Difficult Inconvenient Truths #002

For those of us who have the passion to read our Bible every day …

From time to time we read very difficult passages.

They are difficult for us because they demand firm decision making and sacrifices on our part to fully agree with what Jesus said and to do them!

They are difficult because they address our relationship with God and the people around us.

Here is an example –

 

(Matthew 5:20) – For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Was Jesus praising the Pharisees? Not at all.

Jesus had on many occasions preached against the Pharisees.

Imagine if you were among those disciples listening to Jesus. Would you not be surprised?

 

Jesus main point is about entering the kingdom of God. In this same message Jesus exposed certain practices of the Pharisees that were misleading.

I want to address two major concerns about the Pharisees’ behavior Jesus exposed –

 

1) Form without Substance

 (Matthew 23:1-3) –  Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.

In Jesusdays the Pharisees were promoting Moses’ law, which was important for understanding the righteousness and justice of God.

But they weren’t practicing what they were preaching.

Furthermore, these Pharisees, (who were experts in the law of Moses,) rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

The writings of Moses foretold the coming of the Messiah. They also predicted Jesus as the Christ and the fulfillment of the Old Testaments laws and prophesies.

The totality of Moses law taught us about our human need for a redeemer from our condemnation to death due to sin. The Old Testament prophecies foretold how God would send His redeemer to those awaiting salvation.

Therefore, if these Pharisees had been practicing what they preached, they would have recognized and received Jesus as the coming Messiah.

 

2) Neither faith nor obedience towards the will of God

The Pharisees refused to obey the will of God. They showed no faith towards the promises of God fulfilled in the days of John the Baptist and Jesus

 

(Luke 20:3-7)Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from.

 

In those days the Jews who were waiting for the coming Messiah knew John the Baptist fulfilled what was prophesied by the last known prophet of the Old Testament –

 

Malachi 3:1 -“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

 

Those Jews who know Malachi knew what God demanded.

People came from all over Israel to be baptized of John the Baptist, in hope and faith to receive the blessing and promises of God, and to meet the coming Messiah!

John the Baptist was the quintessential fore-runner of Jesus public ministry.

 

Now lets’ look at –

(Matthew 5:20) – For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus main point is about entering the kingdom of God.

The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They refused to obey and had no faith in God’s plan of salvation fulfilled through Jesus.

Jesus addressed these Pharisees as –

 

Hypocrite (ὑποκριτής, οῦ, ὁ) – a stage-player, dissembler, pretender

 

The Pharisee appeared to be strict and legalistic, but Jesus exposed them to be hypocrite, their doctrine deceptive, and their practice misleading.

So what were they pretending? They were pretending they have secured access into the kingdom of God when they don’t!

There were people who wanted to be Jesus disciple but were misled, prevented and confused by the Pharisees.

Jesus main point is to ensure that we enter the kingdom of God thought Him and not be deceived and diverted by the Pharisees.

 

God’s gift of eternal life is through faith in Jesus

Our entrance into the kingdom of God is through faith in Jesus.

Faith has everything to do with our trust and confidence in Jesus to save us and put us in the kingdom of God.

People who say they have faith in Jesus will also bear fruits of obedience.

 

Faith and obedience are two sides of the same coin!

 

Romans 10:17 -So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

Faith (πίστις, εως, ἡ) –  belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.

 

In-His-Service

David Z