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Page 14: The Life of Christ Following the Harmony of the Gospels

An ongoing series on the life of Christ, following the Harmony of the Gospels found in the Thompson Chain Bible.  We are beginning at Jesus' baptism (paragraph 47) and will continue until His ascension. The gospel harmonies attempt to place each event of the life of Christ in order and give the relevant scripture as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Index   Page, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Back to 188: Parable of the Two Sons
Down to 190: Parable of the King’s Son

189: Parable of the Wicked Husbandman
Mt. 21:33-46; MK 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19

Matthew 21:33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

The details of this parable are very similar to Isaiah 5:1-7, where Israel is described as the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts and the men of Judah as His pleasant plant. He had tilled the soil, built a tower for protection, placed a winepress in the midst in anticipation of an expected harvest. However, instead of a good harvest, all He found was bitter rotten grapes. The Lord at that time promised that He would tear down the walls of the vineyard and that it would be overrun.

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

God had established Israel by a miraculous delivery from Egypt, He had led then through the Red Sea and had given them the law at Sinai. Israel had continually shown their tendency to wander into idolatry and debauchery. Many prophets had been sent to warn them, but they were not heeded, rather they were beaten and killed.

37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

This is obviously speaking of Christ. He came calling His own. His own didn’t receive Him but all who did experienced the new birth and were given the promise of becoming sons of God (Mark 1:15; Galatians 4:4; John 1:11-13)

38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

This is very similar language to Psalms 2.

Psalms 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
The opposition that these men displayed is just a continuation of the resistance to the rule of God that was first demonstrated in the garden of Eden. When Jesus came, satan tried to seize His inheritance on the mount of temptation. He promised to give the kingdoms of the world to Christ, if only He would bow down and worship him. Of course satan failed and because he failed we share the inheritance of God with the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:17). This opposition continues today among all who will not repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19), but the promise of inheritance is to all who overcome the evil one (Revelation 21:7).

39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Jesus predicted His own death on Calvary which was just a couple of days away (vs. 39). These men had already plotted how that they might kill Jesus and yet when Jesus asked what the Lord of the vineyard would do to these wicked men, they prophesied their own doom.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Jesus asked if they had never read, Psalms 118:22 about the stone which the builders rejected being raised by God to be the cornerstone of His building? Years ago I worked as a mason. I learned that if the first stone was not laid correctly the whole building would be off, because everything is plumbed squared and leveled from the corner stone. If the foundation of the building is wrong, sooner or later the building will shift and fall, regardless of how beautiful it may appear (Matthew 7:24-27). The apostle Paul gave us a good admonition about building on the proper foundation, which he identified as Christ.

Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, the kingdom was taken from them as a nation and given to all who would believe on Jesus, accept His rule and produce fruit.

44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Jesus is the cornerstone of God’s building. If we come to Him and obey Him we will have eternal salvation. If we resist we will be damned (Mark 16:15). It’s as simple and absolute as that!

45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

These scribes, pharisees and rulers finally grasped the fact that Jesus was talking to them. They would have killed Him there, but they feared the large number of people who had gathered around that considered Jesus a prophet. Of course none of them would be present later in the week at Calvary.

Back to 189:Parable of the Wicked Husbandman
Down to 191: The Question of the Tribute Money

190: Parable of the King’s Son Mt 22:1-14 (Parable of the Wedding Banquet)

The Parable of the King’s Son is a continuation of The Parable of the Two Sons, which Jesus gave after His authority was challenged by the rulers of the temple. His earthly ministry was coming to a close. He had come as a King offering a kingdom. The big problem was that He did not meet the expectations of the religious people. He was born in a stable, and made His entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, rather than on a white stallion as any other king would do (Zechariah 9.9). He came as a suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13), knowing that He would soon pour our His very life’s blood for the redemption of mankind (Isaiah 53:1-12) . His kingdom was spiritual rather than carnal (John 18:36). He came as the Light of the world (John 8:12), but men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19). He came to His own and His own received Him not, but to those who received Him (That’s us), He gave the power to become the sons of God ( John 1:10-13).

Matthew 22:1 ¶ And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

The custom of the day called for a wedding announcement one year prior to the actual wedding. When the year was up, the king sent his servants to remind those who had been invited that the time had arrived.

4 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.
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
A great feast was prepared and surely the king’s subjects would be more than eager to attend? No, they actually mocked the king and killed his servants (John the Baptist).
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

An obvious reference to the destruction of Jerusalem which was to come in A.D 70 when the Romans besieged and sacked the city killing most of the inhabitants in one day.

