The Accusation of Religion & the Offense of the Rich

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the nineteenth chapter of this New Testament book. “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, He departed from Galilee, and came into the coats of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed Him; and He healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matthew 19:1-12).

 

            “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence” (Matthew 19:13-15).

 

            “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:16-22).

 

            “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich. Man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:23-26).

 

            “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:27-30).

 

            When you come to the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find it beginning with an unusual exchange between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees. If you begin reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that after Jesus had finished the sayings which were spoken in the eighteenth chapter He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan. It would be there in the region of Judaea great multitudes would follow the Lord Jesus and were healed by Him in that place. What we find within this passage of Scripture—and not only within this passage of Scripture but also within the region of Judaea—is how at this time the Pharisees would once more come to Jesus. What makes this passage so incredibly intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the contrast between the multitudes who gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus and His healing them and the Pharisees coming unto Him to tempt Him. In all reality this would indeed one of the most fundamental and basic contrasts found within the New Testament gospel narratives of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within and throughout the gospel narratives we encounter and come face to face with the great multitudes which would gather themselves unto the Lord Jesus and how Jesus would be moved with compassion for and toward them. As a direct result of the compassion within the heart and soul of Jesus He would heal them of every sickness, every disease and illness. What’s more is that the Lord Jesus would also drive out and cast forth every unclean spirit and demon that would oppress, possess and torment those who would come unto Him. This in addition to causing the lame to walk, the blind to see, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear and the dead to be raised to life again.

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find great multitudes coming unto Jesus in the coasts of Judaea and how in the midst of the multitudes coming unto Jesus the Pharisees would also present themselves unto Him. In all reality the Pharisees, the scribes, the teachers of the Law and the religious elite during the days of Jesus coming and presenting themselves unto Jesus is very reminiscent of the days of Job when the sons of God came and presented themselves before the throne of God. In the first two chapters of the Old Testament poetic book of Job we find that when the sons of God came and presented themselves before the throne of God Satan came with them and appeared before the throne of God. What makes this particular narrative so incredibly unique when you take the time to think about it is how the book of Job begins and opens with a description of the righteousness of Job. You cannot read the opening verses of the first chapter of the poetic book of Job and not come face to face with the righteousness and holiness of this man in the sight of the living God. Despite this reality, however, we find Satan who is the accuser and the adversary seemingly tempting the Lord God to rise up against Job and to somehow allow him to destroy Job. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first and second chapters of the Old Testament poetic book of Job beginning with the first verse of the first chapter:

 

            “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1;1-5).

 

            It is within these verses and this passage of Scripture we encounter this man from the land of Uz whose name was Job. This man Job was perfect and upright and one who feared God and shunned evil. We must needs recognize and understand the tremendous truth surrounding this man named Job for what we find concerning him is a powerful witness and testimony of his righteousness in the sight of the living God. It is no coincidence this poetic book opens with a description of Job and how he was a man who was perfect and upright and who feared God. This man named Job was one who also shunned evil—and not only shunned evil but who also offered burnt offerings and sacrifices on behalf of his seven sons and three daughters in the event they sinned against the Lord. We must needs recognize and understand this for during the days of Job we find the sons of God presenting themselves before the Lord. During these days it wasn’t just the sons of God who presented themselves before the throne of the living God—and not only the sons of God but also Satan as well. Job makes it perfectly clear that during these days the sons of God presented themselves before the throne of God and how Satan also came and appeared before the throne of God. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for within this passage we are brought face to face with the awesome truth of Satan who appears before the throne of God and stands to accuse them. With this in mind consider now the second portion of the first chapter concerning the sons of God appearing before the throne of God and Satan appearing together with them:

 

