This is our thirty-sixth study. Please click HERE for an introduction to this study.
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
In these verses I think a better translation of verse 39 is… “so that the blind will see and those who think they see will become blind.” (will be humbled). Of course, the Pharisees were offended by this because they believed that they could see (understand) the Scriptures just fine; but they were spiritually blind.
When Jesus said to them, “If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin,” He meant that if they were physically blind and could not read the Scriptures, they would not be guilty, because they would have an excuse; but they were guilty because they were fully capable of reading and understanding the Scriptures. They had no excuse.
If you can read and have a good understanding mind, you should do all we you to obey His word. And be always listening to Him for more insight.
I have read the book before—a while ago. Now I’m reading it again, this time more carefully. I may give a series of blog posts on it, hoping to inspire some of you. Parts of it are gory, but I would focus more on the strength and boldness of the precious martyrs who loved the Lord. They were all so willing and even joyous in their suffering and death, as cruel as it was.
I will start with what happened after the crucifixion of Christ. According to the research of John Fox in 1516, Pontius Pilate was so moved by Christ that he may have become a Christian and tried to convert the whole Roman senate. But Tiberius Caesar would have none of it, and, as Foxe points out, almost all the senators were destroyed and the whole city of Rome was “most horribly afflicted” for almost three hundred years. As for Pilate, he was “sent to Rome, deposed, then banished to the town of Vienne in Dauphiny, and at length did slay himself.”
So, as it appears, Christ was the first of the martyrs. It was his death that so stirred up all of Rome either to believe and not to believe. But it was the evil emperors that were so full of the devil that started the flames of persecution and martyrdom. After Tiberius it was Caligula, Claudius Nero and Domitius Nero who began the reign of terror on the Christians.
I am excited to hear that a woman has come forward and filed a criminal complaint against Gov. Cuomo for groping her. It’s the best thing for all—for New York, for the country, for this woman, and also for Gov. Cuomo. Confessing the truth is always best, and even though Cuomo will probably not confess and agree with the charge, his conviction and possible arrest and demotion will be a great victory for the side of good.
Masks and Shots
I am generally not in favor of masks and vaccines. I think hydroxychloroquine is a much better idea, and there are some other very good drugs out there too. But nonetheless, I’m trying not to get too bent out of shape over the whole mask and vaccine thing. There are some who really fight it, but I guess I’m just not that type. I tend to just let things happen and go with the flow. I know we need warriors who will fight for our rights and freedoms; but for me, I’m not sure its all that important. There are so many other things that are worth fighting for, but shots and masks are not on my list. Except maybe for the kids. Your kids should not be forced to wear masks. That’s ridiculous and not necessary. They are not that apt to get covid. I can’t imagine kids having to sit all day in a classroom with a mask on. I am all for what Gov. Desantis of Florida is doing.
Mask and Vaccination Mandates: An indication of Jesus’ Coming
I hate wearing the mask and dread doing it again—I am waiting for it. But I consider it my Christian duty to suffer through it without complaining. I do think that the evil forces in this world are using this whole thing for evil purposes—to condition people to fall in line with the dictator—who will eventually be the Antichrist. It is coming! Until that time I sit and wait for His coming. And the worse things get, I will take it as an indication and a reminder that time is short and His coming is soon. He is our blessed hope.
Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
There are certainly tragic results of mistreatment on both sides: others mistreating me, as well as my mistreatment of others. And that mistreatment affects not only the one being mistreated, but also the one who is causing the mistreatment.
For this post today, I want to write on how others, as well as myself, have been mistreated. I will start with myself. I couldn’t have been more than seven years old, first grade. My dad had helped me make a boat, really an old clipper ship. It was a great project. We carved it out of a four-by-four block of wood, then we gave it three masks made of dowels, we made sails made of white cloth, and then we tied strings all over it—which were to be the ropes holding the sails in place. I was surprised at how good it looked when it was finished. It was the first project I had ever attempted before—even though Dad had done most of it. Nonetheless, I really felt good about it and proud of myself.
But the very next day after it was finished, I discovered that all the strings (the ropes) were cut. Someone had cut all the ships ropes. Who would do such a thing? I was devastated. At the time I didn’t give much thought on who could have done it. Or why. It didn’t matter to me. The only thing that mattered is that my ship was destroyed.
Obviously, whoever did it didn’t stop and think how they would want to be treated and then how they should treat me. They were thinking only of themselves.
