Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Twelve: Jesus has more problems with the Pharisees   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible Story

Chapter Twelve:

Jesus has more problems with the Pharisees

CHRIST LAYS IT ON THE LINE

     Many were the disputes and the problems Jesus had with the
religious leaders of the Pharisee sect, and others also of the
Sadducee priestly group and the Scribes.  What John records for
us in his chapter five (verses 19-47) of the Gospel book that
bears his name, are words from Christ that are plain, no punches
pulled, with Jesus being very God in the flesh, He had the
authority to speak those words with a dogmatic tone of voice.

     Jesus said to them, " Truly, with truth, I say to you, the
Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the
Father doing; for it is whatever He does that the Son also does
likewise. The Father loves the Son, and shows Him all that He
Himself is doing. And yes even greater works than these He will
show Him, that you may be astonished and marvel.
     As the Father can raise the dead and give them life, so the
Son as well will give life to whom He will. 
     The Father has decided to judge and condemn no one, but has
given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even
as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not
honor the Father who sent the Son. 
     It is the truth, that I say unto you, he who hears my words
and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life. He will not come
into condemnation, but has passed from death to life eternal.
     Once more it is the truth that the hour is coming, and even
now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and
those who hear will live. "

     Jesus, by saying the hour now was here, did not mean to say
there were resurrections taking place, and people coming back to
eternal life, as He was speaking those words in His teachings in
the towns and country-side. He was meaning that many
"spiritually" dead in their sins, were believing His words,
repenting, and gaining grace and eternal life.  Then one day all
such people will be raised to life in a resurrection, at the
trumpet voice of the Son of God when He returns to this earth.
That truth is taught in many passages throughout the NT and in
the Gospels, as we shall later come to see and read about.
     Jesus then went on to further explain what He was meaning:

     " As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the
Son also to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to
execute judgment and condemnation, because He is the Son of man,
and knows what human life is all about, having experienced it. 
     Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who
are in the graves will hear His voice and shall come forth from
death. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of eternal
life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of
judgment."

     Putting all the passages together in the NT that talk about
this subject of resurrections, we come to see that there will be
at least two great resurrections. The one resurrection is for all
the true children of God that have lived in faith from Adam to
the coming again in glory and power of the Son of God, when His
voice will go forth with a shout. Those dead in the graves will
rise together with the children of God alive in the flesh, at the
coming of Christ. They will all be glorified together with
eternal life, and meet Jesus in the clouds of this earth, and so
be with Him forever more (1 Cor.15 and 1 Thes. 4: 13-18).
     There will also be another general resurrection for many
people who were not called to salvation in this life time. The
20th chapter of the book of Revelation mentions this
resurrection, where it indicates the book of life will be opened
to them. This is after the 1,000 year reign of Jesus and the
saints upon this earth, as the first part of the chapter
describes.
     It is the Father's will that all persons be given a full and
clear opportunity to know the only name whereby anyone can be
saved, to repent, and find the way to eternal life (Acts 4:12; 2
Peter 3:9). 
     Jesus said all that are in the graves will one day hear the
voice of the Son of man and come forth to live again. But, it
will not all happen in just one resurrection at one single event
in history.

     Christ now really started to get specific and hit the nail
on the head with many listening to Him.

     " I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge;
and my judgment is very just, because I seek not my will but the
will and way of Him who sent me. If I bear witness to myself,
testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But
there is someone else who is testifying about me, and I can
assure you that everything He says about me is true. 
     In fact you sent people to listen to John the Baptist, and
he was preaching the truth. But the best testimony about me is
not from a man, though I mention to you John's testimony that you
might be saved. For John and his ministry shone brightly for a
while and you benefited and rejoiced, well some of you did. 
     But I have a much greater witness than John - my teachings
and my miracles. They have been assigned to me by the Father, and
they testify that the Father has indeed sent me.
     And again, the Father Himself has also testified about me."
     
