The Offense of the Jews & Resistance of the Gospel

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the tenth chapter of this New Testament epistle. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I hear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:1-4).

 

            “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the. Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believe? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful  are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:5-21).

           

            BRETHREN, MY HEART’S DESIRE AND PRAYER TO GOD FOR ISRAEL IS, THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED! When you come to the tenth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul you will find the apostle Paul continuing his language concerning the nation and people of Israel. It is absolutely unmistakable when reading the words found in the ninth and tenth chapters of this New Testament book the apostle Paul was under tremendous sorrow, anguish and agony over and for his people. If you stop and consider the tremendous truth surrounding the nation and people of Israel you will find that beginning with the Lord Jesus there was an incredibly long history of rejection, offense and blasphemy. Upon turning and directing your attention to the four New Testament gospels—specifically the gospel which was written by the apostle John—you will find the tremendous offense the Jews had with the Lord Jesus. What’s more is their offense with Him was centered upon His activity on the Sabbath day. Not only this but as you read the words which are found within this gospel you will find their offense with Jesus’ activity on the sabbath as He healed those who were in need as well as the words which He spoke concerning God as His Father who was in heaven. The fifth chapter specifically provides us with a wonderful and powerful example of this particular truth as the Jews first opposed and persecuted the Lord Jesus and then turned to violence and malice as they sought to kill Him because of the words He spoke concerning the living God who was in heaven. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter beginning with the first and opening verse:

 

            “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole” (John 5:1-15).

 

            “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making Himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man” (John 5:16-27).

 

            AND THEREFORE DID THE JEWS PERSECUTE JESUS AND SOUGHT TO SLAY HIM! THERE THE JEWS SOUGHT THE MORE TO KILL HIM. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for what we find here is Jesus in the city of Jerusalem at a time of one of the feasts of Israel. Undoubtedly the city of Jerusalem was bustling and filled with Jews from Judaea, Galilee and the surrounding cities and regions in the world during those days. It would be there in the city of Jerusalem the Lord Jesus would heal an impotent man who had an infirmity thirty and eight years. Not only had Jesus healed this man but He also commanded him to rise up, to take up his mat and walk. What makes me so incredibly astonished when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that it wasn’t the actual healing of the man that offended the Jews but it was his carrying his mat. With this being said we must needs understand the only reason he was carrying his mat was because he was healed and because he was made whole. You have to wonder why Jesus didn’t simply heal the man by commanding him to rise up, walk and perhaps even leave his mat behind. The Scripture clearly points to the fact that Jesus included in his command to the man the taking up of his mat—perhaps even indicating Jesus knew the taking up and carrying of the mat would anger, upset and offend the Jews. One has to wonder if Jesus was not deliberate and intentional with the command to take up his mat when commanding this man to rise up and walk for He knew the mat and not the healing would be the stumbling block and offense before the Jews.

 

            It’s actually quite interesting to read the following words which are found in the final verses of the ninth chapter concerning the stumbling block and the rock of offense which the Jews struggled so violently with. If you begin reading with the thirtieth verse of the ninth chapter you will find the following words: “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works of the law. For the stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:30-33). The words which are presented here are not the first time they were used for even Jesus Himself used the words when speaking directly unto the scribes, the elders, the chief priests, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the religious leaders which were present during the days in which He walked upon the earth. Oh it is absolutely remarkable and astonishing to read the words which are found here for they bring us face to face with the tremendous offense and stumblingblock the Lord Jesus was for the Jews—not only because of the words He spoke but also because of the works which He wrought among them in their midst. In the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find the Jews persecuting and seeking to slay Jesus because He had healed this man on the sabbath, thus violating the Law of their traditions. When Jesus responded to them by declaring His Father works and He must also work they sought all the more to kill and put Him to death because He was now speaking of and declaring the living God as His Father.

 

            The more you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John the more you will find this opposition and resistance of the Jews toward and against the Lord Jesus. Time and time again within this New Testament gospel you will find the Jews struggling immensely with offense with and toward the Lord Jesus because of the words He spoke and the works which He wrought among them. In fact I would dare say the entire gospel narrative written by the apostle John is centered upon the offense of the Jews—and not only the Jews but also their religious leaders and system—toward the Lord Jesus. Both the Jews and their religious leaders took great offense to the Lord Jesus—not only because of the works which He spoke but also the works which He would work among them. You cannot read the gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how the words He spoke and the works He wrought among them in their midst so angered and offended them. In fact when you come to the seventh chapter of this same New Testament gospel narrative you will find additional commentary and language mentioned concerning the Lord Jesus and how the Jews persecuted and sought to kill Him. There would come the time of another Jewish feast which would be celebrated in the city of Jerusalem where the Temple of the Lord stood and Jews from throughout Judaea, Galilee and the surrounding regions would gather themselves unto Jerusalem. It would be during this time Jesus would walk in Galilee rather than in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. In fact when His brethren sought to advise Him to go up unto the city of Jerusalem that all men might see His works and believe on Him Jesus would not initially agree and consent to go up unto the city of David. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter beginning with the first and opening verse:

 

            “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. IF thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee” (John 7:1-9).