Another victim of mistreatment we often think of is the biblical character Joseph. The story is found in Genesis 37:2-36. He was his father’s favorite son, and so he gave him a beautiful coat of many colors. Well, as the story goes, his brothers were extremely jealous of him, and one day they threw him in a pit and left him for dead. How tragic. As we know, God made things work together for good, and Joseph became the great savior of the Jewish nation. But even so, think of all the pain Joseph went through because of those brothers who thought only of themselves.
Another character we could think of is David. He was such a man of God; he had a heart after God’s own heart. Yet think of how he was abused by others. The Psalms are filled with the prayers of David—how he was chased and was fearful of his enemies—those who certainly were not following the Golden Rule.
The ultimate example of mistreatment by others was our Lord Jesus. And we are all guilty. But the Pharisees seemed to be the ones who were after Him the most—to be rid of Him. And Scripture tells us that they handed Him over (to be crucified) “because of envy” (Matt. 27:18). Think of it. Their sin of envy was so strong that it blocked out any thought of how they should treat others.
Of course, they were not believers, and that is the entire problem. The Golden Rule makes no sense to a non-believer. Only true believers will carry it out. And only a true believer can carry it out. If you want to make a huge impact on peoples lives, if you want to really love them as God loves them, give your heart and soul to God and then practice this Golden Rule. I think it is how we can really begin to love others.
This Golden Rule is so simple, yet profound. It is simple because there is only one thing we are required to do—think how I would want to be treated by others and then treat them that way. It is profound because it works. And it starts with us. We start this process of love, and other will pick it up and carry it on.
And when a non-Christian sees how we lovingly treat each other, they will be curious and will want to join us. I think so. I pray so.
This is our sixth study on this topic. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
In this text we see that the Pharisees wanted to see a sign from Jesus. They of course were already seeing miracles of healing, but they wanted something more spectacular. Evidently, they wanted more proof that He was who He said He was. They wanted a show. This reminds me of what the second end times beast will do, the one called “the false prophet.” In Revelation 13:13-15 it says that he will perform great signs, even make fire come down out of heaven; and he will “give breath to the image of the beast.” He will do these things obviously to win the people over and for an evil purpose.
Jesus knew their heart and would not give them what they wanted, because it would be evil and adulterous (a spiritual adultery, or idolatry). Instead, He gave them a sign from Scripture, the sign (or miracle) of the resurrection. This sign was given in the experience of Jonah: that “as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” This saying was a type of Christ’s interment and resurrection.
The message that Jesus gave the Pharisees was meant not just as a prophecy of His resurrection, but more as a rebuke for their wanting a sign. He rebuked the Pharisees (v. 14) by telling them that even the wicked people of Nineveh were better (more responsive to God) than they were because the people of Nineveh repented by the preaching of Jonah, but they refused to repent even though one greater than Jonah was there—Jesus Himself.
This is our fourth study on this topic. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. We will focus our study for this post on Matthew 12:1-8.
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread — which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Here are four things we may observe about this passage.
1. Though the Pharisees immediately jumped at Jesus for His disciples’ “unlawful” acts on the Sabbath, they were wrong. Gleaning grain from a neighbors’ field to satisfy one’s hunger was permitted.
If you enter your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to his standing grain (Deut. 23:25).
2. Jesus also pointed out (from 1 Samuel 21:4-6) that David’s men did the same thing in the temple when they were hungry.
But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here — provided the men have kept themselves from women.”
5 David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away (1 Sam 21:4-6).
3. I’m sure the Pharisees were quite shocked when Jesus said to them that He was greater than the temple and was Lord of the Sabbath. I’m sure they were fuming with anger. Yet Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth.
4. This passage shows us how ignorant the Pharisees were on the moral nature of the law and had the wrong focus of the law—only looking at the outward, ritual aspects of keeping the law.
It would do us well to study the word in order to be informed, in case someone should question us or accuse us of something. It will not only serve to protect us, but it will aid us to correctly instruct another and even lead them to Christ.
This is our third study on this topic. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. We will begin our study for this post in Matthew 9:32-34
As they were going out, “a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
What happened to the man was clear and undeniable. Jesus drove a demon out of the man and he was healed. He could speak. And the crowd was amazed at what happened.
But what was puzzling is the response by the “righteous” Pharisees. They said that the reason he was able to cast out demons was because he called on “the prince of demons.” (the devil).
