Jesus and the Pharisees: from Luke 7:28-35

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Luke 7:28-35

This is our twenty-third study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Luke 7:28-35

28 “I say to you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  29 And when all the people and the tax-gatherers heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. 31 “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 “They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another; and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ 33 “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ 35 “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Observations

Jesus here observed the Pharisees’ childish behavior. They rebuked His behavior of eating and drinking with sinners in order to befriend them. But they also rejected John’s more rigid behavior of abstinence, a behavior that they said Jesus should have. This reveals that they were rejecting anyone who was a true believer in God. They were revealing their pagan nature.

Application

We should be able to judge whether a person is a true Christian or not by their attitude toward good Christians. A pagan, like the Pharisees will always have a negative attitude toward any true Christian; they will always find something wrong with them.

Sir John Oldcastle — from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

After John Wickliffe, the battle against the evil Pope of Rome, which they regarded as the great Antichrist of Europe, came to Sir John Oldcastle, knight, Lord Cobham, leader of the Lollards. The king at first supported him in his beliefs, but soon he gave into the church and insisted that Lord Cobham go to the Pope and be corrected.

So he submitted himself and was fully examined in what he and his brethren, the Lollards believed. And, as it was also with John Wickliffe, he spoke straight out boldly, even to call the Pope the Antichrist! So, he explained both how he believed and also how he did not believe in many of the doctrines of the Pope (the church at that time).

They required him to speak concerning four points: 1) On the sacraments; 2) on the need to join the Catholic church; 3) that the power of the Papacy was given to the church by St. Peter; and 4) on the requirement to go on a pilgrimage to view holy places, relics, and images, etc. To all these four points Lord Cobham gave them the wrong answer, but instead said that he saw no commandment of God in the Scriptures concerning any of those points. He also said, “I will no otherwise believe in these points than what I have told you here before. Do with me what you will.”

And with that answer the archbishop stood and read a bill of his condemnation. They charged that he was a heretic in his own person as well as a heretic of the church of Rome. They also denounced as many as were in favour of him and defended him.

To that condemnation Lord Cobham responded “with a most cheerful countenance:”

Though ye judge my body, which is but a wretched thing, yet am I certain and sure, that ye can do no harm to my soul, no more than could Satan unto the soul of Job.

Then, because of Lord Cobham’s good response, they feared that maybe they were too cruel in the eyes of the people and the king, so they gathered together to make him look bad. Well, after one false accusation did not work, they tried another. They set out to bring a pack of lies about him to the king and so to set the king against him. And it worked.

And so, the true Christians were betrayed both by the church of Rome and also by the king. And as it happened, the king ordered that all who read the Scriptures according to Wickliffe’s translation, would forfeit land, cattle, body, life and goods forever. And so, they were condemned as heretics and as enemies to the crown. And if they would not repent and recant, they would suffer death by hanging for treason against the king, and then be burned for heresy against God.

So, as it was, many of the Lollards did suffer cruel death. But many fled out of the land and to other countries. Lord Cobham also escaped and fled into Wales. But after four years they found him and brought him back to London. There he had his Arms bound behind him; and after he fell down upon his knees, he in prayer forgave his enemies; and then he stood and exhorted them in a godly manner to follow the laws of God. He was then hanged by the middle and also was consumed alive in fire. And all the while he was praising the name of God as long as his life lasted.

My Comments

As I thought about how the Papacy set out to make themselves look good and to make Lord Cobham look bad with lies, I thought about how this also happened at our Lord’s trial. It was the same. And it was by the same Pharisees. But it is also being done today. There are many evil doers like the Clinton’s and like the Obama’s and like the Biden’s. They are constantly telling lies in order to make themselves look good and others look bad. Yes, it is interesting how evil is repeated over and over again through the centuries. And it is so interesting how those in high positions take such great pains to plot their evil schemes. It was done many centuries ago, and it is still being done today. I think how President Trump was plotted against, saying that he was aided by Russia. And then, the latest and most damaging evil scheme is the voting fraud. And it seems that there is nothing stopping it—because there are so many ways that this evil is being done: by rigging the voting machines, by not counting votes, by duplicating votes, by counting the votes of the dead, by discarding ballots, etc.

