, for this bread of life. Thank you for your life. Please grant us this bread and help us not to go hungry again.
Luke 15:11-32 The Lost Son
This parable portrays a sad situation. It shows how property can be disposed of either by a will or by a gift during one’s lifetime. In this narrative, the younger son demanded immediately the full rights of possession over his portion of his father’s estate which he could expect to inherit when the father died. The elder son remained at home and the father retained his rights over the produce of his portion of the estate. The younger son, however, turned his share into cash and departed to enjoy the proceeds away from home and parental control. He squandered everything and became poor and desperate. The friends who had helped to spend the money disappeared. He could find only the most lowly and unpleasant employment possible, especially for a Jew to whom pigs were unclean animals. His desperate state brought him to repentance. He realised not only that he had made a mess of his life but also that he was unworthy to be called his father’s son; he was fit only to be a servant, and he was prepared to humble himself and seek forgiveness. Before he reached home, however, his father was already looking for his arrival and before he could blurt out the whole of his intended confession, his father had welcomed him back into the family, treated him with great honour, and given orders to celebrate the return of one who had been as good as dead. One person, the older brother, refused to join in the celebration and complained at the lavish welcome. He accused his father of failing to treat him in the same manner only to be reminded that all the resources of the home was his. There are some lessons we can draw from this parable: that the disposition of a sinner is selfish. He desires to all that he can, and is impatient of delay. Sinners waste their blessings, and reduce themselves to a state of want. A life of sin brings on spiritual want and misery. Sinners disregard the future woes that will come upon them. When sinners are in prosperity, they forget God. When God takes away their mercies, and then only remember that God can give them comfort. Yes, indeed, our Heavenly Father will always forgive any sinner who comes back to God in repentance. This young man had spent everything. He had nothing. He was far from God; away from his father, in a land of strangers and deserted by his friends. He decided to go back home. If God is willing to receive sinners like this young man, then how should we hesitate to return to Him! No matter what you have done, He is waiting for you with his forgiveness. Turn to him right now while He is still willing and available because the day of mercy will come to an end one day!
Father, we thank you for your mercy and compassion. Thank you for your forgiveness. We pray that you strengthen our faith and restore our souls. We pray for your blessings today in Jesus name and for His name sake!
Philippians 2 “From Humiliation to Exaltation”
Paul writing to the church in Philippi presents what can be called “the mind of Christ” in two major parts, referred to as his ‘humiliation’ (v6-8) and ‘exaltation’ (v9-11). The story of Christ’s humiliation is likewise in two parts: verses 6-7, which deal with the fact that as God he poured himself out by taking the form of a slave/servant in his becoming human; verse 8 tells us that as a human being he humbled himself, obediently going all the way to death on a cross. Part 2 (v9-11) narrates the divine vindication of this self-emptying humbling of Christ: he has been exalted to the highest place and given the Name before whom every created being shall eventually offer obedience and obeisance. The glory of all this is that the self-emptying, humbling One never ceases to be God in his humiliation. Humiliation is a uniquely Christian virtue, which, like the message of a crucified Messiah, stands in sharp contradiction to the values of the world, which generally considers humility not a virtue but a shortcoming. Humility is thus not to be confused with false modesty. Rather it has to do with a proper estimation of oneself, the stance of the Creature before Creator, utterly dependent and trusting. True humility is not self-focussed at all but rather, as further defined by Paul, considers others better than yourself. As with humility, this last phrase does not mean that one should falsely consider others better but in our caring for them, putting them and their needs ahead of our own. Others in the family, church, and/or community are not necessarily better than I am but their needs and concerns surpass mine. Jesus modelled humility and God exalted him. As Christians we are therefore called and encouraged to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ and humbly ourselves and by doing so we shall find our price waiting for us in heaven.
Heavenly Father, we thank you very much for a wonderful model we find in Jesus Christ. Help us to be humbly. Help us to serve others more than ourselves. Grant us the spirit of love, respect and obedience. Above all, grant us that opportunity to see you face to face one day.
Psalm 19: Three Voices in Counterpoint
We can divide this beautiful psalm into three parts:
•the voice of creation: paradox (Verse 1-6)
•the voice of the word: perfection (Verse 7-10)
•the voice of the sinner: praying (Verse 11-14)
1.The voice of creation: paradox (Verse 1-6) throughout space, time and earth, the created order recounts (declare) how glorious is the God whose handiwork they are. But paradoxically though they pour forth speech (Verse 2) There is not speech (Verse 3). The created order both tells and does not tell: it speaks to our intuitions, that there is a glorious God who created such wonderful creation, but its message is limited – it cannot tell about him.