            “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:6-12).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding Satan how he operates in the heavens. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the sons of God coming to present themselves before the LORD and how Satan also came and appeared together with them. Once in the presence of the LORD and before His throne the living God would ask Satan where he had come from—a question to which Satan responded by declaring his coming from going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning this passage of Scripture it’s the tremendous operation of Satan as the adversary and accuser. What we must needs recognize concerning this passage is that Satan did indeed operate within two different realms. On the one hand we find Satan operating in the physical and natural realm as according to his own words he came from going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. The question which we must needs ask ourselves is what Satan would indeed do as he went to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it. The answer to this question is found in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter when he speaks of Satan as an an adversary and roaring lion walks and prowls about seeking whom he may devour. When we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we must needs acknowledge the reality that when Satan goes to and fro in the earth and walks up and down in it he does so as an adversary and raging lion seeking whom he may devour. We must needs make absolutely no mistake about this for in the earthly and natural realm Satan seeks to devour and destroy the sons and daughters of the living God. It was Jesus Himself who declared that the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy and we must needs recognize and understand that this is how the enemy and adversary operates within the earthly and natural realm.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding how the enemy and adversary operates within the physical and natural realm. The first thing we notice and see within this passage of Scripture is how the enemy and adversary does in fact go to and fro in the earth and walks up and down within it seeking whom he may devour. We must needs recognize how absolutely incredible this is when considering the words found in this passage of Scripture for on the one hand we find the enemy and adversary going to and fro in the earth seeking whom he may devour. On the other hand, however, we find the adversary before the throne of God in heaven accusing the saints of God in the presence of the living God. The words which are present in this passage bring us face to face with how the enemy and adversary does in fact move and operate within the earth seeking to devour and how he also moves and operates in the heavens as the accuser. This particular reality of the enemy and adversary operating in the heavens as the accuser of the brethren is such that is found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in this passage of Scripture where we not only find the enemy and adversary seeking to devour the male child that would be born of the woman who was clothed with the sun having the moon at her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon her head but also making war in the heavens. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John:

 

            “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (Revelation 12:-1-6).

 

            “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:7-12).

 

            “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:13-17).

 

 

            It is absolutely necessary to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with how the enemy and adversary works in both the realm of heaven as well as upon the earth. Within this passage of Scripture we find the enemy and adversary seeking to devour the male child that was to be born of the woman clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. When the dragon which is the Devil and Satan could not devour the male child he would proceed to make war in heaven against Michael and his angels. This is actually quite unique and astonishing when you think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the activity of the adversary and enemy and how he would make war in the heavens against Michael and his angels. When the dragon could not prevail against Michael and his angels and was cast down to the earth he would be filled with great wrath because he knew he had but a short time. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about and consider it is when you discover how not only did the adversary make war in heaven against Michael and his angels but the dragon also accused the saints and brethren day and night before the throne of God. We must needs recognize and understand this what begins with war in heaven and accusing the saints and brethren before the throne of God would eventually and ultimately reach the point where the dragon would take his war and conflict to the earth. No longer being able to wage war in heaven and no longer being able to accuse the saints and brethren before the throne of God Satan would now proceed to make war with the woman upon the earth as well as the remnant of her seed. That war which began in heaven would indeed transition to the place where the dragon would in fact take his war to and upon the earth against the saints and the brethren which existed upon it.

 

            The words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs be carefully considered for they call  draw our attention to how the enemy and adversary operates in the heavens as well as operates upon the earth. If you want to truly understand the activity of the enemy and adversary you must not only view in light of what is able to take place in the heavens but also what is able to take place on the earth. The enemy and adversary was able to make war in heaven against Michael and his angels—and not only make war in the heavens but also accuse the brethren before the throne of God. This is incredibly unique and telling when you consider the words found in this passage of Scripture as they call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding the activity of Satan in the poetic book of Job as well as in the prophetic book of Zechariah. I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the activity of Satan in the heavens as well as in the earth for it helps us to understand the activity of the Pharisees, the scribes and the religious elite of Jesus’ day. There is a great need for us to pay close attention to the words found in the poetic book of Job and the prophetic book of Zechariah for within these two passages of Scripture we encounter an enemy and adversary who seeks to accuse Job and Joshua the high priest before the throne of God which exists in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for both of these passages help us to understand what it was like when the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the whole religious system sought to accomplish when they came and appeared before the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament poetic book of Job as well as the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah. Consider if you will the following passages as you seek to understand the activity of the adversary both in the earth as well as in the heavens:

 

            “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdesth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his food unto his brown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:1-10).

