The Danger of Using People & Their Needs As Pawns, Puppets & Weapons

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-two through fifty of the twelfth chapter. WHEN THE PHARISEES SAW IT! WHEN THE PHARISEES HEARD IT! TNHE QUARREL OF TRADITION! THE QUARREL OF THE LAW! USING THE LAW TO ACCUSE JESUS! ANGERED AND OUTRAGED AT JESUS WHWN JE DOESN’T CONFORM TO YOUR LAWS! THE PHARISEES WOULD KEEP YOU WITHERED! THE PHARISEES WOULD KEEP YOU BLIND AND DUMB! UNABLE TO SEE, UNABLE TO SPEAK! THE TWIN ATTACKS OF THE ENEMY! IF YOU’RE BLIND AND DUMB YOU’RE OF NO THREAT! IF YOU’RE BLIND AND DUMB YOU’RE NEUTRALIZED!  GENERATION OF VIPERS! ADULTEROUS GENERATION! THE PHARISEES WERE STILL BEING CALLED VIPERS! SNAKES AT THE DOOR! SNAKES IN THE GARDEN! SNAKES AT THE TABLE! THE SAME ONES WHO SOUGHT TO ACCUSE JESUS WANTED A SIGN! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will again find Jesus at the center of intense criticism, accusation, and judgment at the behest of the Pharisees. What’s more, is that when you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the beginning of the rise of the plot and conspiracy of the Pharisees against Jesus to put Him down and to destroy Him. Virtually the entire twelfth chapter is centered around Jesus choosing to heal and bring deliverance, and as a direct result of His works and actions within the earth we find the Pharisees growing angered, outraged, incensed and offended with Him. What makes the words within this chapter all the more remarkable and astounding is when you think about and consider the fact that it doesn’t even begin with Jesus’ actions, but rather with the actions of the disciples. If and as you take the time to read the words which are found within this particular chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the angst and the ire of the Pharisees not even being initially direct toward Jesus, but rather toward His disciples. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for while a vast majority of the offense and quarrel the Pharisees had within themselves was directed toward Jesus—there were times when they were incense at the disciples whom He had called and chosen. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this passage beginning with the first and opening verse:

            “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But He said unto them, have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the Temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:1-8).

            The words which are presented before us within the opening passage of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew are actually quite astonishing when you take the time to think about and consider them. When you take the time to read the words found here in this portion of Scripture you will find that Jesus and His disciples were walking through the corn on the sabbath day—and not only were they walking through the corn field on the sabbath day, but the apostle Matthew also writes and records how they were an hungered while walking in the midst of the corn. It would be while Jesus and His disciples walked in the midst of the corn that His disciples began to pluck the ears of the corn and to eat them. We must needs pay close and careful attention to the actions of the disciples—and not only the action of the disciples, but also the observation of the Pharisees. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand when reading the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is that the Pharisees were always those who were watching, those who were always observing, and those who were always looking for ways, means and avenues to accuse, condemn, indict and judge Jesus. Not only this, but you will find the Pharisees were always looking for means to accuse Jesus—and not merely accuse Him, but accuse Him based on their laws and their traditions. The more you read the words which are found within the gospel narratives written by the gospel authors the more you will be brought face to face with the strong and undeniable fact that more often than not when the Pharisees were incensed, angered and outraged at Jesus, they were outraged because His words and His actions violated their traditions, their laws, and their rules and regulations which had been put in place. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when the Pharisees grew angered and offended with Jesus it was because He was one who appeared to show absolutely no regard for their laws, nor even their traditions, and would go about doing the will of the Father. What makes this even more remarkable is when you consider the fact within the gospels it would be apparent that the divine will and work of the Father would go against and directly violate the traditions and rules of men. In order to help us understand this even more it is absolutely necessary for us to consider the words which the ancient prophet Isaiah prophesied during his days and generation:

            “Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (Isaiah 29:13-14).

            The more I think about and consider the words which are found within the gospel narratives written by the gospel authors the more I can’t help but think about and consider that more often than not the work and will of the Father not only showed no regard for the rules, the regulations and traditions of men, but it almost seemed to be directly opposed and set against them. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the fact that the words which Jesus spoke and the works which He performed in the midst of the earth were a clear and present contrast—and more often than not directly opposed the rules, the traditions and the laws of men. I cannot help but read the gospel narratives and be brought face to face with the absolutely incredible and tremendous truth that the words which Jesus spoke and the works which He performed among men were such that not only angered and outraged the scribes and the Pharisees, but also seemed to violate the rules, the traditions and the laws which had been set up. Undoubtedly the traditions, the rules and the laws which had been set up among the people—those which the elders of the people, those which the scribes, those with the Pharisees, those which the chief priests, and those which the Pharisees and Sadducees adhered to were directly disregarded and discarded by the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot read the words which are found within the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible fact that Jesus’ words and actions—those which were directly in alignment with and according to the divine will of the Father—would be so diametrically opposed to the traditions and laws which the religious leaders and system adhered to so closely.

