Pharisees

Not the Righteous, But Sinners

Saturday, March 18, 2017

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13 KJV).

Jesus Christ came to save the bad people, not the “good!”

You have probably seen videos of police officers working in the field. They encounter people engaging in many activities—robbery or theft, domestic abuse, prostitution, extremely reckless driving, fighting, drunkenness, and drug use or drug dealing, to name a few. Due to their poor decisions, these souls are in some very tough situations. The religious crowd—puffed up in self-righteousness—dismisses these people as “hopelessly hell-bound.” However, these “sinners” are more likely to come to faith in Christ than those sitting in the church pews! Consider today’s Scripture.

Scripture says “many publicans and sinners came and sat down with [Jesus] and his disciples.” The Pharisees found this revolting! Why did Jesus not associate with them (these religious leaders)? How could He, a supposed “prophet of God” and “religious teacher,” eat with such dishonest publicans (tax collectors) and various “sinners” (people with bad reputations)? The Lord Jesus overheard His critics asking His disciples that question, and He responded: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

These publicans and sinners recognized their sin problem. They also saw Jesus as the only Physician who had the cure for their spiritual illness. Too caught up in religion and their own “goodness,” the Pharisees were content in condemning people who were humble enough to admit their sinfulness. We need many such “publicans and sinners” today, and far fewer “Pharisees!”

A Life That Will Please

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

The Misunderstood Messiah #4

Thursday, December 29, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Society’s anti-Bible, anti-Christian attitude is nothing new. While today’s Bible-believing, Bible-quoting Christian is accused of “hate speech” and “bigotry,” the “non-narrow-minded” face no repercussion for their slandering of the Lord Jesus Christ and their trampling His Word under foot. Due to sin, the world is upside down, and when the Christian attempts to expose it, he or she is to blame. The world wants Romans 3:4 to read, “Let every man be true, but God a liar!”

Like the (self-righteous) Pharisees of old, lost mankind, despite religious participation, has no capacity to stop sin. Never become angry at the world and never let their behavior puzzle you. Sinners do nothing but sin: by nature, man literally knows nothing but sin. As Jesus said to the lost Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44a). What they need is not simply to stop their activity (sins); they need a new nature from God! Today’s Scripture demonstrates the Pharisees’ willful ignorance of their sinful state.

Like the (“educated”) Pharisees of old, lost mankind, despite several degrees, has no capacity to understand the Bible. The Pharisees studied their Old Testament scrolls, yet they were equivalent to today’s average seminary graduate—years of Bible “study” and no (!) Bible understanding. Today’s Scripture demonstrates the Pharisees’ willful ignorance of one of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that foretold Jesus Christ’s coming. They had plenty of philosophy and religion, but they had no capacity to understand and appreciate the Bible. People today do not need degrees to comprehend the Bible; they need the Spirit of God! “But the natural [lost] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [judged, evaluated]” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotional arc….

The Misunderstood Messiah #3

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

The Pharisees are personally attacking the reputation of Jesus Christ, attempting to humiliate Him by saying, “We be not born of fornication.” After denigrating His virgin conception (that is, His deity), they exalt themselves by declaring, “We have one Father, even God.” What irony!

Notice Jesus’ response: “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (verse 42). Had these Pharisees really known God on an intimate level, they would have understood His Word (that is, their Old Testament Scriptures) prophesied the coming of the Man they were now ridiculing. Had these religionists believed the prophecy that God had sent His only begotten Son, they would not have insinuated that Jesus was “born of fornication.” They would have known what He meant by the words, “I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.”

Alas, God’s Word was “foolishness” to their dead souls (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jesus explained why they misunderstood Him: “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:43,47). They could hear the sound of Jesus’ voice, but could they hear with comprehension? Nay, they were spiritually dead, not of God like they claimed. Thus, Jesus told them, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (verse 44).

The Pharisees were spreading lies about Jesus Christ because they were lost. Lost mankind has not changed one bit….

The Misunderstood Messiah #2

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Like the Bible scoffers of today, those during Christ’s earthly ministry rejected the notion of the virgin conception of a human (His own conception).