And soon we will see true Christians being tormented and martyred just as was done in Rome and then by the church. Well, it is being done in some countries now by Muslims. But soon it will be done world-wide by the state and the church, by the Antichrist and also by the false church. Yes, as soon as the true church is taken up to God, these things will begin. I think this evil action is closer to us than we think.

John Wickliffe — from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

As mentioned in my last post on this subject, Constantine the Great stopped the persecutions for 1,000 years until John Wickliffe. However, it was through the doings of Constantine that the church became corrupted by the Romans as they successfully mixed the church with the evil Roman government (as they were corrupted by Babylonian influence by which much idolatry was introduced).

So it was, with this background, John Wickliffe came on the scene. This biblical scholar from England, the Lord raised up to detect and combat all the Pope’s false doctrine. Indeed, he had a challenge since the Pope managed to keep the true gospel and all of the bible out of the hands of the people. They did know the name of Christ, but they knew nothing of the apostle’s doctrine, such as justification by faith, the liberty of the Christian, the strength of sin, etc. Instead, the Pope’s main teaching was of ceremonies and traditions.

So it was, seemingly, that John Wickliffe alone took great pains to protest this false teaching of the Pope openly in the schools. And he was somewhat supported by the King—at least at first.

Oh, Wickliffe was a bold fellow, not afraid of the Papacy in the least. Here are a few points of Wickliffe’s sermons:

  • The holy eucharist is not the very body of Christ.
  • The church of Rome is not the head of all churches.
  • The Gospel is a rule sufficient of itself, without any other rule.
  • The Pope ought not to have prisons to punish transgressors.

Wickliffe, for his sermons, was commanded by the bishops to keep silence, but it was written that “he burst out afterward much more fiercely.” And he for his boldness got “the goodwill and favour of certain noblemen… [and] the common people.”

Then, in 1377, Pope Gregory, sent a letter (a bull) to the university of Oxford (where Wickliffe arrived from and taught at) and rebuked them for putting up with the teachings of Wickliffe. His words were quite fierce against Wickliffe: that he made “erroneous and false propositions…savoring even of heretical pravity, tending to weaken and overthrow the status of the whole church…” So, they were told, “By our authority you seize or cause to be seized the said John.” And then another letter was sent that he should be warned by public citation to appear before the Pope to be admonished.

Well, as it happened, by the miraculous grace of God, John Wickliffe managed to escape out of the bishops’ hands, by the aid one time of a great earthquake, and a second time by a lightning strike.

But yet, the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered a mandate against John Wickliffe that he was forbidden to preach “his heresies” against the church. But at the same time the chancellor in Oxford favoured Wickliffe and said that he was a good and innocent man. And so, it went like that back and forth.

Well, as it happened Wickliffe was secretly kept safe from the Pope and he died an old man. Yet he was declared a heretic and was cursed by the holy catholic church. And they set out to find his body and to burn his bones, but they could not find him; so they burned the bones of another man instead and said it was John Wickliffe.

Wickliffe became the father and leader of all those true Christians who would follow him. And though he was not martyred, all that followed him were martyred, as the Popes became more and more evil and not willing that any would escape from their grasp.

How Desire Helps Prayer Gain the Answers

Prayer A to Z

 

M. Bounds has said, “It is the ardor created by desire that burns its way to the throne of mercy and gains its plea.” Again, Bounds said of desire, “This holy and fervid flame in the soul awakens the interests of heaven, attracts the attention of God, and places at the disposal of those who exercise it, the exhaustless riches of Divine grace.” Thus desire not only helps me pray, but it helps my prayers reach God.

But we must not think that what Bounds is suggesting is that we can manipulate God by our desire.  No, God is in no way surprised by our desire or feels manipulated.  In fact, He waits for us to come to Him with desire—that desire that He has already planted within our heart.

Moreover, when we come to Him with holy desire for certain things, we have the promises of God assuring…

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How Desire Helps Us Pray

These few lines were written about twenty years ago in chapter seven of my book, Prayer A to Z and later put in my Studying Prayer blog. Enjoy.