8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
9 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.

The gospel went out from Jerusalem to as many of the Jewish nation that would receive it. The invitation was given to both good and bad. After the keepers of the law rejected the kingdom, the door was opened to the publicans and sinners, then to the gentiles and then to whomsoever will.

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.

Proper attire was required at a wedding banquet and was actually furnished by the host. There was no excuse for not wearing it.

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.

Conclusion and Application:

How does this parable apply to us today? Perhaps I should say, how many times have we heard the gospel presented? How often have we heard the still small voice of the Lord and then quickly turned to other things just as those in the parable went to their farms and merchandise?

God is merciful and gracious, but He is also a God of wrath and judgment (Romans 11:22). He is not willing that any perish (John 3:16-17; II Peter 3:9), but the simple fact is that those who have rejected His tender mercy will be damned (Mark 16:15).

Both good and bad people were bidden to the banquet. Aren’t we thankful for that? We don’t come in our own attire or boasting of our good works (Ephesians 2:8), which in the sight of God are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We come just as we are and our Lord graciously washes us in His precious blood and gives us the appropriate garments (I Corinthians 6:11).

We have heard the announcement of an impending wedding feast that is yet to come. The Lord Jesus Christ and His bride are going to be eternally united. We will be there, not as a guest, but as the bride. We will be dressed in the appropriate wedding garment which is the righteousness of the saints (Rev.19:5-10), given to us by faith in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:9) who gracious gives us the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16; Romans 14:17; Titus 3:5).

See you there?

Back to 190: Parable of the King’s Son
Down to 192: The Sadducee’s Question

191: The Question of the Tribute Money Mt.22:15-22; Mk. 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26

Luke 20:20 ¶ And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? 24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.
25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.
26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.

Having failed in their challenge to the authority of Jesus and still smarting from His stinging rebuke, the temple rulers withdrew to reconsider their strategy.

Up until this time, the main opponents of Jesus had been the Pharisees who were fiercely opposed to the foreign rule of Rome and who resented Roman taxation. They combined forces with the Herodians who were normally their enemies. Little is known of the Herodians except that they were not opposed to the present government. They were loyal to the local rule of Herod and didn’t mind paying their taxes to Rome. They had no desire to rock the boat as long as all was going well. Both sides hated Jesus and had been seeking to destroy Him since His early ministry (Mark 3:16). They were willing to lay aside their differences once again to try and ensnare Him.

They sent some men who appeared to be pious and struggling with the legality of paying taxes to Rome. They asked Jesus a straight forward question which demanded a yes or no answer, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus answered no, He would be taken to jail as a revolutionary. If He answered yes, He would lose favor of the people. They thought that they had Him trapped this time.

Jesus, who knew what was in the hearts of men (Matthew 12:25; John 2:24) and immediately denounced these men as hypocrites. He asked for a penny and then asked whose image was on the penny. They said, “Caesar.” Jesus answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” The men marveled at the answer of Jesus and went away quietly.

Conclusion and Application:

These men had an agenda and came to Jesus with feigned words. Many sects appear to be holy. They come as lambs but in reality are ravening wolves. Many profess to have a deeper knowledge of God which they are all to eager to share with you. (Matthew 7:15). I weary of people who only know one subject and who use a few scriptures as dividing points. If the main focus of any group is not Christ crucified, I reject them and refuse to listen to anything they have to say (I Corinthians 2:2).

Governments are ordained of God and we are commanded to be subject to them. Good citizenship demands that we fulfill all that does not oppose the law of God. Governments need money to function and taxes are the price we pay for stability.

God has first claim on our lives and we are commanded to love Him with all of our heart soul and might. Anything that we do must be in the name of Jesus. If it doesn’t bring Him glory, it is wrong.

Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Back to 191: The Question of the Tribute Money
Down to 193: The Great commandment

192: The Sadducee’s Question Mt. 22:23-33; Mk. 12:18-27; Lu. 20:27-40

Luke 20:27 ¶ Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

On the same day that the authority of Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees and the question of the tribute money was raised by the Herodians, the Sadducees jumped into the fray with a question concerning the resurrection. It is said that, "politics makes strange bedfellows," and that is certainty the case here. Jesus had the favor of the people and all of the very diverse political and religious parties wanted him out of the way.