 

            “But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews(John 7:10-13).

 

            “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why goeth ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him: but not man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this many hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him” (John 7:14-32).

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for together with the fifth chapter, yea even the words throughout this gospel we find the tremendous offense of the Jews toward Jesus. The New Testament gospel narrative written by John is replete with the contention, the striving, the murmuring and the offense of the Jews toward the Lord Jesus. You cannot read this New Testament gospel without and apart from coming face to face with the anger and the offense the Jews had toward and against the Lord Jesus. It would be in the first and opening chapter of this New Testament gospel the apostle John declares and speaks of the Lord Jesus coming unto His own and His own receiving Him not. The apostle John would then go on to declare and speak of those who believed on Him and how unto those were given power to become the sons of God. In all reality the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is a clear and present contrast between those who believed on the Lord Jesus and those who took offense with and because of Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how the Jews took great offense to Him because of the words He spoke and the works which He wrought among them in their midst. The Jews could not handle either Jesus’ words or works and not only did they persecute Him but they also sought to kill and put Him to death. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it serves as the background and backdrop for what is presented in the New Testament book of Acts.

 

            When you come to the New Testament book of Acts you will find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the continued resistance and opposition of the Jews—and not only the Jews but also their religious leaders which were still present among them. Beginning with the fourth chapter of this New Testament book you will find the opposition and resistance of the religious leaders and rulers in Jerusalem. This resistance and opposition was directed toward the apostles because they through the name of the Lord Jesus had helped bring healing to a man who was impotent at the gate called Beautiful which was at the Temple. If you take the time to read the fourth and fifth chapters of this New Testament book you will find the religious leaders and rulers of that generation took great offense to and with the apostles because they had preached the word, the name and the gospel of the Lord Jesus. By the time we come to the fourth chapter of this New Testament book we find the apostle Peter having already preached two sermons before and unto the Jews—the first being in response to the events of the day of Pentecost and the second being in response to the healing of the man who was laid at the gate called Beautiful at the Temple. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which the apostle Peter spoke in each of these messages for it not only helps us understand the resistance and opposition which was present during the days of Jesus when He walked upon the earth but also the resistance and opposition which was present during the days of the apostles which followed in His footsteps after His ascension:

 

            “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36).

 

            “Ye men of Israel, why marvel yet at this? OR why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:12-26).

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which the apostle Peter preached in the midst of the city of Jerusalem for with each of these sermons the apostle Peter declared unto the Jews together with their religious leaders how they delivered up the Lord Jesus to be killed and crucified. What would begin with the Jews persecuting and seeking to slay and put to death the Lord Jesus would eventually culminate in the Lord Jesus being delivered up into the hands of Gentiles before whom He would suffer—and not only suffer but ultimately be killed and crucified. The Lord Jesus would stand trial before the Jews and their religious rulers and leaders before ultimately being delivered into the hands of the religious rulers and leaders of that generation. Eventually and ultimately Pontius Pilate would deliver the Lord Jesus to be flogged and scourged before ultimately being forced to carry His cross along the Via Dolorosa unto Golgotha and the place of the skull. It would be there at Golgotha the Lord Jesus would be killed and crucified as He was nailed to a cruel wooden instrument of death suspended between earth and heaven with a man on either side of Him. The apostle Peter—when speaking unto the Jews together with their religious leaders in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—emphatically declared that it was they themselves who not only delivered the Lord Jesus to be killed and crucified but also crucified Him. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found within these two passages it’s that the apostle Peter placed the responsibility of the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus directly and squarely upon the shoulders of the Jews together with their rulers and leaders. It was not the Romans whom the apostle Peter held responsible for the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus but it was the Jews themselves whom he held responsible for putting Him to death.

 

 

            What we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words is that they set the tone and stage for the continued resistance and opposition of the Jews found throughout the rest of the book of Acts. Beginning with the eighth chapter and the great persecution which broke out in the city of Jerusalem against the disciples of the Lord Jesus and continuing through to the time the apostle Paul would stand trial in the city of Jerusalem before ultimately being brought unto Caesarea before setting sail for the city of Rome never to return again we find the resistance and opposition of the Jews. It would be in the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find a great persecution which broke out against the Christians and followers of the way in the city of Jerusalem—and so much so that all but the apostles were scattered throughout Judaea and Galilee. It would be when you come to the eighth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the resistance of the Jews toward the gospel, the word and the name of the Lord Jesus which was preached by the apostles—both those original apostles of the Lord Jesus as well as the apostle Paul. There would be a great resistance and opposition that would take place toward and against the word and name of the Lord Jesus which would begin with a great persecution breaking out in the city of Jerusalem. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that it would be in the city of Damascus where initially we thought the apostle Paul would bind men and women who were followers of the way bringing them bound back unto Jerusalem and yet what we find are the Jews in Damascus raising themselves up against the apostle Paul seeking to put him to death. Consider if you will the words which are found in the opening verses of the eighth chapter as well as the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book:

 

            “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4).

