Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Matthew 12: Attack of the hypocrites!

Good evening, folks! I hope you have had a good day.

Today we are looking at Matthew chapter 12 and in particular verses 2,10,14,30.
What I personally discovered through my reading of this chapter is the hypocrisy of these super religious men, the scribes and the Pharisees. You would think that Christ and His disciples were going around preaching hatred and violence the way the Pharisees were always against Him. Our Saviour spent His days healing people, being kind, doing good - but the Pharisees were always there, hovering in the background, trying to catch Him out or trip Him up. Do you know people like this? They pop up all over the place, sometimes where you least expect them. They pretend to be on the side of good, maybe even religious, yet they hate it when a genuine Christian does things out of sincere love for the Saviour and they can hardly hold their opinions in. Maybe there's someone like this in your place of work, someone who always seems to be on your back about something (or even about nothing). I don't know how the Lord managed to remain so calm with these men - well, yes I do, actually. It's because He is sinless, long-suffering and patient with sinners (including with me). Christ is 1 Corinthians 13 in action. But for the scribes and Pharisees, no matter what the Lord Jesus did, it was never good enough.

Verse 2. The Pharisees 'saw' Christ's disciples plucking and eating the corn on the Sabbath day, and they criticized. The Lord responded to them with a lesson from the Old Testament Scriptures (this is why we NEED to know the Word of God). One thing I noted here especially is something that really spoke to me. Did the criticism of the Pharisees stop the Saviour from keeping on with doing good? No! Absolutely not. He went into their synagogue and healed a disabled man...on the same Sabbath day! I'm afraid that often when we are doing our best for the Lord and we get to hear that people are criticizing us, we withdraw because of hurt and maybe do less than we should. This is playing right into the devil's hands; this is exactly the response he's looking for which is all the more reason to keep on doing what we've always done. Did the Lord Jesus Christ need the approval of these religious leaders to do what He was doing? Indeed not. The only approval that He needed, and that we need, is that of our heavenly Father. As long as God smiles His approval upon us, that's all that matters. Look at verse 18, where this is reinforced as a fulfilment of prophecy, God said "my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased". Getting to grips with this truth will free your heart to serve God more (John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free").

Verse 10. So now Christ is in the synagogue, healing this man with the withered hand and - surprise, surprise, there are the Pharisees, ready with their loaded questions, looking for a way to accuse Christ of more misdemeanours.

By verse 14, the Pharisees are actually getting together to discuss how they might 'destroy' Christ. Do you see the progressive path? They start out by criticizing, then they try accusing Him and finally they set out to deliberately destroy Him. Be aware that there are people out there who will do the same to you. Be on guard. Have your faith in God strong, have your sword (the Word of God) sharpened and hidden deep in your heart for when you need it and stay close to your heavenly Father in prayer. The devil often uses other people to bring you down and to try to destroy you. That's his ultimate aim. Don't let him have the victory in your life.

Prayer matters:
  • Ask the Lord to help you to be wise and on guard against the wily attacks of the devil.
  • Remember it is the powers of darkness that we fight against, not flesh and blood; we are no match for the devil on our own; BUT, WITH CHRIST, we already have the victory!! Ask the Lord to help you stay close to Him at all times. 
  • Ask Him to help you be strong in your service for Him.
Hugs, Karen x

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