The Sadducees question was in reference to levirate marriage as described in Deuteronomy 15:5-6. If a man died childless, his brother was commanded to take his wife and the first born son would carry the deceased brother’s name and be heir to his estate. This was practiced by other cultures also. At the time of the question, it had become optional among the Jews , although it still survives in some cultures today.

Basically the question was: A man died without an heir and in succession, each of his six brothers took her as a wife. They all died without an heir. To whom would she belong in the resurrection? They had always stumped the Pharisees with this somewhat vulgar question and perhaps they could induce Jesus to say something to contradict Moses. If so, they could have Him tried as a heretic.

Jesus avoided their trap and simply stated that they erred because they did not know the scripture. He cited the incident of God speaking to Moses at the burning bush and saying that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These patriarchs were still alive, because God is not a God of the dead, but of the living.

In heaven, there would be no marriage, but all would be as the angels.

Conclusion and Application:

The Sadducees supposedly held the writings of Moses in high esteem and yet did not believe in the resurrection, miracles, angels or spirits. Things haven’t changed, we still have people like that today.

The Pharisees believed that the oral tradition had equal weigh with scripture. This is an error that is still alive in some circles.

The Sadducees erred because they didn’t know the scripture. They held some of it dear and discounted the rest. Jesus endorsed Moses the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). He also specifically endorsed the prophet Daniel, whom some would deny today (Matthew 24:15).

II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works

Paul told us to avoid foolish questions that gender strife (I Timothy 4:7; II Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9). People are ready to argue and dispute about anything and everything. Men are ready to break fellowship over the least little difference. If they can't find one, they'll keep picking until they do. We know better, don't we? Our message is simple Jesus Christ Crucified, Risen, Ascended and Coming Again.

We do have a hope of resurrection. Jesus stated that he was the resurrection and the life, though a man were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25). Our mortal will put on immortality and our corruptible in corruption, and when the trumpet sounds we will be changed in a moment and a twinkling of an eye (I Corinthians 15:57). If we have passed on, we will come out of the graves, the ocean or wherever our molecules have been scattered. We don’t yet know what we shall be, but when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is(I John 3:2). Glory!

Back to 192:The Sadducee’s Question
Down to 194:Jesus’ Question

193: The Great commandment Mt.22:34-40; Mk. 12:28-34

Mark 12:28 ¶ And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

With all of the various religious and political factions aligned against Jesus, this must have been an exhausting day for Him. They had challenged His authority to teach and heal and had tried to trap Him with various questions, that they might find a reason to accuse Him and have Him put to death. So far, they had not been successful. He had fended off their questions and had issued a couple of stinging denunciations. All the while He was ministering to and healing the people who had gathered to hear Him. His antagonist decided to give it one last try.

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had gotten the best of the Sadducees, one of their number, a scribe, decided to test Jesus with a question. Perhaps hoping to induce Him to say something against Moses, the scribe asked Him, "Master, which is the greatest commandment of all?" Jesus immediately answered that the first and greatest commandment of all was to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The second commandment in importance is to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we do this we will have fulfilled all of the law and the prophets.

The scribe was moved by the answer of Jesus and stated that to love God and our neighbor with all that we had was much better than an abundance of burnt offerings and sacrifice. Jesus told the man that he was not far from the kingdom of God. After that, they left Jesus alone, and questioned Him no more.

Conclusion and Application:

Deuteronomy 6:4-16 is known as the Shema and is recited daily as a prayer by devout Jews.

Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

It would be good for all of us to keep it in mind continually. God is One. He has no other God beside Him, above Him, or beneath Him. He is God and God alone. He accomplished creation by the power of His spoken word. He accomplished our salvation by condescending and walking this earth in the form and nature of a man. He poured out His life’s blood to pay the penalty for our sins. He ascended to the throne of heaven from whence He is ever listening to our faintest cry. He is coming again to take us to be with Him eternally, in a place that He has prepared just for us (John 14:1-3). What a God! We need no other!

Some neighbors are a bit more lovable than others. We remember when a man asked Jesus, “Well, just who is my neighbor?” Jesus gave The Parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 - See Par. 148) and then asked who was a neighbor to the unfortunate man who had been beaten and left for dead. Of course it was the person who had met the man’s need. Perhaps I should ask myself just what I have done to be lovable in God’s sight? I can’t think of anything.

Jesus had taught the principal of loving our neighbors as ourselves in The Sermon on the Mount. See The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets

The more we yield to and love our Lord, the easier it is to recognize our neighbor and minister to them.

