Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY SEPT. 5, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“And as Jesus spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with Him. So He went and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that Jesus had not first washed before dinner.”

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.’

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”                          Luke 11.37-44

Something To Consider:
Jesus never passed up an invitation to eat with anyone whether friend or foe. He was also obliged to speak the truth to those who were majoring on minors, due to their legalistic background. Jesus did not ceremoniously wash His hands before eating as did the Pharisees. This ritualistic act was set forth for priests in the service of the tabernacle in Exodus 30.20-21.

This requirement was for Aaron, his sons, and all the priests renderdering priestly service in the temple. But these religious legalistic leaders attempted to make it a religious requirement for everyone. That is why knowing the bible is so important. What does God require? According to Micah 6.8, “But to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Are we meeting His requirement?

Our heavenly Father is concerned about our walking humbly before Him and our adhering to justice. Psalm 10.17-18 declares, “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart, You will cause their ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless [orphans] and the oppressed.”

And yet, if we find ourselves always majoring on minor issues we may be found neglecting the important issues of life according to God, such as humility and justice. Therefore, the systematic study of the life of Jesus and finding out what is important to Him is extremely important and appropriate for us!

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus did not hesitate to speak to these religious leaders who were majoring on minors in other areas as well. These legalistic religious leaders focused their attention on outward unimportant issues, while neglecting the more important spiritual issues of justice, mercy, and love. But that is what religion without Jesus Christ becomes. That is what religion without the grace of God becomes.

Without Christ the church becomes a religious institution that is more concerned with the tithing of the smallest and most common herbs, or in today’s terms, money, rather than reflecting the love, mercy, and grace of God to all including those who can by no means afford to give of their meager income. And without the love, mercy, and grace of God within the church, it becomes just another money-making American corporation seeking to increase its financial bottom line.

What would Jesus have to say concerning the extremely organized American mega church of today? “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men   who walk over them are not aware of them.”

Something More To Consider:
Religious legalistic leaders, according to Jesus, love the best seats in front facing the people in their places of worship. And two thousand years later, some things have not changed much. These men were like unmarked graves. For to walk over a grave according to the law, would ceremoniously cause a person to become unclean and defiled for seven days.

According to Jesus, coming into contact with these evil pretending leaders had the same defiling and corrupting affect. What would Jesus say today to the religious leaders of this generation? Would it indeed be, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

Religious leaders of this 21st century would do well to heed the words of Jesus found in Matthew 20.26-28. “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

A Few Final Words:
Wow! How many religious leaders can honestly claim to be fulfilling that mandate of Jesus Christ? How many rather bypass the serving others stage and go directly to desiring to be served by others? If so, they have become among the many unmarked and dangerous graves!

The apostle Paul had much to say concerning humility and servanthood in Philippians chapter 2, beginning in verse 3. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”

Paul also declared in verse 5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Therefore, true spiritual leaders should stay clear of the legalistic grave like rituals of religion, while focusing their efforts on reaching others with God’s truth, love, mercy, and grace. And in the process, doing so in a spirit of lowliness of mind!

Our Father in heaven, keep us from focusing on unimportant issues. Help us to seek justice, mercy for others, and to share the love of God with those we come into contact with. In Him Always, Amen!

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