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just [righteous, fair] man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily” (Matthew 1:19). Joseph, still wondering what happened to Mary, decides to divorce her in secret to spare her from becoming a public spectacle. Suddenly, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and informs him that the Holy Ghost has generated the Christ child in Mary (verse 20).

Imagine the humiliating rumors that circulated: “Mary was a pregnant virgin before she consummated her marriage to Joseph.” The story just did not make sense to most. Evidently, the general Israeli public, unwilling to believe God’s fulfilled Word, believed Mary was unfaithful to Joseph. That gossip lingered for over three decades, which is why the Pharisees said to Jesus what they did in today’s Scripture: “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” In other words, they called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, an illegitimate child, and they claimed they were God’s children! (You can sense the vicious attitude these self-righteous religionists had toward our Lord Jesus, another attempt to intimidate Him into silence, seeing as to they are all in the Temple and a crowd of people is listening to this entire conversation.)

At this point, we need to remember that Satan is actively working in and through these Pharisees. Jesus Christ’s deity is being questioned and His credibility is being attacked, which causes those in the Temple to doubt God’s Word (thereby leaving room for Satan’s error to creep in). Our Lord is aware of this, but He does not waver in His Father’s Word. Let us see how He wisely responds to this insult….

The Misunderstood Messiah #1

Monday, December 26, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

During this time of year, we are mindful of the incarnation of God the Son, Jesus Christ, how He added humanity to His preexisting deity. We know of His virgin birth—or more precisely, His virgin conception—and how it resulted in Him being able to shed His sinless blood to pay for our sins.

The Holy Ghost fashioned Jesus Christ’s physical body in the virgin Mary’s womb (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35), and this lack of a human father resulted in the absence of a sin nature in Jesus Christ. To the unbeliever, the Bible rejecter, such a concept is preposterous. (God and man never “speak the same language” anyway [1 Corinthians 2:14]!) Like today, during Jesus’ earthly life, lost mankind scoffed at the notion of His virgin conception: they reasoned in their own “wise” minds, “Surely, a human father was involved.” In today’s Scripture, we see just a glimpse of this mockery that Jesus Christ experienced throughout His earthly life.

In the context of today’s Scripture (the previous 40 verses), the Pharisees have been extensively, yet unsuccessfully, attempting to trap Jesus in His words and discredit Him. Jesus declares how they reject His words and want to kill Him (verse 37). When He tells the Pharisees that they “do that which [they] have seen with [their] father” (verse 38), they arrogantly appeal to their Jewish bloodline, “Abraham is our father” (verse 39), as if being Jewish guarantees them sinless perfection.

Jesus Christ counters their comment with, “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham” (verse 40). Today’s Scripture is a continuation of Jesus’ reply, and their rebuttal follows, an insult that makes a mockery of His virgin conception….

The Key of Knowledge

Thursday, May 12, 2016

“Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered” (Luke 11:52 KJV).

What is this, “the key of knowledge?”

The best way to handle enigmatic verses in the Four Gospels is to find parallel passages. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John supplement each other. For example, consider today’s Scripture. Matthew recorded a similar statement in his Gospel record: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (23:13).

Although today’s Scripture uses “lawyers” (Mosaic-Law scholars), the “scribes and Pharisees” of Matthew are synonymous. All are religious leaders to some degree. Our Lord Jesus had very harsh words for them—not that He was unkind or malicious. Rather, He publicly rebuked them for their many decades—yea, centuries—of misguiding Israel. They were leading Israel to worship the Law of Moses instead of the God of Moses. But, they behaved as to appear honest, faithful, and good. Jesus unapologetically exposed their hypocrisy.

Comparing Matthew 23:13 and Luke 11:52, we understand these religious leaders were hindering, discouraging, Jews from embracing “the kingdom of heaven” (God’s kingdom on the Earth). They had taken away “the key of knowledge” (today’s Scripture). How? If we keep comparing verses, we see they were suppressing, intimidating, others from believing and sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom—that Jesus was Israel’s King, Messiah/Christ, Saviour.

John 9:22: “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” And, John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

Her religious leaders hiding the knowledge that Jesus was God’s King for Israel, robbed Jews of everything God had for them in their earthly kingdom. Without coming to Him as Messiah/Christ, they could never enter that kingdom!