1John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

1John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Much more could be said about those who loudly profess a great love for God and then ignore the plight of those around them, but we won’t say it because we may step on some toes, perhaps our own.

Note: Hurricane Katrina has occurred since this was written, giving the writer a good opportunity to consider his own words.

Back to 193: The Great commandment
Down to 195: Woes Pronounced against the Pharisees

194: Jesus’ Question Mt. 22:41-46; Mk. 12:35-37; Lu. 20:41-44

Matthew 22:41 ¶ 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.

Jesus was still teaching in the temple. He had silencing His critics by fending off several of their attempts to ensnare Him. He then asked a question of His own, “If Christ is the son of David, Why did David, by the Holy Ghost, call Him Lord.? His critics could not answer and that was the end of the confrontation."
Conclusion and Application:

The scribes and Pharisees readily admitted that the Messiah would be of the seed and lineage of David. They considered Psalms 110 to be Messianic.

Psalms 110:1 ¶ <> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

The problem was that they could not comprehend how Messiah could be both God and man. People still struggle with that today, don’t they. They readily accepted all the passages that talked of Messiah as a conquering hero ruling from David’s throne. They could not comprehend a suffering Savior who came as a servant. Somehow or another they had ignored passages such as Isaiah 40:9-11

Isaiah 40:9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Nor did they did not comprehend Isaiah 52:6

Isa 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

O the beauties of the incarnation of God in Christ.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Some people think of Him as an imposter. Some admit that He was a good man and a profound teacher. Some make Him a part of God and some make Him a lesser God. I, like Thomas of old simply call Him, "My Lord and my God."

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Job expressed the thought that His Redeemer lived and that He would see Him stand on the earth at some future time. In the book of Revelation we see Jesus in whom it pleased the Father that all of the godhead should dwell bodily, speak of Himself as, The Alpha and Omega the Beginning and the End, The Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

When I like see my God and He wipes away all my tears (Rev. 7:17, 21:4), I will be looking into the face of Jesus (I Corinthians 13:12). Like Job, I expect to see Him and not another.

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

I know that you eagerly await that day also.

Back to 194: Jesus’ Question
Down to 196: The Widow's Mite

195: Woes pronounced against the Pharisees
Mt 23; Mk. 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

Luke 20:45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,

46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
47 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

Luke gives us a very condensed version of this episode where Jesus spoke of woes to come upon the Scribes and Pharisees. The full text is in Matthew 23, which is too long to print here.

It was they who sat in the seat of Moses as teachers of the law. The people were to follow their instruction, as long as it lined up with the word of God.

They were fond of binding heavy burdens upon men and doing nothing to ease the load. Their performed notorious works just to be seen of men. The law had detailed special adornments for the garments which was to remind one of the commandments of God, such as tassels attached to the corner of their garments (Num. 15:38-41), which were to remind them of the commandments of God. The law also stated that they were to wear little pieces of parchment that contained the commandments (Exodus 13:9-10), either between their eyes or attached to the arm next to the heart. The size of these were detailed by rabbinical law, but the more zealous made their's just a little bigger, all for show.

They had a great love for titles. The words Rabbi, Rabbi, or Teacher, Teacher, had a special ring to their ears, especially if it was in the marketplace where many could hear ( We still have a lot of that around today). At a banquet or dinner, they always strived to be seated as near the host as possible.

Once again, Jesus stated a basic principal of the kingdom which we find repeated many times in the gospels. Perhaps we should take it to heart?

Matthew 23:11 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.

Jesus continued by pronouncing a series of eight woes upon these folk. These were eight reasons why the judgment of God would soon come upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 when it was destroyed by the Romans.

1 They shut up the kingdom of God against men. These wouldn’t go in themselves and yet they hindered others.

2. They devoured widows houses. They would be nice to a widow until she donated her goods to their cause, and then neglect her.

3. They were active in making converts, but the converts turned out worse than themselves.

4. They had an elaborate system of oaths. If they swore by the gift that was on the altar, they felt obligated to keep their word. If they swore by the altar itself, they could wiggle out of their commitment. In other words, watch the fine print.

5. They exceeded the requirements of the law in paying tithes. They actually counted the leaves on the anis and cummin plants. However they ignored the really weighty matters of the law, such as justice and mercy.

They would strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. The straining of gnats was in the wine making process. They would strain the wine thoroughly so as to not swallow an unclean insect (Leviticus 9:20), and then figuratively swallow a camel which was one of the largest unclean animals.

