Around the year 759 BC, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord asking a question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). Who will take the Word of God and share it with people who so desperately need it? Who will sacrifice their time and talents and forsake the world to devote themselves to the cause and work of God? Who will put their reputation and life on the line to speak uncompromising messages from heaven? Who is willing to endure rejection and be despised for the sake of the gospel? Who will embrace the wonderful truths of holiness and hope? Isaiah heard the call of the Spirit and responded: “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).Read more
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
(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
(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 following account is a narrative of the parable told by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14 KJV).
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