            It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found in the four gospel narratives and not encounter the awesome and tremendous truth that one of the reasons the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the elders of Israel were so outraged against Jesus was that He was one whom they could not intimidate, He was one whom they could not control, He was one whom they could not tempt, nor was He one whom they could ensnare and entrap. Time and time again when you read the gospel narratives you will find the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the teachers of the Law, and those within the religious system and establishment seeking to ensnare and entrap Jesus by asking Him a question and/or even by placing something before Him to see what He might do and how He might respond.  A perfect example of this is found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for when you come to this particular chapter you will find a woman who was caught in the act of adultery whom the scribes and Pharisees not only brought unto the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, but also brought into the presence of Jesus who was teaching within the Temple. The reason they brought this woman—that one who had been caught in the very act of adultery—into the presence of Jesus was not only to see what He would say and how He would respond, but also that they might find reason to accuse Him. This reality is manifested for the very first time within the gospels in the twelfth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew, and beginning to read with and from the ninth verse. If and as you come to the ninth verse of this particular chapter you will find Jesus entering into a synagogue and going into the synagogue—as was His custom. There in the synagogue there was a man whose hand was withered, and it would be directly associated with and connected to this particular man and the need within his life that the Pharisees would seek to rise up and find reason to accuse and find fault within Jesus. As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will encounter the Pharisees and those which were present in the synagogue asking Jesus a very pointed, and yet very powerful question. The question the Pharisees asked Jesus there in the synagogue—perhaps in the sight and hearing of all those who were present was whether or not it was lawful to heal on the sabbath days.

            Please do not miss the incredible importance of the words which are found within this particular passage of Scripture, for the words which we find here call and draw our attention to the absolutely tremendous truth that the Pharisees not only would seek and search for means and reasons to accuse Jesus, but they would also use people and their lives to do so. Stop for a moment and think about that truth, for more often than not when the Pharisees sought to ensnare, sought to entrap, and sought to accuse Jesus, they would do so using ordinary people. What’s more, is that not only would the Pharisees and those during the days of Jesus used ordinary people, but they would also use the needs of those individuals. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear how long this man had entered into the synagogue and listened to the words which the teachers of the Law and the scribes had spoken, and at the same time had this withered hand. Scripture makes absolutely no reference to whether or not this man with the withered hand just happened to be in the synagogue on this particular day, however, we can be absolutely certain and sure that this man would be used as a tool in the hands and minds of the Pharisees to ensnare, entrap and accuse Jesus. Oh pause and truly think about the ramifications and implications of what is presented before us here, for not only were the Pharisees and those present on this day looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, but they would also seek to do so using men and women as pawns, as instruments, and as tools to accomplish and fulfil their agenda against Jesus. The apostle Matthew writes and records within this passage of Scripture that this man with the withered hand was present there in the synagogue when Jesus and His disciples were within it, and those who were present sought to use this man and the need within his physical person as means of accusing Jesus—and not only accusing Jesus, but by accusing Jesus might find reason to indict and condemn Him.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that not only would the Pharisees—those who among others were entrusted with teaching the Law of Moses—watch and carefully observe the actions of Jesus, but they would also seek to use very real people with their needs as tools and instruments against Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how deadly and dangerous this is, for within the gospel narratives we find the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the teachers of the Law, and the religious system and establishment during those days using people—almost against Jesus within the work the Father had ordained and appointed Him to do. Stop for a moment and think about just how dangerous that truly is, for the scribes and the Pharisees actually thought and believed they could use men and women as tools, as instruments, and as pawns in their game of hypocrisy, judgment, accusation, condemnation, entrapment, and the like. The scribes and the Pharisees sought to highlight and bring to the forefront the very real needs which were present within the lives of ordinary and real people among them, and their sole reason and purpose for doing so was that they might find means to accuse and entrap the Lord Jesus Christ. This is truly something we must needs pay close and careful attention to, for it calls and draws our attention—not only to the fact that they were angered when they saw their rules and traditions being allegedly violated by Jesus, but also to the fact that they showed absolutely no regard for human life, nor even for human need. If there is one thing we must needs realize and recognize when reading the words found within this passage of Scripture it’s that the Pharisees cared absolutely nothing for others, nor even cared anything for the very real needs which were present within the hearts and lives of others. The Pharisees would use any and every means necessary to find reason to accuse Jesus, and they would even use the needs of others—needs which they were perhaps self-conscious over—that they might find reason to rise up against Jesus in accusation, in condemnation and in judgment. With this being we must also realize and understand that the scribes and Pharisees always seemed to sit, move and walk in that place of judgment, that place of accusation and that place of judgment. You cannot read the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that the Pharisees were those who always remained in that seat and that place of judgment—and more often than not they would sit in that seat of judgment toward and against Jesus.

            The more I think about and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face—not only with the fact that the Pharisees were those who always seemed to sit and walk in the seat of judgment, not only with the fact that they always seemed to be watching and listening when Jesus moved among men during those days, but they also had absolutely no regard for human life at all. As you read the words which are found within these gospel narratives—even those words which you find within this particular chapter—you will find that the Pharisees cared absolutely nothing about those who were of their own kindred and race, and would use whomever they could that they might entrap and ensnare Jesus in His words and actions. Thus far I have not only mentioned the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, but I have also mentioned this man who had a withered hand. What so astonishes and amazes me about the words we find within the twelfth chapter is that not only would the Pharisees use this man with the withered hand as his need as means to accuse Jesus, but they would use this man in the synagogue and on the sabbath. IN THE SYNAGOGUE ON THE SABBATH! The question the Pharisees and those which were present there was whether or not it was lawful for men to heal on the sabbath day, and yet what we must needs realize, recognize and understand is that on the very same day they would like others to believe they revered, honored and made holy they themselves would rise up in accusation, and they themselves would seek to ensnare and entrap Jesus. It’s actually quite remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider this, for what we find within these verses and these passages of Scripture is a group of people who would not only use the synagogue, and would not only use the synagogue, but would also use human life and the very real needs of others that they might find reason to accuse Jesus the Christ.