6. They washed the outside of the platter while ignoring the more important inside. Jesus said that although they appeared to be righteous, they were inwardly filled with extortion and excess.

7. They were like the tombs which they whitewashed once a year to keep others from accidentally coming in contact with the dead. They looked nice, but were actually filled with dead men's bones, with all uncleanness hypocrisy and iniquity themselves.

8. They feigned honor for the prophets whom their fathers had killed. Jesus told them that they had the same murdering spirit as their fathers. Jesus, speaking of the soon emerging church, said that He would be sending more wise men and prophets among them and that they would kill them also. This they did (Acts 10:58). All the blood of those who had been slain because of righteous would be laid to their charge.

Jesus began to mourn and lament over the fate of Jerusalem. He had sent the prophets and had come Himself. They would not hear. He thus pronounced their doom which would come in A.D. 70.

Conclusion and Application:

Quite an indictment against these folks. I can only examine my own heart and ask, "Am I ever guilty of just acting the part? I trust that I am not. Have I gotten so entrenched in the religious system that I forget the purpose of Jesus’ coming? It was to save sinners, just like me. May I never forget where I was when He found me and may I be forever thankful for where He has placed me. May I never forget that it's all about Him and nothing about me. I'm sure that you feel the same way.

Back to 195: Woes pronounced against the Pharisees
Down to 197: The Visit of the Greeks

196: The Widow's Mite Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

Mark 12:41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

After pronouncing coming judgment upon the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus went to another area of the temple where offerings were being received. Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah tells us that there were thirteen collection boxes, each fitted with a brass horn (like a big funnel) and each designated for a specific purpose. The people marched by and threw in brass coins, which by their very weight and the force with which they were thrown, would certainly make a loud clanging noise. He also tells us that two mites were the minimum offered that was allowed to be given.

Jesus, sat watching and observing the people as they marched by. I'm sure that many gave with good motives and others gave to be seen. Jesus remarked that this poor widow had given more than anybody, because she had given her total substance.

Conclusion and Application:

I was privileged to buy a "Widow's Mite" coin as a gift for my wife. From the size of it, it is readily apparent that it didn't make much noise as it went into the collection box.

This women gave the minimum that the temple would accept. Even though she was destitute, she gave all that she had. Jesus was watching and made note of what she had done. Jesus is still watching every deed that we do and listening to every word that we utter. He tries our reins and knows the very thoughts and intents of our heart. We tend to forget that sometimes.

Jesus told us not to sound a trumpet when we give.

Mt 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Giving is listed in Romans 12 as a gift of the Spirit whereby we edify the body. We are to do it with simplicity.

Ro 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

I believe in giving and giving liberally. I do not believe in giving for the sole purpose of getting, as is so often preached. However, we know that the Lord does bless us when we give to Him and to His people (Proverbs 22:9; Matthew 10:42; Luke 6:38; II Corinthians 9:7). I believe that we should be led of the Spirit for our giving to be effective.

One day the books will be opened in heaven. How we have handled our finances and the deeds that we have done in this life will be noted. If we have given as little as a cup of water in the Lord's name, there will be a reward (Mark 9:41).I believe that this poor widow's gift is duly noted there as a memorial, for all time and eternity.

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Back to 196: The Widow's Mite Mark
Down to 198: Discourse on Unbelief

197: The Visit of the Greeks Jn. 12:20-36

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.

Among the crowd who had been impressed by Jesus were some Greek proselytes. They had come to the temple to worship and to exercise the limited access that was allowed to them. They came to Phillip, who had a Greek name and was from a Greek area with a request to see Jesus. Perhaps there was a problem of racial and national prejudice, which Phillip didn't know how to handle. He took the problem to Andrew and then he and Andrew went to Jesus. Possibly the Greek crowd was right behind them. It is hard to tell if the reply of Jesus was just to Phillip and Andrew or to the Greeks and others who were assembled. The subject of Jesus' reply was His soon approaching death on Calvary.

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.

Jesus compared this life to a corn of wheat which has a seed that contains a blueprint of what that seed is to become. It can be kept for years as a simple seed, yet when it is buried in the ground it changes and produces fruit. It was time for Jesus to fulfill that for which He had come into the world. He was destined from eternity past to slain and offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Jesus could see in these seekers a great harvest that was yet to come; people of every kindred tongue and nation who would one day gather at His throne and offer praises to the Lamb that was slain in their place.

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Jesus had stated many times that if we held onto this life, we would lose it, We are to look forward to eternal life which He has promised to all who believe in Him.