     Jesus continued, " You have never heard His voice or seen
Him face to face as I have. You also do not have His message in
your hearts, because you do not believe me, the one He sent to
you.
     You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you
eternal life, yet it is those very Scriptures that point to me!
But you refuse to come to me so that I may give you eternal life.
     Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, because I
know your hearts that you do not have the love of God within you.
I have come to you representing the Father, and you refuse to
welcome me, even though you accept others who only represent
themselves. It is no wonder you cannot believe me! You can honor
each other, pat each other on the back, but you do not really
care about the true honor that comes from God alone."

     In His final breath on this matter, Jesus told them, " Yet,
it is not I who will accuse you first, of this dishonor before
the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, the one on whom
you set your hopes. But if you had fully believed Moses and what
he wrote, you would have believed me because he it was that wrote
about me. And since you do not then believe what he wrote, how
then it is  possible for you to believe what I say ? "

     Wow!  Yes indeed, Jesus hit them right between the eyes with
all those words.  He made it very clear where many of those
religious leaders of His day stood in spiritual relationship with
the Father. They just simply did not!  They had no connection
with the Father at all. They were playing at religion, playing
among themselves, patting each other on the back, accepting each
other on human terms, but their hearts were far from seeking
the ways of the true God in heaven and believing His written
word. With proudness they accepted Moses as their great physical
ancestor. But in the area of where it really counted, believing
what Moses had written, they struck out three times. And so they
could not, would not, did not see that this Jesus was indeed the
Son of God, the one who had been with the Father from the
beginning, and the one whom the Father had sent to earth to teach
His truths and perform His miracles.

PHARISEES ACCUSE JESUS' DISCIPLES OF BREAKING THE SABBATH

     Matthew in his Gospel tells us that it was about the same
time the above took place that Jesus and His disciples were
walking through the grain-fields on the Sabbath day. His
disciples were getting quite hungry and so began to pluck the
ears of grain, rub them between their hands and eat the flour
substance then produced by that action.
     The Pharisees were tagging along not far behind. They
noticed what Jesus' disciples were doing. With indignation they
shouted, " Look! Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to
do on the Sabbath."

     If you read this account as given by all three Gospel
writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke) you will notice the Pharisees did
not quote any verse to back up their dogmatic utterance.
Even after Jesus answered them, they did not attempt to support
their accusation with any Old Testament law of Sabbath
observance.  Why not?  Very simple, there was not and is not any
such law in the written word of God.
     What the Pharisees were accusing Jesus' disciples of doing
was breaking a point of one of their man-made Sabbath laws, that
they, the Pharisees together with the Scribes, had manufactured
and invented. Recorded history tells us that the Pharisees had
about 600 Sabbath laws. They had the mind-set that their invented
laws of Sabbath observance had the stamp of approval on them by
God Himself. Such was not the case at all, as Jesus went on to
explain.

     Jesus reminded them (written in the Scriptures they all
read) of the time when David and his men were so hungry that they
went to the House of God and asked the priest to give them the
holy bread that in the letter of the law was only for the priests
to eat, and not for anyone else.
     Jesus did not go into all the details of this account when
answering the Pharisees.
     They got the point with the basic answer Jesus gave. But
looking at it in 1 Samuel 21, and the context, you will see that
David asked the priest, and the priest went to inquire from the
Lord if he should grant David his request. The answer came back
as, yes. 
     God, as Lord of the Sabbath, the one in charge of Sabbath
regulations and observance, was going to set aside a letter of
the law command concerning the holy bread of the Temple, and was
going to allow David and his men to eat it, as they were very
weak in the knees (as we may say) from hunger.
     God was looking at a situation that was at hand in the
physical lives of some of His people, and was quite willing to
set aside a physical law in order to fulfil a greater law, one
that entailed showing kindness, mercy, love, compassion.  And all
such greater laws were quite in line with the observance of the
Sabbath.
     Then again, as God is the one in charge, as He is the law
maker, the governor of all that is good and right and lawful, He
has the authority to govern the observance of the Sabbath, even
His Temple, as He chooses under any particular circumstance and
situation that may arise in any era of time.