            I have to admit that the more I read and the more I consider the words which are found within this particular chapter the more I am brought face to face with the strong and powerful truth that the scribes, the Pharisees, and members of the religious community and system during those days would not only use the lives of others as tools and instruments against Jesus, but they would also use the needs of such individuals as means to accuse Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible and astonishing this truly is, for what we find within the gospel narratives seems to indicate that the scribes and the Pharisees cared absolutely nothing for others, and cared absolutely nothing for the very real needs which were present within their lives. Oh I cannot escape the absolutely tremendous and astonishing truth surrounding the words which are found within this particular passage of Scripture, for what we find within this passage of Scripture is a picture of the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Jesus for allegedly violating their laws and traditions and doing that which is “not lawful” upon the sabbath day. In the first eight verses of this chapter we find the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Jesus to Jesus Himself—and not only accusing the disciples, but also accusing them of doing that which was unlawful on the sabbath. If there is one thing we must needs realize and understand concerning their statement and accusation toward and against the disciples of Jesus it’s that their accusation was based on their interpretation and understand of the law of Moses. What we must needs realize and understand is that not only did the Pharisees seek to accuse according to their traditions, their rules and their regulations, but they also sought to accuse according to and based on their understanding and interpretation of the Law of Moses. The more you read the words which are found within the gospel narratives the more you will realize and understand that the Law was interpreted and understood in a very different manner by and among the scribes and the Pharisees. You cannot read the gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely remarkable and astonishing truth that more often than not the accusation, the quarrel and the offense of the scribes, the Pharisees, and the religious system of that day was directly based on their interpretation of the Law and what the Scriptures said.

            It is this concept of the scribes and Pharisees accusing, condemning and judging others based on their understanding of the Law and what the LORD actually spoke and commanded unto Moses that we must needs realize and understand, for we would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a brief moment—that this same reality isn’t manifested among us within our churches and within our communities. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider that such realities are not manifested and present among us within our bodies and communities of believers, and that we ourselves do not seek to judge, accuse and condemn others based on our understanding of the Scriptures. What makes this even more revealing and telling is when you think about and consider Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and those which were mentioned and spoken of in this passage of Scripture, for Jesus would proceed to speak to them from the Law that He might correct their understanding and correct their reasoning. When Jesus was being tempted of the devil in the wilderness He stood upon the truth and the words which were found in the Word of God, and within and throughout His public ministry we find Him standing in the midst of the scribes, in the midst of the Pharisees, in the midst of the teachers of the Law, in the midst of the elders of Israel, and in the midst of the religious system and establishment of His day according to the same Word of God. You cannot read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and not encounter the tremendous fact that when the Pharisees sought to accuse the disciples of Jesus, and when the Pharisees sought to even accuse Jesus, Jesus would take them to the Word and to what the Word of God actually said that He might correct their understanding. It’s incredibly intriguing and interesting to think about and consider the words which are found within the gospel narratives, for while He was in the wilderness being tempted of the devil Jesus stood upon the Word of God that He might overcome the temptation of the devil. Now here we have Jesus being accused by the scribes and the Pharisees, and in the midst of such accusation Jesus would bring them back to the Word—He would bring them back to the very Law which they themselves professed to be experts in.

            The words which are found within the twelfth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew are absolutely and incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about and consider them, for within this passage of Scripture—not only do we find the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Jesus of doing that which was “not lawful” on the Sabbath day, but in the very next passage we find those which were present in the synagogue seeking to find means to accuse Jesus. The way they would seek to accuse Jesus was by using one who was present among them—and not only one who was present among them, but also one who had a need within his life—almost against Jesus. Oh I still cannot escape the tremendous reality surrounding this particular concept, for what we find within this passage is not only those who were present in the synagogue seeking to use this particular one to accuse Jesus, but I would also even dare say they sought to use this one against Jesus. WHEN RELIGION USES MEN TO ACCUSE JESUS! WHEN RELIGIOUS USES MEN AGAINST JESUS! Oh there is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture that what we find here is a group of people which were present during the days of Jesus who cared absolutely nothing for others, and those who cared absolutely nothing for the very real and present needs of others. The scribes, the Pharisees, and the religious system of that day would indeed use whomever they could as tools, as pawns, and as instruments whereby they might find reason to accuse Him. The scribes, the Pharisees and the religious system of the day would use whomever they could and whomever they would that they might use both they and their need as instruments and weapons against Jesus. Dear reader—mark these words and mark them well, for it is incredibly dangerous to use others as tools, as instruments and as weapons in the sight and presence of Jesus the Christ. One of the greatest sins of the scribes and the Pharisees was that they would use men and women as tools, as instruments, and even as weapons against Jesus—and they did this that they might find reason to accuse Him. The scribes and the Pharisees would use men and women which were present during those days as means to raise themselves up against Jesus that they might find reason to accuse and condemn Him.

