Category Archives: Holy week

Get a Glimpse

13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;  

Make no mistake about it – Jesus knew who He was.  He knew He was chosen for this moment, and that He was the only one who could bring redemption to all of mankind.  He knew the suffering that lay ahead, the torture that He would have to face, the public humiliation, the pain and anguish, the betrayal.  He knew it all.  And He never backed away.  That kind of courage is hard to find.  It is even hard to explain.  He could have called a legion of angels at any time to escape this travesty.  His power is unlimited – He could have backed out at any time.

But because of His great love for us, He did not.  He went through the plan laid out for Him from the beginning of time.  The plan that was foretold by hundreds of prophecies, every one of which He fulfilled.  The plan that the Father, in all His love, designed for His only Son.  Jesus knew He would be back with His Father when all this was done.  That was the reward that drove Him forward –  being reunited with His Heavenly father. That should be the drive that keep us about our Father’s business – that one day we will see Him and He  will say “Well done!”

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.  

Have you ever been to a foot washing ceremony?  I have, and it is a very humbling experience.  I have never been the washer of the feet, but I have been the recipient.  There was a sense of intimacy there that you rarely find in church.  A sense of caring and concern for one another.  Allowing your Pastor, or someone in authority, to bow before you, take your feet in their hands and wash them is a somber thing.

I t is also not a pretty job.  Today, we protect our feet pretty good.  They stink a lot from sweat, but most people ave fairly clean feet.  But in Jesus day, they all wore sandals..  They could go days, maybe even weeks, without a good foot washing.  Their feet would be crusted with dirt, and the task of washing them would be a dirty job.  It’s intriguing to me that we hear nothing about the disciples wondering why Jesus is doing this (except Peter, coming up next).  Perhaps it is because typically the host of a feast would have their servants wash the guests feet as they arrived at the house, and the disciples just thought this was Jesus taking care of that task.

I would imagine they were all looking at each other, amazed that Jesus was actually washing their feet.  I can see them just astonished that Jesus, their teacher and Rabbi, the man they had devoted their lives to for the last three years, was now stooping before them doing such a menial task.  I can see them looking around the room at each other trying to make sense of it all, yet submitting to His tender hands as He came to each one of them with the basin.   That is, until He came to Peter.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.  11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.  

We can always depend on Peter for some drama.  I guess that’s why I identify so much with him.  He is inquisitive, cocky and is not afraid to be bold when others are quiet.  Jesus had washed everyone else’s feet, and now He comes too Peter.  No one else had a problem, but Peter was beside himself.  He could not let Jesus stoop so low as to wash his feet!  That would be so far beneath  him.  Peter loved Jesus, and did not want to see him bowing down and cleaning his stinky feet.  Jesus tells Peter that He must wash him, otherwise he would be an outcast.  So Peter, as always, goes overboard and asks Jesus to just give him a bath!  But Jesus assures him the feet are enough.

Have you allowed Jesus to wash your feet?  Have you really gotten a glimpse of the suffering servant who gave His life for you?  We have pictures in our house of Jesus, looking like a model straight out of Hollywood.  He’s handsome and desirable.  But we need to see Him as He was on the cross.  We needs to see the crown of thorns piercing His brow, blood dripping down His face.  We need to see the shredded flesh on his torso, wounds open wide and oozing blood.  We need to see the nails in his feet and hands, piercing through to the wooden tree He as hanging on.  We need to see the bruises on His face from the beatings the Roman guards out Him through.  We need to see Him struggling for breath as he hung there in our place.

Until we see that Jesus, the suffering servant, we do not understand the price He paid for us.  I can still remember the night that  was looking up at the cross at Pure Life Ministry and God gave me a glimpse of what Jesus looked like when he was on that cross.  I will never forget that vision that brought me to my knees in tears and thanksgiving for what He went through to purchase my salvation.  The sight is gruesome, but it needs to be seen by all who claim to call Him Lord.  Ask God for a glimpse of Jesus on the cross today.

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.  

The lesson here is very clear to both the disciples and to us.  We are here to serve, not to be served.  We are here to love, not to be loved.  We are here to give out mercy and grace, not to receive it.  We are here to be servants of our fellow man, and do what ever we can to help them along life’s journey.  When we get  this attitude, Jesus says we will be happy.


Be a Servant.