 

            “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; Even the LORD thath hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and speak unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: For they are men wondered at: For, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; Upon one stone shall be seven eyes: Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of the land in one day” (Zechariah 3:1-9).

 

            There is a great need for us to carefully read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to how the enemy and adversary works—not only upon the earth but also in heaven. In the first and second chapters of the Old Testament poetic book of Job we are brought face to face with the activity of Satan in the earth—going to and fro in it and walking up and down in it—and the activity of Satan in heaven—appearing with and among the sons of God. What we must needs understand concerning this passage of Scripture is it calls and draws our attention to the activity of Satan in the heavens—namely to accuse the saints and brethren before the throne of God. What’s more is that in the third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah we find Satan standing at the right hand of Joshua the high priest as he stood before the angel of the Lord. That which the prophet Zechariah reveals is how Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua that he might resist him. Oh we have a great need to pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the undeniable truth surrounding the activity of Satan from the time of Job unto the time of Zechariah and even at the time of the writing of the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredible it is for it brings us face to face with the undeniable truth surrounding the activity in the heavens which is to accuse the saints of God before the throne of God both night and day. We must needs realize there is a reason why the apostle Paul wrote the following words found within the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome and why the prophet Isaiah wrote the following words which are found in the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book bearing his name:

 

            “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:16-17).

 

            “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).

 

            “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-39).

 

            With this in mind I also invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of the second New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. Consider if you will the following words which the apostle Paul wrote unto these saints:

            “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of God constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:9-21).

 

            Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it not only brings us face to face with the truth that any one who is in Christ is a new creation but it also brings us face to face with the fact that old things have passed away and all things are becoming new. What’s more is that these words are directly in alignment with the words which we find in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for he would emphatically declare and speak of there being therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There is a great need for us to come face to face with these words for they call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding our inheritance in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul wonderfully and beautifully declared that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and this is something we must needs understand within our hearts and lives. We as the saints of God and disciples of Christ must needs allow ourselves to come face to face with the truth that the enemy and adversary can and will seek to accuse us—and not only accuse us but also condemn us. It is absolutely unmistakable to consider the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and not encounter an enemy and adversary who does in fact seek to accuse and condemn us. Much like the Pharisees and scribes who sought to accuse the woman who was caught in the act of adultery so also the enemy and adversary seeks to accuse us before the throne of God. Religion and the religious leaders sought to accuse the disciples unto the Lord Jesus as well as the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and this is something we must needs understand concerning the activity of the adversary and enemy. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

 

            “Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moss in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).

 

             Within this passage of Scripture we are indeed brought face to face with religion who not only sought to entrap this woman who found herself in adultery but also sought to accuse her. The words which are found in this passage not only demonstrate how religion sought to bring this woman unto the temple but also sought to bring this woman before and unto the Lord Jesus. This woman was caught and taken in the act of adultery and not only did religion and the religious leaders seek to accuse her of the adultery but they also sought to make her sin and shame public in the court of the Temple. Pause for a moment and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how absolutely incredible it is to think about this woman who was indeed caught and taken in adultery and how religion and the religious leaders sought to expose and make her sin public. It wasn’t enough for the scribes and the Pharisees to merely accuse this woman of her adultery, her immorality, and her infidelity but they also sought to publicly humiliate her. Stop and consider what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day actually sought to do for they sought to humiliate and accuse her before Jesus, before His disciples as well as all those who were present there on this particular occasion. Not only this but once they had humiliated and accused her they would have been content to have her be stoned to death. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding religion and how religion seeks to stand before Jesus and before the throne of God and accuse others.