2.The voice of the word: perfection (Verse 7-10) – the Lord has not left us to the uncertainties of natural religion; He has spoken His word which has here six titles: law (vs7) – instruction; statutes/testimony – what the Lord bears witness to as valid; precepts (vs8) – applicable to the small details of life; commands – intended for obedience; fear (vs9) - worthy of reverence; ordinances –authoritative decisions. But also the word has nine qualities: perfect in every part and in its wholeness; trustworthy (vs7) – reliable; right (vs8) – upright of moral rectitude; radiant – pure and free from contaminant; pure (vs9) – purity acceptable to God; enduring – changeless; sure…righteous – true, right, corresponding to the objective norms of truth; precious (vs10) – rightly desirable; sweeter – full of true enjoyment. The word has four results: reviving (vs7) – restoring true life whether threatened by danger or diminished by sorrow; simple – easy to comprehend; giving joy (vs8) – educating the emotions (heart); the eyes are the organs of desire. The word of God instils true objectives and worthy values.
3. The voice of the sinner – praying (11-14) that one who has come under the influence of the divine word finds himself warned and enriched through obedience (vs11); convicted of sin and ready to seek forgiveness.
Father God we glorify your majesty and splendour. We thank you for your wonderful and beautiful creation. Help us to follow your holy laws and always be mindful of our failures and weaknesses. Help us to live lives pleasing and honouring to you. We thank you very much for your protection. Amen!
Psalm 23: Shepherd, Companion and Host
Psalm 23 can be divided into three very interesting metaphors: the sheep and the Shepherd (verses 1-3), the traveller and the Companion (verse 4) and the guest and the Host (verses 5-6). The threefold testimony or affirmations, ‘I shall lack nothing’ (vs1), ‘I will fear no evil’ (vs4) and ‘I will dwell’ (vs6) encapsulates the psalm. Verses 1-3 depict God as the Shepherd and we as the sheep. The sheep-shepherd experiences of plenty (green pastures), peace (waters, literally of every sort of rest) and renewal (restores my soul). The major principle behind our situations and experiences is that God chooses paths of righteousness for us, paths that are right with him, perfect for him, making sense to him. In this He acts for His name’s sake, in other words, in accordance with his revealed character. He is our shepherd. He makes, leads, restores and guides us. Verse 4 God changes from being the shepherd and becomes the Companion. The pilgrim pathways traverse harsher terrain. Shadow of death is really deepest trouble and darkness which include all sorts of challenges even the darkness of death. However, in these experiences the He of verses 1-3 becomes the You signifying His closer personal touch, and the leader who is in ahead comes alongside (with me). The darker the shadow, the closer the Lord! And brings every strength, support, comfort, and protection (rod and staff). Verses 5-6, God becomes the Host and we are his guests – can you imagine…! A table… in the presence of…enemies!
By alluding to both hostile circumstances (Verse 4) and hostile people (Verse 5) the psalm affirms care and protection in every emergency and situation. The anointed head speaks of the Lord’s welcome; the overflowing of the cup His extraordinary provision. But the goodness and love will continue as long as life lasts…
Heavenly Father, thank you very much for your protection, support and provision. We thank you to know that we shall not be in want if we are your sheep. We thank you to know that your presence is always with us. Thank you for your goodness, mercy and everlasting love. Amen!
Mathew 6:25-34 Worry Not God is there
As Christians like any other human beings we always face challenges and problems. At times we become discouraged and desponded but Jesus in this passage warned his disciples and by extension warning us as well against anxieties about the supply of our wants and needs. He does this by four arguments or considerations.
First, is stated in verse 25: ‘Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? In the beginning of the verse he charges his disciples not to worry. God will take care of these… He has given life, a far greater blessing than food, he has created the body, of far more consequence than clothes. Shall not he, who has formed the body and made such a display of power and goodness, see that it is properly protected and clothed? Shall not he, who has conferred the greater blessing, be willing to confer the less?
The second argument is found in verse26, it deals with confidence in the providence of God, ‘look at the birds of the air they do not sow or reap or store away barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Take note you are of more importance than they are; and shall God feed them in abundance and make you suffer? It cannot be! Put confidence then in that Universal Parent that feeds all the birds of the air, and fear not that He will also supply your wants. Your lives are of more importance than theirs and God will therefore provide for them.
The third argument is taken from their extreme weakness and helplessness. Verse 27, “who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life”? God has created you. He knew you before you were born. Beyond his appointment your powers are of no avail and value and you can do nothing . Beyond that appointment of his providence, beyond His care for you, your efforts avail nothing.
The fourth consideration is found on Verses 28-29. It is taken from the lilies of the field. Watch how they grow. They do not labour or spin yet night and day they grow. What about you? “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Verse 33).
Father, you know our lives, thoughts and anxieties. We ask you to release your holy spirit and comfort us in our worries. Take away whatever is troubling us and revive us. Help us to put our trust only in you. Save us from doubts and disbelief. Amen!