Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, – Matthew 23:1-9
This rebuke by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy was the harshest treatment that He ever gave to any group. He did this publicly before the multitude, the people the hypocrites most wanted to impress.
Jesus had faced many prior battles with the scribes and Pharisees. On this particular day, the encounter started with the chief priests and elders challenging Jesus’ authority. Jesus stunned them by replying with a question that challenged their authority. He then used three parables to illustrate that the leaders of the Jews had rejected the rule of God in their lives, despite their pious religious acts. They “perceived that he spake of them.”
The Pharisees countered by tempting Jesus with a question about paying taxes to the Roman government. Then the Sadducees tried to stop Jesus with a question about the resurrection, and finally, a lawyer tried to snare Him with a question about the greatest commandment. Jesus did so well in each test that “no man after that durst ask him any question.” Jesus then asked the leaders who were supposed to know it all, a question that none of them could answer. These Jews, who prided themselves on having superior knowledge, were totally humiliated by a man who had never been through their religious “seminary.” This resulted in them being afraid to ever try to trap Jesus again, by questioning Him.
These were the events of the day that led up to Jesus’ stinging public rebuke of these hypocrites. Jesus gave this rebuke knowing full well that they were planning to kill Him. Jesus was totally fearless in the face of their threats. All of these questions were intended to snare Jesus, but in His infinite superior wisdom, He evaded their traps. Ask God for His wisdom, He will also help you evade traps.
A MATTER OF TRUST
Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them. —Psalm 5:11
A news item from Australia told the story of Pascale Honore, a paraplegic woman who, after 18 years of being confined to a wheelchair, has taken up surfing. How?
Ty Swan, a young surfer, straps her to his back with duct tape. After getting the balance perfect, Ty paddles out into the ocean so they can catch a wave and Pascale can experience the exhilaration of surfing. This requires a tremendous amount of trust; so many things could go wrong. Yet her confidence in Ty is enough to enable her to enjoy a dream come true, in spite of the danger.
Life is like that for the follower of Christ. We live in a dangerous world, filled with unpredictable challenges and unseen perils. Yet, we have joy because we know Someone who is strong enough to carry us through the churning waves of life that threaten to overwhelm us. The psalmist wrote, “Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You” (Ps. 5:11).
In the face of life’s great dangers and challenges, we can know a joy borne out of our trust in God. His strength is more than enough!
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
Our faith is stretched by exchanging our weakness for God’s strength
LET YOUR NEW MAN OUT
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. – Romans 12:1
When you made Jesus Christ Lord of your life, you became what the Bible calls a “new creature.” Inside, you’re not the same person you were before. You have the nature of God born into you. But it’s not enough for you just to have that new nature on the inside. You have to let it take over the outside as well.
Don’t expect that to happen automatically. You have to make a decision to bring your body into obedience to the new man within you. You must determine to do what Romans 6:12 says and “let not sin…reign in your mortal body.”
I know that sounds tough, but remember, you’re not in this alone. You have a Helper inside you to enable you to carry out that decision. His name is the Holy Spirit. He’s there to strengthen you. He gives you the power to put sin out of your life and under your feet.
Make that decisive dedication of your body today–and let that new man that’s on the inside of you begin to come out!
SIMPLY SERVING (2) :
‘Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.’ Mark 10:43 NKJV
Pontius Pilate had an opportunity to acquit Jesus of any wrongdoing, but instead he called for a basin and washed his hands of the entire matter. His attitude was, ‘I’m not getting involved.’ And a lot of people have that same attitude. But not Jesus. The night before His death He called for a basin of water and washed His disciples’ feet. He taught them: ‘Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.’ (Mark 10:42-43 NKJV) Peter objected because foot-washing was a duty designated to the lowest servant in Middle Eastern households, and he considered it beneath Christ’s dignity. Catherine Marshall writes: ‘We, the disciples, are to be the servants, I want to insist along with Peter. But Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (John 13:8 NKJV) This is a stunning and stupendous thought. Unless I can believe in this much love for me, unless I can and will accept Him by faith as my servant as well as my God, unless I can truly know that it’s my good He seeks… then I cannot have His companionship.’ This is so contrary to the world’s philosophy where everybody wants to lead and nobody wants to serve. But to be like Jesus is to be a servant, for that’s what He called Himself. Never have goals so lofty that they blind you to the needs of those around you. Without a servant’s heart, you’ll be tempted to use your gift for personal gain, or to exempt yourself from areas you consider beneath you. The truth is, the only way to serve God is by serving those He loves.
HIS CALL REMAINS
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. – Romans 11:29, NLT
When you think about your future, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Maybe at one time you were excited about your life — you had big goals and big dreams, but you went through some disappointments or life didn’t turn out the way you planned and now you’ve just settled where you are. Understand, God’s plan for your life didn’t go away just because you had some disappointments and setbacks or because somebody treated you unfairly. God didn’t write you off just because you made some poor decisions. No, He knew every mistake you’d ever make; He knew every person who would wrong you, and He still called you. He still designed a perfect plan for your life. No matter what’s happened in your past, God’s plan for your good remains. He still has a bright future in store for you. If you will get your hopes back and get your vision in line with God’s Word, then the rest of your life will be the best of your life! Keep standing, keep believing and get a vision for your future because the Lord has amazing things in store for you!
A GREATER BLESSING IS IN STORE FOR YOU
Romans 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Whenever the devil throws something at us, we need not lose hope. In fact, we can be sure that God will turn it around for our greater blessing because He is for us.
When God first made man, He gave man dominion over everything on earth. (Genesis 1:26) But when Adam fell, sin and death entered the world, and man lost his authority to the devil.
So did the devil win? No, God executed His redemption plan by sending His Son Jesus to die for us. And He wants us to know that Jesus death did more than just restore us to the same position that Adam had it placed us in a much higher position!
When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, we who are in Christ were raised with Him. In other words, we are now seated with Him at Gods right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come! (Ephesians 1:21) Adam never had this position. So through Jesus death and resurrection, we have received so much more.
In the Old Testament, we read of how God brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey. The devil thought that he could foil Gods plan by putting giants in the promised land to stop the Israelites from inheriting it. But God outsmarted the devil. He allowed the giants to build their homes and cities, dig wells and cultivate crops until the right time came. Then, He brought the Israelites into the land and evicted the giants!
So the Israelites ended up inheriting large beautiful cities which they did not build, houses full of all good things which they did not fill, hewn-out wells which they did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant! (Deuteronomy 6:1011) Although the devil tried to prevent Gods plan for His people from coming to pass, they ended up receiving so much more!
Beloved, the devil may throw obstacles and evil circumstances at you, but God will turn those evil schemes around for your greater blessing because He is for you!
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