Prayer A to Z

When we desire and seek God, He brings us into a love relationship with Him—a relationship of a son or daughter to a father.  As our Father He desires to give us all the things we need.  As a son or daughter we naturally desire to receive from Him what He desires to give us.  And this is the beginning of what we call prayer.  It is reallythe basis of prayer.

Some Hebrew and Greek words can be translated as either desire,prayer, or request.  For example, I looked up the word desire in my Vine’s Expository Dictionary and found that two Greek words, eratao and aiteo, are sometimes translated as desire, but most often as ask or request.  We could also come from the other end.  That is, if you look up all the Greek words for prayer, there are two words, deomi and deesis

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Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Ignatius and Blandina

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: About Ignatius and Blandina

Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch after Peter, was sent to Rome to be devoured by wild beasts. But before he arrived “he wrote to the church of Rome not to try to deliver him lest they should deprive him of that which he longed and hoped for.” He said,

‘I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus!’ And even when he was sentenced to be thrown to the beasts, such was the burning desire that he had to suffer, that he spake, what time he heard the lions roaring, saying, ‘I am the wheat of Christ: I am going to be ground with teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found pure bread.’

A noble woman, Blandina, it was said,

Was endued with so much fortitude that those who successively tortured her from morning to night were quite worn out with fatigue, owned themselves conquered and exhausted of their whole apparatus of tortures, and were amazed to see her still breathing whilst her body was torn and laid open. The blessed woman recovered fresh vigor in the act of confession…

Blandina, suspended from a stake, was exposed as food to the wild beasts; she was seen suspended in the form of a cross and employed in vehement supplication. The sight inspired her fellow-combatants with much alacrity, while they beheld with their bodily eyes, in the person of their sister, the figure of Him who was crucified for them. None of the beasts at that time touched her: [so]she was taken down from the stake and thrown again into prison. Weak and contemptible as she might be deemed, yet when clothed with Christ, the mighty and invincible champion, she became victorious over the enemy…

After she had endured stripes, the tearing of the beasts, and the iron chair, she was enclosed in a net, and thrown to a bull; and having been tossed some time by the animal…

It was written that she was “rejoicing and triumphing in her exit, as if invited to a marriage supper.”

There were many more martyrs with wonderful stories of great strength in their faith, who rejoiced greatly in their suffering for Christ. A few names are these: Lawrence, Alban of England and Romanus who sang songs as he was whipped.

When Constantine came to power (A.D. 306-337), he stopped the persecutions and for the next one-thousand years there were no more martyrs until the time of John Wickliffe. This you may think was wonderful news, however, it was terribly detrimental to the church, as I will point out next time.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Peter, Paul and John

I have been writing notes and excepts from the book, and this time I will write about the apostle Peter, Paul and John. Beginning with Peter, as he was waiting to be crucified, some were telling him to run out of the city (Rome). And as he was trying to avoid what they were saying, yet running, it was reported that he saw the Lord Christ coming to meet him. I will quote exactly what was written:

Coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to Whom he, worshipping, said, ‘Lord, whither dost Thou go?’ To whom He answered and said, ‘I am come to be crucified.’ By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned back into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

As for Paul, there is not much written about him, except that before he was beheaded, it was written that he suffered some under Nero. Then the two men, Ferega and Parthemius, who came to execute him, first desired him to pray for them that they might believe. He did pray for them, and after he prayed, the executioners gave his neck to the sword. So, he died in the same way John the Baptist died. And Paul also died much like Jesus in that he was praying for others right up until his death.

John the apostle was exiled into Patmos. Then, after the death of Domitian Nero, John was released and came to Ephesus and there governed the churches of Asia and also where he wrote his gospel. He lived there until he dies at the age of about one hundred. (So, it appears that he weas the only apostle who weas not martyred, except for being sent to Patmos.)

The persecutions continued according to “whatsoever the cruelness of man’s invention could devise…”  But in spite of it, “the church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles…”

Taken from pages 12-18 of the book.