            The narrative that is found within this passage of Scripture not only finds the Pharisees accusing the disciples of doing that which “was not lawful” on the Sabbath day, and not only finds them using one who was present in the synagogue as a tool and instrument against Jesus whereby they might accuse Him, but they would also depart from the synagogue and conspire together against Jesus how they might destroy Him. What would begin with accusing the disciples of Jesus to Jesus would ultimately transition to the Pharisees looking for means whereby they might accuse Jesus, and would find its way and place in the Pharisees seeking to destroy Him. It is absolutely astonishing to read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and to encounter the great lengths and measures the Pharisees would take toward and against Jesus the Christ—and not only against Jesus, but against His disciples as well. This chapter would begin with the Pharisees accusing Jesus’ disciples of doing that which was not lawful on the sabbath day—at least that which “was not lawful” on the sabbath day according to their own traditions. The question we must needs ask ourselves is if Jesus truly believed the disciples were violating the sabbath day, and were violating that which the LORD had spoken unto Moses—would He not have rebuked and corrected them for their actions? Jesus and His disciples walked through the corn on the sabbath day, and they would do so while the disciples were themselves hungry. As a direct result of their being hungry they would pick the ears of corn from their place and would eat them—an act which the Pharisees would look at and would view as a direct violation to their laws, their traditions, and more so to their interpretation of that which Moses commanded in the Law. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning the scribes and the Pharisees it’s that their accusation, their judgment, their quarrel and their offense was not based on that which the Law of Moses actually said, but rather their interpretation of that which the Law of Moses spoke and wrote. Oh there is a very different distinction that is found between reading the words which are found within the Scripture and resorting to our own understanding and interpretation of it, and actually studying the Word of God and receiving discernment, knowledge, wisdom and revelation from it—that which the psalmist describes as “hiding God’s word in the heart that they might not sin against the Lord.”

            How absolutely incredible it is that what we find within these passages of Scripture is not only the scribes and the Pharisees accusing Jesus and His disciples according to their own laws, rules and traditions, but also according to their own interpretation of the Law and that which Moses commanded in it. I find it truly incredible to read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and encounter the fact that the scribes and the Pharisees sought to accuse and find fault with Jesus—not necessarily based on that which He actually did wrong, but based on that which they perceived Him as doing wrong according to their traditions and according to their interpretation of what was written and commanded within the Law of Moses. It’s truly something worth noting and pointing out when reading the words which are found within this chapter that the quarrel and offense of the scribes and Pharisees was based on two different fronts and two different realities—the first being their interpretation of the Law and what was commanded by Moses and the prophets, and the second being their traditions which were implemented and put into place as a direct result of that understanding. ACCUSED ON THE BASIS OF INTERPRETATION, ACCUSED ON THE BASIS OF TRADITION! What we find within this passage of Scripture is not merely the Pharisees seeking to find means of accusing Jesus, but also the Pharisees seeking for means to destroy Jesus. When the Pharisees realized that they could not accuse Jesus, and that Jesus would respond to them according to that which was written in the Law of Moses they would not only take offense and find a quarrel with Jesus, but would also deem Him to be too dangerous to remain among them. The scribes and the Pharisees would hear and listen to the words Jesus would speak in direct response to their means of accusing Him, and when He not only spoke to them from the Law of Moses, but then went on to do that which they deemed as unlawful anyway, they would seek to conspire against Him that they might destroy Him. It’s worth noting that in the opening verses of the twelfth chapter we find the Pharisees accusing the disciples of Jesus of doing that which was unlawful according to their traditions and interpretation of the law of Moses, and in the very next passage we find the Pharisees asking Jesus what was indeed lawful according to the Law of Moses.

            Oh I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that when the Pharisees realized that they could not intimidate, accuse, nor even control Jesus, they would seek to destroy Him. That which we find in the fourteenth verse of this particular chapter is actually quite astonishing when you take the time to think about and consider it, for the words we find within this passage draw our attention to the reality that when the Pharisees realized that Jesus could not be tamed nor controlled—and I would even dare say reigned in according to their tradition—they immediately sought to conspire against Him. When they realized they could not control the words which Jesus spoke, nor even the works which Jesus wrought and performed in the midst of the earth they conspired against Him to effectively and essentially cancel him. This is actually something we must needs recognize and understand—particularly and especially when we consider that which is taking place within our culture and society today—for we have been hearing a lot of rhetoric concerning this “cancel culture” and the attempt to silence voices within this nation. Regardless of whether you are the President of the United States of America, or whether you are a sitting member of Congress, or whether you are an ordinary citizen of this nation there have been countless attempts to silence those voices who have risen up in disagreement and opposition during these days and times. Right now we are witnessing this take place in the political sphere and on the political stage, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is coming a day and time when what we might witness among us in this “cancel culture” taking place in the sphere of religion. Right now “freedom of speech” is taking place in the realm of politics, however, I have to ask myself the question of what takes place within our nation and country when this takes place in terms of religion—and not only in religion, but in the professing of being a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. What happens when this takes place when the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ being taking a stand for righteousness within our culture and society and begin speaking out against the corruption, the immorality, the idolatry, and the wickedness that is found within this nation, within this culture and society?