First of all, that makes no sense. Why would the devil want his demons to be cast out? His kingdom would not stand if he went about casting out his own forces (read what Jesus said in Matthew 12:25-30).
I think the real reason the Pharisees said what they said was because they hated Jesus and they were jealous of what he was able to do. So, they had to say something to discredit him.
This text reminds me of the former U.S. administration, with Donald Trump as President. He did so many good things for the country and yet the media and the Democrats were so jealous of him and hated him. And it didn’t matter what he did, they always found a way to discredit him. I have heard many times that he could have found a cure for cancer and they would have found a way to discredit it, or give the credit to someone else.
I think we see so much of the Pharisees in the Democrat party and the Democrat media. Watch how they act: so self-righteous; and Nancy Pelosi, how she was praying for everyone. But also notice how she could not give President Trump praise for anything, and publicly tore up President Trump’s State of the Union Speech.
This is our second study on this topic. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. We will begin our study for this post in Matthew 9:10-13.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Pharisees apparently thought that a righteous person should not mingle with or be seen with sinners. That would ruin a person’s reputation. A righteous person, to them, should only be seen with the upper class of society.
But Jesus was more concerned with serving others. He reasoned that we cannot help the sinner unless we go to them and be seen with them. And also, he did not come to help those who think they are already good enough (the Pharisees), but to help those who know they are sinners. Thus, He was saying to the Pharisees that He could do nothing for them; they had too much pride.
We should not be so concerned with our reputation or how we look to others. We should be more concerned with helping others who are in need, who need our mercy. So, wherever we go we should seek out those who have needs and who are open to our help. And we should not waist our time with those like the Pharisees who think they are good enough already.
The Pharisees in the Bible were members of a religious group or party that frequently clashed with Jesus Christ over his interpretation of the Law.
The Pharisees formed the largest and most influential religious-political party in New Testament times. They are consistently depicted in the Gospels as antagonists or opponents of Jesus Christ and the early Christians.
The name “Pharisee” means “separated one.” The Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people because they considered them religiously unclean.
Besides this article—and there is a lot more to it if you care to click the title and read it—I’m sure we will gain a good bit of info on the Pharisees just by this progressive study.
What I want to do in this study is to just observe what the Pharisees do and say toward Jesus and about Jesus; we want to see their attitude toward Jesus. We also want to see Jesus’ attitude and sayings about the Pharisees. In the end, we want to make some applications for ourselves and maybe also about other people. We want to look and see how some people are like the Pharisees and how others are more like Jesus. Generally, we can say that Jesus is the good guy who does everything right (because He is God); and the Pharisees are the bad guys who do most things wrong—though in their eyes, they are always right—righteous.
Okay, here is what we will do. I have already found all the passages in the gospels where there is a conversation or debate between Jesus and a pharisee, or a group of Pharisees. I found 41 such passages, eliminating all the repeat passages (mainly between Matthew and Mark, in which case I used Matthew). We will take this study a little at a time until we are finished. We will start this first blog with Matthew 5:17-20.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Bold text for emphasis)
In this passage Jesus is preaching in His famous Sermon on the Mount. He is saying here that He has come to fulfill the law, not to abolish it—as the Pharisees may have been saying about Him. In this public sermon He does not tip toe around the Pharisees. He comes right at them, telling His disciples and all who are listening that their kind of righteousness is not good enough to enter heaven. He said that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees…you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
John MacArthur in his bible notes writes that the Pharisees “had a tendency to soften the law’s demands by focusing only on external obedience.” But Jesus here was preaching a more “radical holiness” that demanded on “internal conformity to the spirit of the law.”
If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we ought to boldly warn against false teachers. And if we know who they are we ought not to be afraid to point them out.
In order to get the full benefit of Christ’s work for us on earth and in heaven—which would include receiving forgiveness of sins and answers to prayer—we must come to faith in His blood, rather we must trust Him and believe in the value of His shed blood for us.
I like what Charles Fuller has said:
You can never benefit from Christ’s work, typified by the Golden Altar, until you accept what He has done for you at the Brazen Altar. You can never have the confidence that Christ intercedes on your behalf, until you have accepted his atoning death for your sins. Remember, to get to the Golden Altar you must first pass by the Brazen Altar where the sacrificial lamb was slain and offered up. So likewise, to know Christ’s constant watch-care over your life, you must first humbly kneel at the foot of the Cross, confess…