Today we are going to spend some time in John 12.  Tomorrow, we will look at Matthew 24-25.  Both of these  passages were given on Tuesday before His crucifixion.  They are powerful statements that remind us of who Jesus is, and the sacrifice He is making.  They are also prophetic in nature.  So let’s get started – we have a lot of ground to cover.
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:  21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.  22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.  23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.  25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  
It is not quite clear from the context if Jesus is talking to the Greeks who came seeking Him at this point, or if He is just talking to Andrew and Phillip.  It is interesting that Greeks came seeking Jesus.  If they heard this, it would be the only time Jesus spoke to Gentiles with predictions of His death and the reasons for it.

Jesus is very aware of where He is on the timeline of events   The hour s come when he will be glorified.  He signifies that He will die and be buried by using the corn as an example.  It must die before it can produce fruit.  But then the fruit is multiplied many fold.  He tells us that if we love our life on this earth, we will lose it, but if we hate this life, we shall keep our life eternally.

I do love my life, but I am ready to go anytime.  I do not love it because of my possessions or wealth – I don’t have a whole lot.  I do not have fame, I am not in a position of authority and I am not a powerful person, so none of those things attract me to this life.  What I love is he relationships I have with people on this earth – my family and friends.   I love being able to help them when I can, or offer a  friendly piece of advice, or carry on a conversation.  But I desire heaven.  I am in a position like Paul was when he said to,live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil 1:21).  he was caught between two thing – the joy of heaven and the ministry to the people, which they needed (Phil 1:23-24).  I like Paul, would love to go.  But I know God still has a purpose for my life here on this earth – I am still here.  And so are you!

26 If any man serve , let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.  27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.  30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.  

To follow Christ, we must be servants.  If we are in it to be leaders and not servants, we are not following Him., servant-hood is all he did.  Throngs and throngs of people came to be healed, and every time the word says he healed them all.  They pressed into Him to hear what He had to say.  The Old E F Hutton commercials always reminded me of that (When E F Hutton speaks everyone listens).  He rarely got a break from ministry.  Ministers who refuse to be a servant in the church are missing the mark completely (The Pharisees again are the prime example).  When we serve Christ, the Father will honor us.  And tomorrow we will discuss what it means to serve Christ.

Jesus says His soul is troubled.  Who could blame Him, knowing what lies ahead.  Beating, scourging, rejection, carrying a cross, being nailed to it, dying – He knew it was coming.  What could He say?  He knew He would not be saved from it, because it was the whole reason He came.  so he asks that the Father be glorified through it.  That should be the reason for our ministry ass well – that the Father should  be glorified (Matt 5:16).

This is the second time an audible voice came from heaven and spoke to Jesus.  The first was at His baptism by John (Matt 3:17).  The people hear the voice, as they did the first time, and are amazed.  They couldn’t possibly believe it was God speaking, so they say an angel spoke.  Jesus tells them the voice came for the sake of all those that heard it.

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.  34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?  35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.  

Finally, the prince of this world will be judged.  He had dominion from the time of Adam on that fateful day in the garden.  Jesus is about to become our Champion, and gain the victory for us through His death.  He said He has overcome the world (John 16:33).  His reference to drawing men to Himself when we lift Him up is still used today.  We must lift up the name of Jesus in our church services.  Not our programs, not some sweet little stores, but lift His name.  That is what will draw people to salvation.

The people did not understand what was going on.  They had always been taught that Messiah would live forever.  Why is He saying that he must die?  They did not get the corn analog He used earlier, that He would live again.  So Jesus says they should walk in the light while it is still with them.  Do you think this made them understand?  Ii think it confused them further.  It confuses me.  He will be leaving in two days, never to be seen of them again..  Two days to walk in the light of revelation he was giving them.

This speaks to he need to accept Him now, not later.  Now is the accepted time (2 Cor 6:2)  You are not guaranteed tomorrow.  This strategy s used all the tie in marketing, especially on TV.  “Call in the next 5 minutes, and we’ll double your order!”  Well, anytime you call they will double your order.  They just know you will forget after 5 minutes.  Jesus knew the people would forget what had happened shortly, and the Pharisees would turn their amazement to cries of “Crucify Him”.  So He withdrew and found a quiet place to pray.   I am going to post a separate time today on what Jesus means when He tells us to walk in the Light.

37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:  38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?  39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,  40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.  41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.  42 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:  43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.  

This is the crux of the problem.  They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.  This is why so many people will only serve the Lord halfheartedly.  They are afraid they will offend someone if they say something wrong, or go all out in their witnessing.  They shy away from doing the what God requires so they can please their friends by being “normal”.  I must admit this affects me.  Why else would I not witness at the grocery store, or the gas station or on the job.