 

            I read the words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I can’t help but encounter and be brought face to face with the actions of religion. What’s more is that within this passage we not only find the actions of religion but we also find the actions of the rich as well. We must needs recognize and acknowledge how within this passage we find it beginning and opening with religion and the religious leaders which were present during Jesus’ day seeking to tempt Him. That which we find. In this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to how the Pharisees would indeed come unto Jesus together with the multitudes and rather than be healed they sought to tempt the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding religion showing up among the genuine and authentic who desire to be healed—not that they might be healed nor that they might be forgiven their sin but that they might tempt the Lord Jesus. This is something we see earlier on in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus for there was a time when He was in the house surrounded by the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. What’s more is that on this particular occasion we find the power of the Lord was present to heal them—something we more often than not neglect, ignore and forget. What makes this all the more interesting when you think about it is when you consider the fact that the power of the Lord was present to heal the religious leaders which were present during those days and yet how not a single one of them was healed or forgiven their sins. There is something truly unique about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for on this particular occasion we find religion being present in the midst of the power of God and being able to be healed and forgiven and yet there was not a single one among them who was healed.

 

            When we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture within the New Testament Gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we are brought face to face with the multitudes coming unto the presence of the Lord Jesus and following Him. These multitudes of people would come unto Jesus following Him and He would heal them right where they were. How absolutely amazing and captivating are the words found in this passage and how the apostle Matthew would write and record how the multitudes followed Jesus and how “He healed them there.” Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the undeniable truth surrounding Jesus and how He would heal the multitudes right where they were. Nowhere in the four gospels do you find nor will you find Jesus every asking the multitudes to come unto a specific place in order for Him to heal them. What we find in this passage of Scripture is Jesus entering into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan, great multitudes following him and His healing them there. There in the midst of Jewry the Lord Jesus would heal the multitudes which gathered themselves together unto Him. Oh we must recognize and acknowledge this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the multitudes coming unto Jesus and how the Pharisees would come unto Jesus among the multitudes. In all reality I would dare say that the Pharisees deliberately and intentionally waited for the multitudes to gather themselves together unto the Lord Jesus that they might slip in among the multitude and find means and reason to accuse and tempt Him.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how the multitudes followed Jesus and how the Pharisees would make their way unto Jesus for one reason and one reason alone—to tempt Him. The Pharisees would insert themselves among the multitudes and crowds of people that in the midst of them they might find reason to tempt Him. That which the Pharisees sought to tempt the Lord Jesus on this particular occasion was pertaining to the subject of marriage. The Pharisees would come unto the Lord Jesus and seeking to tempt him would ask whether or not it was lawful for a man to put his wife away for every cause. That which the scribes and Pharisees sought to speak to Jesus about on this particular occasion was centered upon marriage—and not only upon marriage but also upon divorce. We must needs recognize and understand that which is present in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is the Pharisees and religion itself taking that which is sacred and holy in the sight of the living God and using it to tempt Jesus. The Pharisees would come unto the presence of the Lord Jesus seeking to tempt Him—and not only tempt Him but tempt Him according to the manner of divorce. The Pharisees would use the concept of marriage—and not only the concept of marriage but also the concept of divorce and the words of Moses in the Law to try and entrap and ensnare the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees would indeed seek to take the words which Moses spoke in the Law and use them against Jesus to try and entrap and ensnare Him that they might find grounds to accuse Him. We must needs understand the sole reason they would seek to tempt the Lord Jesus was that they might find grounds and reason to accuse and condemn Him—and not only accuse and condemn Him but doing so in the midst of the multitudes and crowds.

 

            When I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but see a clear and present contrast which exists between the religious who came into the presence of Jesus and the rich man who also came into his presence. If you take the time to read the words found in this passage of Scripture you can and will encounter a tremendous distinction and comparison between two different parties who came unto the Lord Jesus. The nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the life of Jesus written by the apostle Matthew begins and opens with the Pharisees coming unto Jesus in the midst of the multitudes. What is so unique and tragic about the Pharisees who came into the presence of the Lord Jesus is that while the multitudes came unto the Lord Jesus following Him and experiencing healing from Him the Pharisees experienced no such healing within their physical bodies. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the four gospels is how there is not a single account of a Pharisee being healed of any physical illness which was present within their physical bodies. You can search the four gospel narratives through and through and there is only one encounter of a Pharisee who came unto the Lord Jesus with a sincere and honest heart. It is in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by apostle John we encounter Nicodemus who was not only a Pharisee but also a ruler among the Jews. This man named Nicodemus came unto Jesus by night asking Him questions and hearing and listening to Him as he spoke. It would be unto Nicodemus—a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews—whom Jesus would deliver the famous words found in John 3:16 which clearly speaks of God so loving the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Moreover it was unto Nicodemus Jesus would go on to declare that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