 

            “…And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: but their laying away was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed no that he was a disciple” (Acts 9:19-26).

 

 

            Please pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here are powerful descriptions of the tremendous resistance and opposition—not only of those followers of the way but also of the Lord Jesus. You will recall when the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul along the way on the road to Damascus He declared unto Him that He was Jesus whom Saul was persecuting. It is with this being said we must needs recognize and understand that just as it was Jesus whom Saul was persecuting so also was it Jesus whom the Jews resisted and opposed. The more the Jews resisted and opposed the followers of the Lord Jesus the more they were actually resisting the Lord Jesus. While Jesus was present among us as the Word made flesh those who resisted Him weren’t just resisting Him but were resisting the One who had sent Him—namely, the Father who was in heaven. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts is a powerful picture of the Jews not resisting the apostles, the apostle Paul, and the followers of the way but resisting the Lord Jesus. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and pay attention to this truth for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the resistance and opposition of the Jews. This resistance and opposition of the Jews wasn’t merely directed against the apostle Paul, nor even against those who were traveling companions of his but rather it was against the Lord Jesus. Just as the apostle Paul was told of the Lord Jesus that it was He whom he was persecuting so also was it true that the Jews weren’t merely resisting the followers of the way and the apostles but were actually resisting the Lord Jesus.

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the resistance and opposition which began in the New Testament gospels—specifically the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John—for not only do we find the Jews resisting and opposing the Lord Jesus but we find them resisting the Father in heaven who had sent Him. Moreover the resistance and opposition we find in the four New Testament gospels would continue in the New Testament book of Acts during the days of the apostles and early Church. The resistance and opposition which was present during the days of Jesus wouldn’t end simply because He was no longer in the picture. In fact it would be during the days of the apostles and the early Church they not only laid the blame for the death and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus at the feet of the Jews together with their religious leaders but also preached that this same Jesus whom they crucified had been raised from death to life on the third day. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it helps us understand that what would initially and originally begin with the resistance of the Jews together with their religious leaders against the Lord Jesus would continue on during the days of the apostles and the early Church as they would resist, oppose and persecute the followers of the way. That which began in the city of Jerusalem via a great persecution against the followers of the way would continue in various cities whereunto the apostle Paul would travel and preach the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus. In fact as early as the first apostolic and missionary journey of the apostle Paul we find this resistance, opposition and persecution of the Jews—not only of the apostle Paul but also of the Lord Jesus whom he preached. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts beginning with those chapters which describe the first missionary journey of the apostle Paul:

 

            “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lrod was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:42-52).

 

            “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lyconia, and unto the region that lieth round about: and there they preached the gospel” (Acts 14:1-7).

 

            “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people” (Acts 17:1-5).

 

            “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still” (Acts 17:10-14).

 

            “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (Because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And then they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:1-6).

 

            “And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Breeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was moved, and the peole ran together and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and command him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done” (Acts 21:27-33).

 

            The words which we find in these passages of Scripture must be considered when seeking to understand that which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the Romans for when you read the words found in this epistle you will find the apostle writing of their resistance and opposition—not only of the Lord Jesus but also of the word and gospel which was preached by His servants. It was necessary for me to begin in the gospels and continue on through the book of Acts to present unto you a powerful picture of the resistance of the Jews—first toward the Lord Jesus and the One who had sent Him and secondly toward the word, the name and the gospel of the Lord Jesus which was preached by His followers and apostles and the One who had sent them. The resistance and opposition of the Jews which began when Jesus walked among the earth as the Word made flesh would not end with His death but would continue on during the days of His apostles and followers. When the apostle Paul speaks of his heart’s desire and prayer for Israel being that they might be saved it must be understand that he was speaking these words according to their resistance of the Lord Jesus, against the word and gospel of His name, and against His servants who preached that word and name unto both Jews and Gentiles. It is absolutely unmistakable when reading the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts that the Jews vehemently opposed and resisted the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus—a resistance which began with the Lord Jesus Himself. By the time we come to the writing of the epistle unto the Roman saints we not only find the Jews having delivered the Lord Jesus up to be killed and crucified but even after He was raised from death to life and ascended unto the right hand of the Father we find the Jews continuing their opposition of the apostles and the followers of the way.