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about that which is found within the twelfth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew is that sandwiched between the accounts and narratives of the opposition and accusation of the Pharisees is the fulfillment of the prophetic—and not only the fulfillment of the prophetic, but also an additional declaration concerning the divine pleasure of the Father in His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. I find it absolutely astonishing and captivating to read the words found within these verses that in between the accusation, the quarrel, the offense, the opposition, and the conspiracy of the Pharisees to destroy Jesus we find the divine pleasure of the Father. Although we find and read of a tremendous amount of opposition against Jesus within this passage of Scripture we also find at the very heart and center of it all the divine pleasure and delight of the Father. Oh how absolutely and incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for even in the midst of the accusation, even in the midst of the conspiracy, and even in the midst of the slander which was lobbied against the Lord Jesus Christ we find the divine pleasure of the Father—not only being mentioned, but also fulfilled. In fact, I would dare say that one of the realities that enabled Jesus to continue to fulfill that for which He had been sent to the earth was indeed knowing that the eternal Father which was in heaven was completely and entirely pleased with and delighted in Him. We know that when Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River after being baptized the heavens were opened unto Him, the Spirit descended upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, and the voice of the Father spoke from heaven declaring that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. We also know that atop the mountain where Jesus was transfigured before the disciples Simon also called Peter, James and John the voice of the Father would once more speak from heaven and declare that this was His beloved Son in whom he was well pleased.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering just how absolutely astonishing and remarkable these words truly are, and I find myself being absolutely gripped and captivated with it, for right at the center, and right in the middle of the accusation and conspiracy of the Pharisees and the blasphemy of the Pharisees against Jesus we find the heart of the Father toward and for the Son. We read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and while we do indeed find the quarrel and offense of the Pharisees toward Jesus, we also find the divine pleasure and delight of the Father. Within this chapter there is a strong contrast between the accusation and conspiracy of the Pharisees toward and against Jesus and the divine pleasure and delight of the Father. There is within this passage of Scripture a tremendous and powerful presence of the accusation and conspiracy of the Pharisees with and toward Jesus the Christ because of His alleged disregard and violation of their laws and traditions, and yet at the very heart and center of it is this powerful statement and this powerful declaration that is not only centered upon the fulfillment of prophecy, but is also centered upon the delight and pleasure of the Father. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will once more find this Jesus who so angered and offended the scribes and Pharisees actually delighting and pleasing the Father. Pause for a moment and think about that truth and that reality—that you could offend men and yet please God, that you could anger men, and yet delight God. There is absolutely no denying and no mistaking within this passage of Scripture that Jesus angered and offended the Pharisees which were present during those days, and yet even in the midst of that anger, even in the midst of that animosity, and even in the midst of that offense and quarrel we find Him actually bringing pleasure and delight to the eternal and living Father. How absolutely incredible and beautiful it is to read the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and coming face to face with the fact that Jesus offended the Pharisees and so angered and upset them that they conspired to kill Him, and yet He brought tremendous delight and pleasure to the Father. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider with me the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the fourteenth verse:

            “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, behold, my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust” (Matthew 12:14-21).

            Within this particular portion of Scripture we again find the apostle Matthew doing what he has done within and throughout this gospel narrative—namely, using the events which took place during those days to demonstrate the fulfillment of that which was spoken by the prophets. From the first and opening chapter of this gospel we find the apostle Matthew using the words which the prophets had spoken and how the events which took place during those days had directly fulfilled the words which were spoken by the prophets. Over and over again within this gospel narrative you will find the apostle Matthew referring to the words which the prophets had spoken, and here within this passage is no different. It is here within this passage we find the apostle Matthew once more using the words of the prophets to highlight and demonstrate just how precisely Jesus fulfilled that which had been spoken by the prophets during their days and generation. Here in this passage we find the apostle Matthew once more referencing the words which were spoken by the ancient Hebrew prophets, and yet here in the twelfth chapter we find a second reference to the divine delight and pleasure the eternal Father found within Jesus. Even though Jesus angered, even though upset, even though Jesus offended, and even though Jesus outraged the scribes and the Pharisees, Scripture is absolutely clear that He entirely, altogether and thoroughly pleased the Father which was in heaven. We must needs realize and understand the tremendous importance of what is found within these words, for with these words we are brought face to face with the wonderful truth that even though Jesus angered and offended the religious system and community during the days in which He walked upon the earth, He would bring great joy, great delight and great pleasure to the heart of the Father. Despite the fact that the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, the elders of the people, and the religious community might have been outraged and incensed against Him, He would bring great delight and pleasure to the heart of the Father.