     Jesus did not stop with the example of David and his men and
the bread of the Temple, but also gave them another example to
meditate on.
     
     " Or have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the
Priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? "

     In a technical letter of the law way, when reading the words
of the fourth commandment, and understanding that the Priests in
the Temple still continued to do the work of administering the
animal sacrifices on the Sabbath, you could say they most
certainly did "work" on the seventh day of the week. So, in that
technical letter of the law way they broke the Sabbath
commandment, of not working on that day at your secular
job.
     But, we also read in the law of Moses that God allowed the
Priests to work on the Sabbath day and He held them guiltless,
blameless. He did not look upon them as breaking the Sabbath day.
As God is the creator of all things, physical and spiritual, as
He is the creator of the Sabbath day and the rules that apply to
observing it, He can then set the rules as He chooses in how to
observe the Sabbath day.  And for the Priests in the Temple,
doing much physical work on the Sabbath, God said the rule of not
working at your secular job on the Sabbath, did not apply to
them. 
     God was Lord of the Sabbath. He was in charge as to how the
rules for observing it would apply in any given situation, and
with whomever persons within any situation that arose on the
Sabbath day.

     What Jesus continued to tell these religious leaders was
very meaningful and significant.

     " I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here. And
if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not
sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the
Son of man is lord of the Sabbath " (Mat. 12:1-8).

     The something greater than the Temple standing there, was
Jesus Himself. If they had recognized that He was Immanuel, God
in the flesh, the promised Messiah, the very Son of God, they
would have realized He had authority over what He allowed His
disciples to do on the Sabbath day, and allowing them to then
pluck grain and eat it as they strolled through the fields, was
not sin, or was not breaking the Sabbath.
     Also, if they had understood the mind and love of God, in
that God does in many circumstances, put mercy and kindness to
serve people in their physical needs of comfort (such as not
going hungry) before some letter of the law, then they also would
have not condemned Jesus' disciples in their actions as they
walked through the grain fields. They would have realized the
mercy, love, and kindness of God, was far above any of their
self-righteous man-made laws of Sabbath observance.

     Then lastly, if they had really known, if they had been
willing to admit, that Jesus was the Son of man, God in the
flesh, the creator of the Sabbath, the one greater than the
Sabbath, the one who was in charge of setting the rules for
Sabbath observance in any situation, they would have understood
that as Jesus did not stop the disciples from plucking the grain
and eating it, then He had set the rule in that situation that
such actions on the part of the disciples, was not in any way
breaking the observance of the Sabbath day.
     They would have recognized Jesus was lord, governor, of all
rules for Sabbath observance under all situations, and that He
had the authority to adjust those rules as the circumstance arose
for any specific condition on any Sabbath day. What the disciples
were doing, in Jesus' mind, was in no manner breaking the law of
Sabbath observance.

JESUS HEALS ON THE SABBATH AND ANGERS MANY   

     On another Sabbath day when Jesus was in the synagogue and
was teaching the word of the Lord, there was a man there who had
a right hand that was withered up in some manner. It may have
been a disformed hand from birth, or maybe it had been burnt
in a fire, or some other accident had caused it to be withered.
     Well, the scribes and Pharisees, knowing what Jesus had done
on other Sabbath days, were watching Him out of the corner of
their eyes to see what He would do when He noticed this man with
the withered hand. They were probably hoping within their minds
that He would help this poor man, but not to praise Him and give
God the glory, but to accuse Him of breaking their man-made
Sabbath laws.

     Oh, for sure, Jesus knew their evil thoughts. He said to the
man with the twisted and gnarled up hand, " Come over here my
friend, and stand by me."
     The man arose and came and stood by Jesus.
     "I ask you," said Jesus, looked at everyone, but especially
the scribes and Pharisees, " is it lawful and proper on the
Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or destroy it? "
     Looking around again upon them all He went on to say to him
with the withered hand, " Stretch out your hand."
     The man did as Jesus told him to do and his hand was
restored to its normal size and function.