 

            As you read the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this epistle you will find it beginning and opening with the apostle Paul speaking of his heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel being that they might be saved. The apostle Paul would also go on to describe how they had a zeal of God but not according to knowledge. Furthermore the apostle Paul would go on to speak of their being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness having not submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God. Building upon this particular truth the apostle Paul would go on to declare how Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes and how Moses described this righteousness which is of the law that the man who doeth the things contained in the law shall live by them. The apostle Paul would then go on to speak of the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring us Christ again from the dead.” The apostle Paul would then quote the words which Moses spoke concerning the word which was nigh unto the children of Israel for he would write the following words: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” Paul would go on to write how the word which was nigh unto them was the word of the gospel which they preached. This was quite simple—namely, that if they confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in their heart that God had raised Him from the dead they would be saved. Additionally the apostle Paul would go on to declare that with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

            I feel a tremendous need to pause here and call your attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote here in this passage of Scripture. The words which we find here must be carefully understood for the apostle Paul is setting and laying the foundation for salvation according to faith. What’s more the apostle Paul is emphatically declaring that we are saved through the confession made from our mouth the Lord Jesus and belief in and with our hearts that the living God raised Him from the dead. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words found in this passage of Scripture for there would be those who would like to think and somehow believe that salvation is and can be through works of the Law and even circumcision. The apostle Paul clearly sets forth the tremendous truth that salvation comes as a direct result of the confession of our mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in our heart the living God raised Him from the dead. Moreover the apostle Paul goes on to declare how with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome reality of salvation coming through the confession of our mouth while righteousness comes through belief in our heart. Remember what was spoken of concerning Abraham how he believed God and it was counted and credited unto him as righteousness. What we must needs realize and understand is that which we have been called to believe is that the living God did indeed and did in fact raise the Lord Jesus from the dead on the third day after He had been delivered up to be crucified. Abraham believed the word and promise the Lord God had spoken unto him and we are called to believe the word concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In fact we must needs recognize that at the very heart and core of our faith and righteousness is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave on the third day.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to this concept of confession with one’s mouth for one thing you will also notice within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is a fear within the hearts of many Jews concerning the Lord Jesus—and not only concerning the Lord Jesus but also His very name. The apostle John wrote concerning many Jews during the days of the Lord who feared to make public confession of Him for fear of the Jews as there was the threat of their being cast forth and expelled from the synagogue. In fact it would be in the ninth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find one actually being expelled from the synagogue—namely the man who had been born blind and yet whom Jesus healed. If you will remember it was Jesus Himself who boldly and emphatically declared that if anyone would confess Him before men that one would He Himself confess before His Father and all the holy angels in heaven. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would also go on to declare that if anyone refused or feared to confess Him before men those same ones would He not confess before His Father and the holy angels which are in heaven. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for when we come to the tenth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome we find him speaking of confession with one’s mouth the Lord Jesus. Oh it isn’t and it wasn’t enough simply for one to confess the name of Jesus but it was necessary for one to confess the Lord Jesus, thus emphatically and boldly making the declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord. This is precisely what is at the very heart and center of the encounter between Jesus and His disciples at Caesarea Philippi when He asked them first who men said that He was and then asked them who they said that He was. Moreover this is precisely what is at the very heart of that which is mentioned in the final verses of the sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

 

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-18).

 

            “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66-69).

 

            If you want to truly understand the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome it is not only necessary to recognize this confession with one’s mouth the Lord Jesus and belief within one’s heart that the living God raised Him from the dead but also the tremendous need for the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus being preached. The apostle Paul referenced the Scripture and how it declared whoever believed on the Lord shall not be ashamed and then went on to declare how there was no difference between the Jew and the Greek for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. The apostle Paul would immediately follow this by declaring that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Within this passage of Scripture there is not only the concept of confession with one’s mouth the Lord Jesus but also calling upon the name of the Lord. The apostle Paul declared that with the confession of our mouth we are saved and then also declares that those who call upon the name of the Lord would be saved. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading this passage of Scripture it’s not only the importance of making confession with one’s mouth the Lord Jesus but also with that same mouth calling on the name of the Lord Jesus that we might be saved. With this being said the apostle Paul would also go on to ask how men should call upon the name of the Lord whom they have not believed. Not only this but the apostle Paul would also ask how they would believe on him whom they have not heard and how they would hear without a preacher. It is within this passage of Scripture the apostle Paul would write how faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is the tremendous and intrinsic link between the confession with our mouth the Lord Jesus and calling upon the name of the Lord and the preaching of the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus. The single greatest question that must be asked when reading these words is not only whether men and women are calling on the name of the Lord and are making confession with their mouth the Lord Jesus but whether there are those who are preaching the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus. I leave you with the following words found in this passage not only asking concerning your own confession but also whether or not you are calling on the name of the Lord that you might be saved and preaching the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus that others might be saved:

 

The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in tghine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? Frist Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:8-21).

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