I read a book a while back by Steve Gallagher called “When People are Big and God is Small”.  It is an excellent excellent expose on why we put so much attention on what people think of us, and so little attention of what God thinks of us.  And it all boils down to pride.  Wee want to get along with people in this world so we don’t look like zealots.

Jesus says that in our hearts we do not understand, and seeing we don’t perceive.  This keeps us from believing and we do not get converted.  We would rather be thought of well here.  Don’t let Pride get in your way!  Serve the Lord with all your heart.

44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.  45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.  46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.  47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

Always remember that Jesus did what the Father asked Him to do, nothing more, nothing less, all the way to the cross.  he dd not  come to judge, but to save.  We are also not here to judge but to lead people to Him.  We are asked to follow His example.  Let’s be about our Fathers business

I Was A Pharisee! Are You?

Matthew 23:1-46 carries a wonderful portion of Scripture that we need to take a hard look at.   I debated breaking it into 2 days, but just couldnt get myself to do it.   I love this part of the film “Jesus of Nazareth, even though it does not use the whole text.  List – I think it captures Jesus temperament when saying these word.

So let’s break this down a bit and see how it applies today, and possibly to us (I know many of these applied to me at various time, so keep and open mind and ask God to search your heart).

Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

The key here are the words “to be seen of men”.  This was pride personified.  And it is rampant in the church today.  Think about it, really hard.  How many of the religious leaders of the day truly follow the biblical pattern of the church?  And How many follow church doctrine that was established hundreds of years after the church came into existence?  Doctrine that was created by man, not God.  Doctrine that is nowhere to be found in scripture.  These are the heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, as Jesus puts it.  How many do the things they preach?  The Pharisees did not.  They desired to be in the highest place, exalted above the people.  Are you getting the picture here.  I was a Pharisee, and all these things applied to me.  What about you?

 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.  

It is God who exalts men, not men who exalt themselves.  Now  must admit, I honor my Pastor by calling him Pastor..   think that is the right thing to do to show respect to Him.  We must be careful not to exalt these men, and thus are faith in their preaching and teaching, above the scripture.  They are merely men, and can be deceived just like we can.  We mus study out the scripture for ourselves.  I urge you to never take what I say for the truth until you have either confirmed it by what you already know about scripture, or look it up for yourself.  We must serve in all we do, and come to a place of humility.

13 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. 

The rules that the Pharisees had made it much more difficult to keep an already impossible law.  They just kept adding ordinances to try and keep the people holy.  Laws will never turn a heart to Christ.  They will never turn this nation back to Christ.  It is a heart matter.  Let’s all make sure we are doing what 2 Chr 7:14 tells us to do.  One by one, lets reach the lost with the true Gospel of Christ.  That is what will change out nation.

14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 

Obviously, they were demanding widows bring their meager resources to the church as an offering.  They were supposed to care for the widow above all others (Ex 22:22).  I like the story of he widows mite in Luke 21:1-4.  The Pharisees would see how little she gave.  Jesus says she gave much more than the rich man.  We must care for the less fortunate.

15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 

The next admonition is to their desire for the offerings to be exalted.  The Pharisees lured people into their temple, and then demanded they honor the offering, as they saw it.  It was to be sworn by!  Jesus called them blind guides because they obviously missed the point.  Jesus tells them that anyone who makes a vow on anything involved in worship and sacrifice is making a vow to God.  In another place, Jesus tells them they should not make vows because most will not keep them (there I am again) (Matt 5:34-37)

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 

They are so concerned with the tither, they put it above judgement, mercy and faith.  That is a powerful statement of their condition – blind guides once again.  Jesus says they should do both.  We must do both.  It is not enough to give our time, talent and treasure as so many call it.  We must show mercy!  We must use righteous judgment.  We must have faith in God and our fellow man.  The Pharisee did none of these last three.  I have been there as well, and still struggle with some of it.  How about you?