            What I can’t help but realize and understand when reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture is that it is highly likely and possible that we can anger, upset and offend men within the earth and yet bring great joy and delight to the heart of the Father. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is whether or not we are bringing delight and pleasure to the heart of the Father. Oh we might be angering and offending everyone else around us—regardless of whether they are religious, or legalistic, or hypocritical, or wicked, or rebellious, or idolatrous, and even regardless of whether or not those individuals might be in the political or religious realm—and yet we might bring great joy and delight and pleasure to the heart of the Father. What’s more, is that we must needs understand that in bringing delight and pleasure to the heart of the Father we might at the same time anger and offend those who are around us. We must needs realize and understand that pleasing and bringing delight to the heart of the Father and pleasing men are diametrically opposed to each other. I would dare say there are countless men and women who bring pleasure and delight to the heart of the Father and yet as a direct result bringing pleasure and delight to the heart of the Father anger and offend those before and around them. If and as you study the words which are found within the gospel narratives you will find that with Jesus bringing great joy, delight and pleasure to the heart of the Father He would anger, upset, and offend those whom He interacted with during the days in which He walked upon the earth. We need only look at and examine Jesus’ interaction with the religious during His days and that generation and you will see how Jesus brought delight and pleasure to the Father, and yet Jesus angered and offended the religious folk of His day. Not only this, but Scripture aptly and profoundly points out how Jesus was beloved of the Father, and how the soul of the Father was greatly pleased with Him, and yet how His pleasing the Father would often put Him at odds with the religious folk which were before and around Him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for when we understand we understand how we can bring great pleasure and great joy to the heart of the Father and yet at the same time anger and offend those who are before and all around us.

            It’s worth noting that immediately after the apostle Matthew records and recounts the words of the prophet when speaking concerning Jesus the Christ—thus indicating that the words of the prophet were a direct reference to Jesus the Christ—we find him writing and recording how there was one brought unto him who was possessed with a devil. What makes this particular narrative and account so incredible unique and powerful is that not only does the apostle Matthew write and record how there was one brought unto him who was possessed with a devil, but also how that possession was also a means of bondage. As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that this devil which possessed this man also kept and held him in bondage, for this devil would cause him to be both dumb and blind. Pause for a moment and think about just how tragic this possession and bondage truly was, for this devil didn’t merely possess this particular individual, but the devil actually so bound and crippled them that they were unable to see and speak. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for what we find within this reality is a strong and powerful picture of that which the enemy and adversary seeks to do within the hearts and lives of countless men and women within this culture and society. Not only this, but I am absolutely and completely convinced that the spirit of the antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel—both of which are active within and upon the earth during these days—are seeking to accomplish these very same realities. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a moment—that the spirit of the antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel have not attempted to both silence and blind men and women within this nation. Not only this, but we must not think that it pertains to this nation alone and that it doesn’t directly apply to other nations. In fact, Scripture speaks of the enemy of this world blinding the eyes of men and women, thus causing them to be unable to see. With this being said we must realize that two of the greatest threats to the enemy—particularly and especially during these days and times in which we are living—is our ability to see and our ability to speak.

            I cannot help but read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and not only see a physical description of one who was unable to see and speak, but also a spiritual description of those who were unable to see and unable to speak. While within this particular passage of Scripture we do indeed and do in fact see a physical picture of one whom an evil spirit had bound and completely robbed their ability to see and speak—we also see within this passage of Scripture a picture of those who professed to be able to see and yet were blind, and those who professed to be able to speak and yet were actually mute. What we see and what we find in the physical and natural realm with this particular one who was both blind and dumb is indeed an even greater picture of the scribes and the Pharisees which were present during the days and times of Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for even Jesus Himself would refer to the scribes and Pharisees as “blind guides.” It is truly something worth reading and noticing within this passage of Scripture and discover how this particular spirit possessed this particular individual—and so much so that they were both blind and dumb—and yet there was another spirit that produced a different kind of blindness and dumbness that was found in the spiritual realm. While there was indeed an unclean spirit that caused this particular individual to be unable to speak and unable to see there was another spirit which was at work among the scribes and the Pharisees thus causing them to be unable to see and unable to speak. Oh although the scribes and the Pharisees made great boasts and claims, and although the scribes and Pharisees might have sat in Moses’ seat they were nonetheless dumb and unable to speak. More often than not the words which were found within the scribes and the Pharisees were those which were condemnatory, accusatory, and judgmental. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that the scribes and the Pharisees were those who professed themselves to be wise and yet became fools, who professed themselves to see and yet were blind, and who professed themselves to be teachers and yet were unable to speak.