 

As I come to the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew I am absolutely and incredibly struck with the contrast between the religious elite who came unto Jesus on this particular occasion as well as the rich young ruler who also came unto Him. You cannot read the words found in this passage and not encounter and come face to face with the incredible truth that there were two different parties who gathered themselves together and come unto the Lord Jesus. The religious elite—the Pharisees—came unto Jesus in the midst of the multitudes while He was in the coasts of Judaea and yet the only reason they came unto Jesus was seeking to go on the offensive. If you read the four gospel narratives written by the gospel authors you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that whenever the religious elite came unto the Lord Jesus they always came unto Him seeking to be on the offensive. There is not a single time when the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the teachers of the Law and the like ever come unto the Lord Jesus for anything other than to go on the offensive and attack. You can read the four gospel narratives and you will encounter time and time again when the religious elite of Jesus’ day would indeed come unto Him on the offensive seeking to accuse Him—and not only accuse Him but also tempting Him with their questions. What’s more is that most of the time the questions they asked Him were centered upon the Law. There was one notable exception which was when they came unto Jesus asking whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes unto Caesar. For the most part, however, the religious elite would come unto the Lord Jesus seeking to tempt him with their questions seeking to find reason to accuse, judge and condemn Him.

 

            Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that in addition to the religious elite coming unto the Lord Jesus there was also a rich young ruler who came unto Him. As you begin reading with and from the sixteenth verse of the nineteenth chapter you will find that “behold, one came and said unto him, Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life.” I have to admit that when I read the words found in this passage of Scripture this rich young ruler appears to be genuine and sincere in His approach to Jesus. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs recognize when considering the words found in this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that he came unto Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do that he might have eternal life. This rich young ruler did in fact come unto Jesus in worship and reverence asking about eternal life and how he could lay hold of and obtain it. The one thing we must realize concerning the rich young ruler is that he believed that he could somehow do good to inherit eternal life. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the question this rich young ruler asked. This rich young ruler thought and believed that eternal life could somehow be obtained and attained through something good thing he could have done. I have to admit that one of the greatest questions I have concerning the rich young ruler is whether or not he would have been willing to do whatever Jesus asked and commanded him to do. We know that when Jesus heard the words which this young man spoke unto Him He first asked him why he called Him good and declared how there was none good but one, that is, God. If you continue reading you will find the Lord Jesus declaring unto this rich young ruler that if he wanted to enter into life he must needs keep the commandments.

 

            I am convinced it is necessary to consider this exchange between the Lord Jesus for what we find here is the Lord Jesus declaring unto the rich young ruler that if he wanted to enter into eternal life he needed to keep the commandments. Upon hearing these words the rich young ruler would ask the Lord Jesus which commandments he needed to keep. Pause for a moment and consider how incredibly challenging this question truly is for it was necessary to keep all the commandments ordained and given by the Lord Jesus. The question the rich young ruler asked of the Lord Jesus indicates his limited knowledge of the commandments and even the Law itself. The rich young ruler might very well have believed there were certain commandments within the law that were somehow more important and necessary than others and/or that there were certain commandments which when obeyed would automatically grant access and entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would hear this question asked by the rich young ruler and would respond to him by speaking of all the commandments which pertained to his relationship with man. If you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus speaking unto this rich young ruler concerning the commandments against murder, against committing adultery, against stealing, against fearing false witness, and even the command to honor his father and mother. With this being said the Lord Jesus also spoke unto this rich young ruler concerning loving his neighbor as himself thus seemingly addressing his relationship to and unto others.

