“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.””
Matthew 12:8 NKJV
“Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.”
Matthew 12:9-14 NKJV
If one were go into any major city in the world, one would find venders hawking the most expensive names in fashion, as they offer purses, coats, scarves and all the other accouterments inked might want to buy. The prices are amazingly low, and without insight, one might think they are getting the real deal for a steal. In reality, these items are knock offs, fakes, easily mistaken for the real ones by the undiscerning eye.
I am trying to approach the reading through the Bible this year with fresh eyes, leaving myself open to see details that I may have previously missed. Some of the things I see, I jot down for future study, hoping to have a deeper insight into the God I love.
I spent time in Matthew chapter twelve this morning. Jesus was in a rolling conflict with the Pharisees, who were all about the law, but had lost sight of the Spirit of the Scriptures. They had missed the love God, and His concern for His creation. They were as modern era legalists, bent on keeping rules, but not concerned with knowing the heart of God.
They were cheap knock offs of the original, espousing all the right words, but having no concern for the souls of those they sought to lead. They were teachers of the word, having all head knowledge, education and all the appropriate certificates. Even with all the vain glory, they were no match for Jesus.
Those pharisees who thought they knew the word, were not prepared to be confronted by the Word Himself.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:1-5 NKJV
As they confronted Him with their surface understanding of the law, Jesus countered with supreme authority, attacking the heart of the matter. He used Scripture to counter them, pointing to their lack of understanding of the spirit of the passages with which they sought to charge Him.
Time and time again they would attack, and He would counter, poking at their stony hearts, so far from the heart of God.
“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.”
Matthew 12:2-6 NKJV
Even today, there are Pharisees, modern day Christians who know the letter of God’s law, but have lost sight of its Spirit. These knock offs fall on either side the aisle of modern day Christianity. Some are liberal, trying to keep the day to day ministrations of the church, but discarding the Scriptures, and others are conservative, to the point of being legalistic, holding hard to the word, but lacking love and understanding for the lives of sinners.
In both situations, the truth of the Gospel is largely forgotten, as the word of God is twisted to be a blanket permission, or a bludgeon.
We are living in a time when there is a call for followers of Jesus to be genuine, to represent the Lord as He is: loving and just. We are also called to be holy.
In this era of great compromise, being genuine will get you into trouble. Jesus came to the Pharisees offering a true representation of who God is, and when confronted, the Pharisees desires to destroy Him. Modern day believers, are going to face the same thing, as we continue in the last days.
Living holy will cause others to object and reject you, as the desire for sin makes the holy Christian offensive.
The body of Christ has been compromised. Standing for the word of God, standing for the love of God and standing on the truth of His justice, may get one killed. I think of Stephen, who marked the beginning the church age, being stoned to death after his sermon. Just as he paid the price ninth beginning, some of us living today will, as we bring to a close the era of the spreading of the Gospel.
Brothers and sisters, let us decide now to go and stand for the genuine word of God. Let us represent the true Jesus, who came preaching the kingdom of God, who went to the cross to die a horrible death for our sins, was buried and rose again.
Let us stand on the truth of God’s word, and live by faith, not relying on anything mere men can do. We know that our help come from the Lord.
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