            The more I Read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that one of the greatest assaults and attacks the enemy can and will see to accomplish toward and against men is causing them to be blind and unable to see. What’s more, is I am absolutely and completely convinced that during the days and times in which we are living—not only is the enemy and adversary seeking to cause and produce a spiritual blindness and spiritual inability to speak, but so also is the enemy and adversary seeking to produce a physical and natural inability to see and speak. I can’t help but read, listen to and consider everything that taking place within this nation during these unprecedented times, and I am brought face to face with the sobering reality and truth that the spirit of the antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel are working in tandem among the people of this nation to keep them from seeing—and not only seeing, but seeing the truth. Moreover, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel are working in tandem together to keep men and women from being able to speak the truth. There is not a doubt in my mind that at the very heart and center of the blindness that is attempting to be produced within and upon this nation, as well as the dumbness that is attempting to be produced upon this nation is truth and the ability to correctly discern, acknowledge and understand it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly important this truly is within our culture and society, for what we see here in this passage of Scripture not only describes this man’s inability to see and speak in the natural, but it was also a picture of the scribes and Pharisees being unable to see the truth which was right before them in front of their eyes, and speak the truth. Oh the scribes and Pharisees might very well have done a lot of talking and communicating, however, there was very little that they spoke which was actually truth. The scribes and Pharisees professed themselves to be those who saw and yet there were times when Jesus actually called out and rebuked their spiritual blindness. Oh while there were indeed those present during the days of Jesus who were physically blind in the natural realm, there were others who were blind in the spiritual and supernatural realm.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that what is found within this passage of Scripture is indeed present within our culture and society in these days. There is not a doubt in my mind that the days in which we are living in are dark and dangerous days in which the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel would love nothing more than to keep men and women silent unable to speak and unable to have their voices heard. Not only this, but this tandem of destruction and devastation would love nothing more than to keep men and women from being able to see—and not simply seeing, but truly seeing. Two of the greatest weapons found within the lives of men and women—particularly and especially the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ—is keeping them silent with their voices unheard, and keeping them blind and unable to see. I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words which are found within these passages of Scripture that men and women are not only being silenced, but they are also being blinded within these current days and times. You would have to be incredibly naïve and unaware of what is taking place before and all around us to not see and understand just how much men and women are being silenced, and how much men and women are being preventing from truly being able to see what is taking place before and all around us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the enemy and adversary has done a tremendous job in recent weeks and months blinding and silencing men and women within this nation, and there have been countless men and women who have followed unknowingly and unwittingly that which is put before them.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a vast and fundamental difference between seeing and seeing in the supernatural and spiritual realm. I firmly believe within my heart and soul that there is a great and powerful need within this culture and society for men and women who don’t simply see, but men and women who see in the Spirit and men and women who see with more than just their physical and natural eyes. What’s more, is that I firmly believe that in the days in which we are living in there is the great tendency and temptation to see only with our natural eyes and to allow that which we see with our natural eyes to truly determine what is truth. The more I read and study the word of God, and the more I think about and consider it in light of what is taking place within our culture and society the more I am convinced that we must see what we see with our natural eyes through the eyes of our spiritual man. There is a great need for us in this generation to have our eyes anointed with eye salve that we might be able to truly see—and see more than simply what is being presented and paraded before us as truth and reality. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for this man who was not only possessed and held captive by this evil spirit to be delivered and set free, but also to be able to see for the first time, as well as to speak. Within the gospels we find and read of evil spirits tormenting individuals and forcing them into the shadows and darkness of the tombs and graves. WE know from reading the gospels that evil spirits caused those to be cast and thrown into the fire and into the water that they might harm and destroy. We know that Jesus even spoke of that woman who was bowed over and could in no wise straighten herself up as being bound by Satan for eighteen years. What we find within this passage is something even more we must needs recognize and understand concerning the spiritual realm and spiritual warfare. In fact, I have to ask myself why this evil spirit would not only possess and keep this man captive, but would also cause him to be unable to speak and unable to see. What was it about this particular man that would cause the evil spirit to so captivate and keep him in bondage that he would take away his ability to see and his ability to speak? Was there something about this man that was a danger and a threat to the spiritual realm, and something that was a threat to the kingdom of darkness that this spirit kept this man blind and dumb? Was the enemy seeking to destroy something within and something that could have been produced by and within this man’s life that he would cause him to be unable to speak and unable to see?

            I read the narrative which is found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but get the strong sense that the enemy and adversary sought to not only possess and keep this individual in bondage, but the enemy and adversary also sought to keep this man blind and unable to speak. I can’t help but see this as a tremendous and powerful picture within this passage of the enemy and adversary who was not only threatened by this particular one seeing, but also threatened by this particular one being able to speak. Pause for a moment and think about what would cause this particular evil and unclean spirit to keep this one blind and dumb rather than simply tormenting and possessing him. I would dare say that the enemy and adversary was granted access and entrance into this man’s life, and as a direct result of that access and entrance was permitted to keep him both deaf and blind. What’s more, is stop and think about what danger that one who was blind and deaf would truly be to that kingdom of darkness. If the enemy and adversary can not only rob you of your voice and your ability to speak, but also rob you of your ability to see then the enemy and adversary can effectively neutralize you. What’s more, is think about what this man’s life must have been like to hear everything else around him and yet be unable to see it with his eyes, and speak unto it with his mouth. Think about what it was like for this man to be able to hear everything around him, touch everything around him with his hands, and even walk—albeit assisted by others—and yet be unable to see what was before him and speak to others. UNABLE TO SEE THE WORLD AROUND YOU, UNABLE TO SPEAK TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU! FORCED TO HEAR EVERYTHING AROUND YOU AND BEING EFFECTIVELY NEUTRALIZED WITHIN, FROM AND APART FROM IT.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the fact that when this man was brought to Jesus and Jesus realized and recognized that it was an unclean spirit that had robbed this man of his ability to speak and his ability to hear, He immediately cast out the devil and unclean spirit from him. Once the unclean spirit and devil was cast out of this man this man was not only able to speak, but was also able to see. I am absolutely astonished and amazed with and by this picture, for I am thoroughly convinced that this nation has been neutralized and paralyzed with a spirit that has not only caused it to be blind, but has also sought to rob it of its voice. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that this nation has been seriously crippled, seriously paralyzed, seriously captivated and tormented by those spiritual forces that would seek to neutralize the voices of men and women which are present in the midst of it. I am finding myself sitting here right now thinking about and considering how this nation—much like this man who was brought unto Jesus—needs to be brought before and unto Jesus that Jesus might not only cast and drive out those foul and unclean spirits, but that eyes might be opened and mouths might be loosed. I am absolutely and completely convinced that this nation desperately needs to be brought before Jesus the Christ that Jesus might indeed drive out those spiritual forces that would keep men blind—and not even men, but also those within the church. We dare not be naïve to think and consider that there aren’t even those within our churches and bodies of believers who aren’t blind within these days. We dare not allow ourselves to be so deceived that we are unable to actually recognize that there are very real and very powerful spiritual forces that are seeking to silence the voices of men and women—even those within the church. What we are seeing right now in the media, and what we are seeing right now in social media is but a glimpse and insight into that which is actually taking place—and not only what is taking place, but what has been taking place in the spiritual and supernatural realm. We must recognize and understand that what we are witnessing and beholding within our culture and our society during these days is a tremendous and powerful picture of a very real and a very present enemy and adversary who would seek to silence and blind men and women from seeing and speaking the truth.