 

            The more you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more you can and will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding this encounter between the rich young ruler and the Lord Jesus for he would respond unto the Lord Jesus by declaring that he had kept all those commandments from his youth up. What’s more is not only did the rich young ruler declare unto Jesus that he had kept all those commandments from his youth up but asked what he still lacked. The rich young ruler would hear the words which the Lord Jesus concerning the commandments and he would respond unto him concerning that which he might still lack. The question I can’t help but think about and consider when reading these words is whether or not this rich young ruler believed that he still lacked something that would keep him from entering into the kingdom of heaven. He had heard the Lord Jesus declare unto him that he needed to keep the commandments and then went on to speak unto him concerning those commandments which deal exclusively with his relationship with man. What’s most interesting when you read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that Jesus seemingly excluded those commandments which dealt with his relationship to the living God. The rich young ruler came unto the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he must needs do to inherit eternal life and yet the Lord Jesus would not immediately speak unto him concerning his relationship unto the living God. It wouldn’t be until the rich young ruler asked him what  he still lacked the Lord Jesus would then proceed to declare unto him that if he would be perfect he needed to go and sell all that he had and give to the poor that he might have treasure in heaven and be able to follow Him.

 

            It is actually quite unique and astonishing when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture for Jesus knew the one thing this rich young ruler was lacking. What’s more is that not only did the Lord Jesus know this one thing the rich young ruler lacked but he also knew that it was the most important and critical reality within his life. Jesus knew that what this rich young ruler lacked was a willingness to detach himself from the things of this world and from riches. Scripture reveals how when the rich young ruler heard these final words spoken unto him by the Lord Jesus he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. The question we must needs ask ourselves is how and why the rich young ruler would be sorrowful in the presence of Jesus—and not only be sorrowful  but also depart from the presence of the Lord Jesus. The truth of the matter is this rich young ruler had many possessions and was unwilling to part from and with those possessions in this life. Scripture is unclear how he had amassed the possessions he had and how long it had taken him to acquire them and yet what we find in this passage of Scripture is the rich young ruler having great possessions and being willing to part with them. The rich young ruler was unwilling to part with his possessions—and not only part with his possessions but also distribute to the poor. It’s worth noting that what we find here in this passage of Scripture is the rich young ruler seemingly being one whose heart was so attached to possessions and to the riches of this world and being unable to detach and separate himself from them. The rich young ruler had great possessions and wealth and unlike Zacchaeus who declared unto the Lord Jesus that he would give up to half his possessions to the poor and restore four-fold unto all those he extorted wrongfully in his role as a tax collector. What’s more is there was a clear and present contrast between the rich young ruler and the early church who willingly and intentionally sold and parted with their possessions that the body of Christ and church might receive everything it needed.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found here in this passage of Scripture for Jesus offered the rich young ruler the means of delivering and detaching himself from the cares of this world. What’s more is the rich young ruler was given a strong and powerful invitation to deliver himself from that which was perhaps the greatest hindrance and roadblock between himself and the eternal life he came unto the Lord Jesus. What makes this all the more interesting when you think about and consider it is how this chapter ends. In the final verses of this chapter you will find Peter declaring unto the Lord Jesus how they had forsaken all and followed Him. Not only did the apostle Peter declare unto Jesus that they had forsaken all and followed him but he also asked what they would have as a result of their leaving everything to follow Jesus. Upon hearing these words spoken by the apostle Peter Jesus would declare unto him that those which followed him would in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory would sit upon twelve thrones. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would go on to speak in broader and more general terms and declare that every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for His name’s sake would receive an hundred fold and would inherit everlasting life. It’s actually quite interesting to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and see how it concludes for it would conclude with Jesus declaring that those who has forsaken houses, lands and even family for His name’s sake would receive an hundred fold and would inherit everlasting life. Perhaps the question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to forsake it all—to completely deliver and detach ourselves from the cares of this world, from riches, from possessions, from wealth, from land, and everything that would weigh upon our hearts and souls that we might truly walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

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