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.

Jesus was deeply troubled. Calvary was only a few hours away. He knew the agonies of the cross to which He would soon be nailed. He knew that He would be forsaken by all men and by God Himself as He suffered there.

28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

Vs.28-33 Jesus could only cry out, "Father glorify thy name." A voice came from heaven and said, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." Some hearing the voice thought it had only thundered. Others thought they heard the voice of an angel. Jesus let them know that the voice had come for their sake and not for His. Judgment had come to the world, satan (purposely not capitalized) was about to be dethroned. Jesus was about to be lifted up. This the people knew meant crucifixion. They were well acquainted with this method of capital punishment.

Vs.34 They had heard Jesus' claim to be the Messiah but their theology had told them that Messiah would be eternal. They couldn't comprehend a Messiah being nailed to a cross. Mostly, this was not the kind of Messiah they were looking for. He just didn't fit their image.

Vss. 35-36 Jesus simply replied that they had better walk in the light while He was still present. Darkness was coming and they would not be able to see where they were going. Jesus then departed from them. Did Jesus ever have an audience with the Greeks? Some say yes, I don't know. I do feel confident that some of them were present in the crowd at the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out. I also believe that some of them obeyed the words of Peter and the apostles and were added to the church.

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.

Conclusion and Application:

Just as Jesus was ordained to die and then rise again, so must we. We die to self in repentance and are buried with Him and identify with His death by water baptism in His name (Acts 2:36-42). We arise to walk in newness of life in the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Romans 6:4).

We are encouraged in Philippians 2 to have the same mind as Christ, who made Himself of no reputation, took our nature and was obedient to the death of the cross. Just as He was glorified, so shall we be glorified.

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Down to 199: Destruction of Jerusalem

198: Discourse on Unbelief Jn. 12:37-50 (Click for full text)

John 12:37 ¶ 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.
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.

John 12:37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

Of whom is John speaking? We know that most of the religious folk did not receive Him, because He didn't fit their mold. Some did believe on Him but were afraid to confess Him , because they thought they would lose their position in the temple. Many of the common people had forsaken Him because they desired a conquering hero who would drive out the hated Romans and restore the throne of David. Sadly, His own disciples who had walked with Him for over three years and who had seen the dead raised and the storms calmed, still did not totally believe on Him. It was only after Jesus was risen from the dead and glorified that they remembered the things that were written in the Old Testament about Him (Luke 24:13-43; John 12:16; Acts 1:3). This was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah when He saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and lifted up with His glory filling the temple, with the heavenly beings continually shouting, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Host, the whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6)." He asked, Who has believed our report, or in other words, "Who is going to believe this.?

44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

It grieved the heart of Jesus, that even His closet disciples could not comprehend who He really was. They could not comprehend that this humble carpenter's son was actually God walking among them. I heard it stated recently, that hardly any of the words of Jesus are more than two syllables, yet they confounded the wisest and most educated men of His time, while at the same time stirring the heart of the simple believer.

45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

He expressed upon them that they weren't listening to a simple laborer, they were listening to God Himself, the Creator who spoke the worlds forth from nothing by the power of His word. They were listening to the very God who shook Mt Sinai when He spoke to Moses. The words that He spoke as a man were the very utterances of God Almighty and these words would stand against them in judgment at the last day. We remember His annoyance with Phillip when Phillip asked to see the Father. He replied, "Phillip, have I been with you so long and yet you don't know me? He who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9)."

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.

Conclusion and Application;
v Unbelief is a killer, a thief and a robber. It will separate us from the very God we profess serve. Did He not tell us that we could move mountains by simply believing on His promises? Didn't he tell us that if any two or three agree as touching any one thing, it shall be done?I'm not talking of the hyper, name it and claim it type of professed faith that James said was only an extension of our own lust (James 4:3). I'm talking of simply faith, like that of a child freely falling from a height, knowing that his earthly father will surely catch him. A simply faith that rests content with the food clothing and shelter that the heavenly Father has so graciously provided.

My father used to express that when he drove down the highway and came to a bridge, he didn't get out of the car and check the bridge structure and second guess the engineers that built it, he simply drove across without a second thought. That is the kind of faith that delights the Lord. Absolute confidence in an absolute God!

We, like the disciples have met the glorified Lord and His Spirit dwells in us. Thus, our prayer is not for self enrichment and advancement, It is for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Down to 199: Mt 24

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