            AMERICA: THE BLIND AND DUMB NATION! AMERICA HAS BECOME BLIND AND DUMB! Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—it is absolutely necessary and imperative that you recognize and understand exactly what is taking place within this nation, for what we are experiencing and witnessing within this nation is indeed America being and becoming blind and dumb. Oh I would love to know what the nations of the world—even those nations into which the churches in this country have sent missionaries into—think about what is taking place within this nation, and how this nation is being neutralized from within rather than from without. There is a clarion call and absolutely necessity and burden within this nation to truly recognize and understand that we have great need to be men and women who are not only able to see, but also men and women who are able to speak. Moreover, we are being called to be men and women who are able to hear—and not just hear with their physical and natural ears, but hear with their spiritual ears. Perhaps the single greatest time in the course of history to be able to hear with our spiritual ears, see with our spiritual eyes, and truly possess discernment, wisdom, knowledge and understanding is during the days and times in which we are living. What’s more, is that when you read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture you will find that when speaking to the Pharisees—not only did Jesus call them a generation of vipers for blaspheming the Holy Ghost and the work of God within the earth, but He also called them an adulterous generation when they demanded of Him a sign among them in the earth. On the one hand the Pharisees blasphemed against the work and person of the Holy Spirit by declaring Jesus to cast out devils by the prince of devils, but they also demanded of Jesus a sign. It was their ask of and for a sign that would cause Jesus to emphatically speak unto them and declare that they were an adulterous generation. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus call them an adulterous generation, but He would also go on to stand up and say that they would be judged by previous generations based on those who heard the word of God and responded to it, and those who came to hear the wisdom of God. The city of Nineveh would hear and respond to the word of God as a result of the preaching of Jonah, and the queen of the South would come a great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon. There was one greater than Solomon who was present among them, and yet they not only despised and rejected Him, but also blasphemed the work and person of the Holy Spirit.

I conclude and close with Jesus’ words concerning a kingdom divided against itself being unable to stand—and not only a kingdom divided against itself, but also a house and a city. Jesus would speak and declare unto the Pharisees that a kingdom divided against itself would and could not stand, and we must needs recognize and understand this language and declaration, for this nation divided against and divide within itself cannot and will not stand. This nation has long and often been divided, however, in recent years this nation has become even more divided than it has before. This nation is divided across political lines! This nation is divided along racial lines! This nation is divided along gender lines! This nation is divided across economic lines! This nation is divided across religious lines! In fact, I would dare say that there is not a single place within this nation where it is not and where it hasn’t been divided. The truth of the matter is that this nation—if it remains divided within and among itself across all these various lines—cannot and will not be able to stand. This nation which was once and for so long viewed as the most powerful nation in the entire earth and in the entire world is heading down a dark and dangerous path where it can not only stand within its own borders and boundaries, but can also no longer stand among the nations of the earth. What’s more, is that although this nation is and has been divided among and within itself—the church and body of Jesus Christ cannot and must not be divided. What we are witnessing and beholding in the streets of our cities has not place within the body of Jesus, and we must needs diligently strive and endeavor to keep ourselves united in the faith and keep that which is present in the culture and society all around us from entering in among us. The church and body of Christ must needs be completely and utterly separate from the culture and society in which it is found, and it must be entirely and altogether holy and righteous in the sight of the living God. Oh that we would rise up as a people who pursue righteousness, holiness, purity and obedience before and in the sight of the living God. We must be those of whom it is said that there can be absolutely no room and no place within and among us for everything we are witnessing and beholding in the world, and we must needs be a people who are entirely and altogether different from the culture and society all around us and without spot and wrinkle in the sight of the living God. We must be those who wash our garments in the blood of the Lamb, and we must be those who make themselves clean and pure in the sight of the living God. We must needs keep ourselves unspotted from the world which is before and all around us, and we must not forfeit and lose our testimony in the earth during these last days. There must needs be a witness and testimony in the earth during these last days, and we must diligently strive and endeavor to ensure that this witness is not only present, but also active within this culture and society.

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