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity

They looked good on the outside, but inside the totally missed the mark.  Oh my, have I been there.  I am so glad my sin was exposed 9 years ago and God provided a way for me to renew my commitment to Him.  That changed my life, and today I am a different man than I was.  I pray that level of pride never creeps back into my life!  And I pray if you have a hidden sin in your life you will take care of it before it is exposed.   I nearly lost everything (I did lose y job).  God has been so merciful to me!  You can read a part of this testimony HERE

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Lastly, Jesus brings them to the truth that they are the children of those who killed the prophets in the past, and disregarded their messages.  They have accrued a greater damnation and will not escape is.  All the blood that was shed because of that falls upon them.  They were the watchmen of the day.  ( Ezek 33)

Well, that’s a mouthful!  I can imagine how livid the Scribes and Pharisees would be after such a rant by the man whom all the people had turned to follow.  In fact, perhaps t was this discourse that started turning the people away from Him.  After all, it was only about 560 hours later they all cried “Crucify Him”.

Have you searched your heart?  What is God saying to you after all this?  I know  am constantly on the lookout for Pride to surface again, and mu wife is very good at spotting it.  She has my permission to point it out, and I listen!  Are you willing to listen to those who say pride might be a problem?  Take care of it today and don’t face a greater damnation!

Who’s Image?

Matthew 22: 15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.  22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Today we have three stories on how the Scribes and Pharisees try to trick Jesus into making an unpopular answer.  Of course once again they fail. But the lessons we can learn from His answers, especially in this first one, are priceless.

The Scribes ask a simple question – should taxes be paid.  I know many Christians who say they don’t pay taxes, and I disagree with that.  I don;t agree, along with them, with a lot of the things that money goes to, but I am responsible to fund the government, and the money I pay in taxes is a small amount in relation to what it costs for all the services they provide to me.  The infrastructure and military service alone are enough for me to justify my taxes.

But Jesus turns the tide on them.  We have pictures of former leaders on our money, the Romans had pictures of Caesar.  He asked them whose picture was on the coin, and I’m sure they had no idea where He was going with that question.  The He makes a statement that I have been pondering for a few years now – a very powerful statement.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”  Unto God the things that are God’s.  Whose image is on us?  Doesn’t Genesis tell us that He made man in His image? (Gen 1:26).  If we are made in His image (and we are), then what Jesus is saying is that we need to give ourselves to God, lock, stock and barrel.  Not just part of us, but all of us Not just our time, but our talent and treasure,  Not just lip service, but total service.  How much of yourself do you give?  Remember, giving ourselves to Jesus means giving ourselves to others as well.  “When you do it to the least of these, you do it unto me” Jesus said (Matt 25:40)

23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

First, He tells the Saducees that they are wrong about the scripture.  This would not sit well with them.  Then He goes on to say that God is God of the living, not the dead.  Have a you ever met a Christian that was so heavenly minded he was no earthly good?  Yes, I am excited about the thought of heaven and an eternity with my loved ones and with the saints of God/  That will be a glorious time, where there will be no sorrow, or tears, or pain, or death.  Nothing of the trials and test of this world, nothing negative at all.

But we have a life to live down here, and God has a purpose for that life..  Before we leave this earth, there are things God wants us to do.  If you are wondering what He would have you do, then get into the scripture and find out!  His will is in their for all to see and all to take hold of.  You will now it is Him because the task he will give you will be righteous and good.  And if you think it is too much for you, remember that He is able to enable you to do anything He asks of you.  All you need to do is step out.

34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Not much I can add to this one.  Juts don’t mix up the words of the second one!  If you treat others right, they will treat you the same. If they treat you wrong, treat them right.  In another place Jesus says Love your enemies.  He also said they will know we are His disciples our love to one another (John 13:35).  How we need to learn this!

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.  43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,  44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?  45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?  46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

This time Jesus has a question for them.  In all other cases that  can recall, the religious leaders always came with the questions.  But after a series of questions by them, Jesus comes with a question  of His own.  He asks them a simple question.  Who’s Ssn will the Messiah be – what is his genealogy.  Of course,, they all knew the answer to this – He would be Davids son (2 Samuel 7:13-14).  So hey answer correctly.

But then there is a second question.  If the Messiah s David’s son, how can He call Him Lord?  A father does not call His son Lord.  The father is always the head of the son iin Jewish culture, and even in ours.  The Pharisees have no answer for Jesus, and never question Him again.  They are outfoxed and outwitted by this son of a carpenter.  They must get rid of Him somehow.  They have been embarrassed in front of the people by His strong, authoritative answers, and can;t risk that happening any more.

Of course, we all know the answer  The Messiah is Lord of all.  It matters not the blood line or who is talking to Him – He is Lord,  King of Kings.    Every knee shall bow to Him, and every tongue confess that He is Lord.  Even the Scribes and Pharisees.  And tomorrow we will find out who these religious leaders really are.