     The self-righteous scribes and Pharisees were just boiling
over with fury, and with whispers among themselves they discussed
with one another what they might be able to do against this Jesus
fellow that they considered a great Sabbath breaker (Luke 6:6-
11).

JESUS CONTINUES TO HEAL AND FULFIL A PROPHECY OF ISAIAH

     Jesus knew the hearts of those religious leaders were
against Him, so with His disciples He withdrew to the sea shore.
Yet by this time His fame had spread so far abroad that a huge
crowd of people followed Him. They came from Galilee, from Judea
and Jerusalem, from beyond the Jordan, even from the region Tyre
and Sidon, up on the west coast of Palestine, quite a distance
from Jerusalem. They all came to hear Him speak. So many there
was that He had to tell His disciples to have a boat ready that
He could get into off shore, lest He be crushed by all the people
around Him. 
     Another reason why so many followed Him, and came from so
far away, was because of His healing powers. They wanted to touch
Him to be healed. Many who had evil demon spirits within them
fell down before Him and cried out, " You are the Son of God." 
Yes, those evil spirits knew exactly who He was and through the
mouths of humans confessed it in a public manner. Jesus more
often than not ordered them not to make Him known in this public
way. It was not yet time for such open publication, in that
manner.

     All this was to fulfil that which Isaiah the prophet had
spoken, in the forty-second chapter.
     " Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with
whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and
he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or
cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will
not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he
brings justice to victory; and in his name will the Gentiles
hope. "
     Jesus was not coming with great fan-fare, the blowing of
trumpets, a big firework display, to announce His teaching and
preaching. He was not coming with large display ads in the local
news papers. He did not want publicity campaign managers running
all over the land announcing His fame and unique  origin.
     As for the talk about a bruised reed and smoldering wick,
one of the old master Bible commentators, Albert Barnes, gives
the meaning of all this. We read these words in his commentary on
this passage:

     " The reed is an emblem of feebleness, as well as change
(Mat.11:7). A bruised, broken reed, is an emblem of the poor and
oppressed. It means that he would not oppress the feeble and
poor, as victorious warriors and conquerors did. It is also an
expressive emblem of the soul, broken and contrite on account of
sin, weeping and mourning for transgression. He will not break
it. That is, he will not be haughty, unforgiving, and cruel. He
will heal it, pardon it, and give it strength. 
     Smoking flax. This refers to the wick of a lamp when the oil
is exhausted - the dying. flickering flame and smoke that hang
over it.  It is an emblem, also, of feebleness and infirmity. He
would not further oppress it, and extinguish it. He would not be
like the Jews, proud and overbearing, and trampling down the
poor.....He will not treat them harshly or unkindly, but will
cherish the feeble flame, minister the oil of grace, and kindle
it into a flame.
     Till he send forth judgment unto victory. Judgment here
means truth - the truth of God, the gospel. It shall be
victorious. It shall not be vanquished. Though not such a
conqueror as the Jews expected, but he shall conquer......"

     Jesus was to conquer, but not in the way and manner that
most of the religious leaders of the day and their followers
thought and taught that the Messiah would come. They could only
see the prophecies in the Old Testament that talked about a
powerful warring Messiah to come to set up His Kingdom on the
earth and rule all nations (which prophecies are yet to be
fulfilled).  They had overlooked all the prophecies of His coming
as a life giving Messiah. A Messiah to bring love, peace,
forgiveness, to repentant souls longing to be strengthened and
brought back from a smoldering wick ready to die out, into
a bright burning flame of joyful salvation (Mat.12:15-21; Mark
3:7-12).

     Here again on the sea shore Jesus was living and doing the
very words that Isaiah the prophet was inspired to say He would
do.

       ......................


Written August 2001
     

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