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About-Him.Com Devotional 08-30-2003

The life of Christ, from His baptism to His ascension, following the Harmony of the Gospels.

95: Discourse on Spiritual Relations: Mt. 12;46-50; Mk. 3:31-36; Lu. 8:19-21  

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.  

The brothers of Jesus did not believe on Him at this point (John 7:5), and His friends thought He was beside Himself (Mark 3:21).  The prophet was receiving no honor from those closest to Him (John 4:44).  The family had been forced to move from Nazareth when Jesus was rejected in the synagogue there. They probably feared they would have to move again.  They came to talk to Jesus, but couldn't get near Him because of the crowds around Him. Jesus was told by those nearby that His family was here and wanted to speak to Him.  He simply replied that his family consisted of those who would do the will of the Father in heaven.

Mark 3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Conclusion and Application:

Friends and family are dear to us, but our first obligation is to the Lord.  Others may think we are imbalanced and they are right. We have counted the cost (Luke 14:28) and considered the final reward (Hebrews 11:26). We desire to forsake all and follow the Master (Matthew 19:29; Luke 14:26).
"Earthy ties are at best temporal, spiritual ties are eternal." - J.W. Shepard
96: Woes Pronounced Upon the Pharisees - Lu. 11:37-42
Luke 11.37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.
38. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

The battle with the Pharisees continued and would not end until they killed Him. As He was denouncing them for their sign seeking unbelief, His family interfered. He had to remind them that His true family are those who do God's will. While He was still speaking a Pharisee, hoping to gain an advantage invited Him to dinner. Here he could observe this upstart more closely, and find an opportunity to put him in His place, once and for all.

He didn't have to wait long. Jesus simply ignored the ceremonial hand washing that preceded the meal. This hand washing had two parts: Upon entering the house, they would ritualistically  dip the right hand in water. Later as they sat down to eat, water was provided to wash both hands. The Pharisee was incensed and Jesus' righteousness indignation was stirred. Not a very pleasant dinner.

Jesus denounced their ritualism. It was foolish  to wash the outside of a cup or platter and leave the inside full of decay. It would be better to give alms freely from a pure heart than to tithe the very leaves of a mint plant, while ignoring the weightier matters of the law, such as mercy and justice.

Jesus denounced their pride. They loved to sit in the special elevated seats in the synagogue, the loud greetings in the marketplace and their public loud and lengthy prayers. Anything to be seen of men. They were as an unmarked grave. When someone passed over it, it would collapse, causing the person to fall it and have inadvertent contact with the dead. This person would then be ceremonially unclean for seven days.  Best to avoid these people.

Pretty strong stuff. A lawyer who was present objected. "Jesus, you're picking on us too." Jesus continued and denounced them for laying heavy burdens on people that they were not willing to help with. They built tombs for the prophets, whom their fathers had killed, while hoping to find a way to kill the greatest Prophet of all. They wouldn't enter the kingdom of God or let anyone else enter.

Luke 12:1 .... Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

After leaving the Pharisees house, a big crowd followed. Jesus spoke in their presence to His disciples. "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy." From the context of Luke 12:1-12 we can deduct that much hypocrisy comes from fear of men. Better to fear God who sees our secret sins. That which we do in secret will be shouted from the housetops.  We fear those without and fail to be a proper witness for the Lord. We fear those within and fail to challenge doctrines and practices that violate God's word. Trying to please everybody results in hypocrisy.

Conclusion and Application:

Hypocrite! Strong words from the One who tries the reins, searches the heart and knows our thoughts and intents (Hebrews 4:12).

The meaning of hypocrite is simply, "an actor playing a role." One does not become a hypocrite from occasionally missing the mark or being inconsistent. If we do, then we've all guilty. Jesus is denouncing a pattern of life that gives prominence to the externals while ignoring the internals.

Many of our churches have rightly fled legalism and so-called standards that placed the commandments of men in the place of the commandments of God. I fear that in our search for liberty, we have  often forsaken balance and given way to license.

Jesus compared hypocrisy to leaven. I'm reminded of the early pioneers traveling westward. They carried the yeast for their baking with them and used it in such a way that it perpetuated itself. Supposedly some of that original leaven still exist today. The same with sin and hypocrisy.

Next Week:  Parable of the Rich Fool
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Don & Marie Spooner
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