Do You Have Your Wedding Garment On?

Upon arriving in Jerusalem the next day (Tuesday), many people gathered around Jesus, and of course the Pharisees and Scribes were among them.  Jesus took this opportunity to teach as He always did – in parables.

Luke 20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.  10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.  11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.  12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.  13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.  14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.  15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?  16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.  17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?  18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.  19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

The nation of Israel had been left in the hands of the religious leaders for centuries, and they were failing at leading the people closer to God.  The nation went into captivity twice because the leadership had allowed the people to turn away from God and  His commandments.  they substituted their own religious ways instead of the ways of Gods.  God sent prophet after prophet to try and urn them back, but they just keep returning to their ungodly ways.  Now He has sent His Son, and they are about to kill Him.  The text says the Pharisees and Scribes knew Jesus was talking about them, so they sought to take Him out once again.  This was all they could think to do – heaven forbid they should follow Him and turn from their deceptive practices.

We have a denominational system today that is doing the same thing.  They have doctrines that are no where to be found in the scripture, and they give it more weight than the words of God Himself.  They lead people astray with flowery words of grace, forgetting that there is a hell to pay if we ignore the blood sacrifice of Christ.  All are going to heaven because Christ paid the price is their message.  On top of that, they allow things in their churches that are forbidden in scripture because their doctrine supersedes the scripture.  One day, the Son will return for His own and many will miss that call because they believed a lie.  Pastors, bishops, priests and all will pay a high price for leading their flocks through the wide gate.

Open up your Bibles, my friends and study the scriptures for yourselves.  I don’t mean just read them, but study them.  The word says we must “ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (1 Tim 2:15).  Rightly dividing means to dissect it and see what it really means.  The word of God speaks for itself.  We need to accept it with the faith of a little child (Matt 18:3).  It speaks for itself, and the Holy Spirit will help us understand what we do not if we will just ask (James 1:5).

Matt 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,  And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:  And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  14 For many are called, but few are chosen.  

The second parable is similar in a lot of ways.  The king prepares a feast and invites certain of his people to the feast, but they refuse to come.  He actually took the time to ask them twice.  But when they refused the second time, he sent his servants out and brought in anyone they could find.  Each person who came got a special garment for the feast.  When all the guests had gathered, someone was there without a garment.  My best guess is it was one of those who were bidden at first and said they couldn’t make it.  That person was thrown out of the feast, bound hand and foot.

If we want to go to that glorious feast in heaven, we must have on the right garment.  AT first, the nation of Israel were God’s chosen people.  When Christ came, the message was first preached to the Jews, but they rejected it and the disciples were guided to take it to the Gentiles.  We all benefited from that.  Now salvation is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord, and only to those who call on the name of the Lord.

I hear people say there are many ways to heaven.  If that is true, then Jesus was a liar, and, frankly, a lunatic!  He said He was the only way. In John 14:6  Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  These are not my words, they are His.  In other places He said He is one with the Father (John 10:30).  Paul writes this in 2 Cor 5:21 “ For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  I choose to believe what the Bible tells me.

Have you decided yet? Have you accepted Christ as Savior? Do you believe He was your substitute on that cross, that he died for your sins, and that He rose again to provide eternal life for you?  The scriptures put it this way: Romans 10:9-11  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

If you have not made that decision, I urge you to do so today.  The signs of the times point to His soon return, and I don’t want any of my friends to miss out on that heavenly calling.  Pray this prayer with me today:

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner.  I ask you to forgive me of my sin.  I repent, and vow that I will turn away from my wicked ways and make you Lord of my life.  Come into my heart and help me change right now.  Help me become the person you want me to be.  I accept the sacrifice your Son made for me on that cross as my substitute.  I believe He rose again to prepare me a place in heaven.  Take my life Lord, and let me live for you.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Now, if you prayed that prayer, make sure you find a church where the bible is preached, not just some fun little sermons that make you feel good.  Tell the Pastor you have just received Christ as your Savior.  Start to read your bible.   I suggest starting in the New Testament, the fourth book – The Gospel of John.  Once you finish that, go back and read the first four books of the New Testament.   Ask God to open your heart to His word as you read, and don’t read it too fast.  Let the words sink into your spirit.  If you have questions, ask your Pastor, or shoot me a comment and I will do my best to help you along.  Don’t be left out of the feast without a garment!