Cleanse First

Jesus looked on the scribes and Pharisees and admonished them: “Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. . . . cleanse first that which is within . . . that the outside of them may be clean also. . . . Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity”

(Matthew 23:25-28 KJV).

The Pharisees dressed in such a way that they might look righteous and holy before the people. Jesus knew their hearts and instructed them to “cleanse first” the inward man. Far more important than the type of clothing is the condition of heart before God. Some people today do as the self-righteous Pharisees of yesterday. They not only seek for justification through their good works and modest clothing but they glory in it. Jesus taught that it was not the outward things that defile a man but the things which “come forth from the heart” (Matthew 15:17-20). If the heart is not right with God, all outward standards and works will be in vain. An outward standard to hide unrighteousness in the heart is hypocrisy.Read more

Go, and Do Thou Likewise

(The following account is a narrative of the parable told by Jesus in Luke 10:25-37 KJV).

Beaten and bloodied, a Jewish man was sprawled, half dead, on the dusty road that led from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbed of his possessions and stripped of his clothes, the flies swarmed around his wounds as the sun beat down on the exposed flesh. Incapable of helping himself, his body grew weaker and weaker.

A ray of hope shone through the fog of pain and semi-consciousness as he sensed someone approaching. Help was on its way. A priest, a professed servant of God, passed by; but upon seeing the man in need, he walked to the other side of the road, not wanting to be hindered in his journey with an unpleasant task. He walked away, studiously ignoring the dying man. Shortly thereafter a Levite passed. He stopped and looked at the wounded man, seeing his horrific condition. With a grimace, the Levite crossed the road and continued his journey.Read more

The Courage of John the Baptist

(Illustrative account taken from Mark 6:17-28 KJV.)

Raucous laughter filled the grand hall as Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, feasted with his governors, military chiefs and nobles. The banquet was in honor of Herod’s birthday. Alcohol flowed freely as he was toasted and cheered as a great leader. Salome, the daughter of his wife Herodias, began to dance before the men, pleasing them with her beauty and enticement.

In the exaltation and pride of the moment, Herod called her to him. “Ask me for whatever you want, and I will give you up to half of my kingdom.”Read more

The Pharisee & the Publican

(The following account is a narrative of the parable told by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14 KJV).

Background:

The Pharisees were one of the largest and wealthiest sects among the Jews. They adhered strictly to many of the laws of Moses and felt just as bound to the oral Mosaic traditions. The word Pharisee means separatist. They separated themselves from the pollution of the Jewish worship and stood apart as holy and undefiled. Read more

The Passion of Christ

(The following account is illustrative of the crucifixion of Christ as detailed in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19 KJV)
Betrayed, arrested, tried and sentenced to be crucified, Jesus was stripped of His garments and scourged by the Roman soldiers. This flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution and was intended to weaken the victim to a state short of death. The Romans used a short whip having several leather thongs to which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bone were tied. As Christ was lashed, the skin was cut and blood flowed down His body. The deep tissues and muscles of His back were lacerated into ribbons as the flogging continued.Read more