Hosanna In The Highest

(John 12:12-19)

hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest
Jesus enters into Jerusalem

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem the final time, his fame had spread far and wide. The people recognised His power and kingship as they spread branches of palm trees on the ground and cried out praises like, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and “Hosanna in the Highest.”

They praised Him, they worshiped Him and they gave Him their adoration which He was due. They did not yet understand His teachings, but they praised Him for the many miraculous and wondrous works He had carried out. As it says in verses 17-18,

17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Laz’arus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness.
18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.

However the reaction of the Pharisees was interesting for a different reason and that bears looking at more deeply.

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Plotting Against Jesus

(John 11:45-53)

wailing wall
Plotting against Jesus did not prevent Rome destroying the Temple
Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Joachim Aagaard Nielsen

After Lazarus was raised from the dead, a great many of the Jews believed in Him. They recognised the power of God in Jesus for no one had ever seen a man resurrected before.

This confounded the leaders, the chief priests and the Pharisees and threw them into despair. They were utterly at their wits end about what they were to do about Jesus. And it was at this time they came together to begin plotting against Jesus and how they would be rid of him once and for all…or so they thought!

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The Woman Caught In Adultery – Part 1

(John 8:1-11)

gavel
Legalism and the Rule of Law
Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Jason Morrison

This is one of the classic stories and discussion of the New Testament. The story of the woman caught in adultery has been spoken about by so many people, analysed and written about it seems there could be nothing new to take from it.

However there is much I believe still to be learned from the unfolding of these events for it shows the stark contrasts between the ways of man versus the ways of God. It is a powerful teaching worthy of review even if only for reminding us of the great gift of mercy, grace and love that the Lord has given us.

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Render to God the Things that are Gods

(Luke 20:19-26)

This piece of scripture contains many insights, especially into the nature of money and the kingdom of God. So often in many modern churches we hear the message that God wants you to be rich. This is the thrust of the wealth ministries that plague the Christian church today. And many Christians fall away or stumble when they don’t achieve the financial success these ministers promise. But that is not the promise of the Lord and we can see part of His reasoning in this section of scripture.money question

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Three Things to Learn About Leavin’ Leaven Alone

(Luke 12:1-3)

Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (verse 1) Now I would suggest that when Jesus gives us a warning it is worth our while listening to what he had to say. When we break down this particular warning there are three (maybe more) lessons we can learn about livin’ by leavin’ leaven alone. Continue reading “Three Things to Learn About Leavin’ Leaven Alone”

Three Ways How to be a Hypocrite (and Then To Avoid It)

(Luke 11:42-44)

Jesus hated hypocrisy. Most people do. But there are some valuable lessons we can learn by looking at hypocrisy, and then do the opposite. There is a technique used in creative thinking workshops called “Anti-Solution” to help overcome mental blocks. It looks at all the ways you can make something fail and then do the opposite.

Jesus gives us lots of opportunity to use a technique like this when he describes hypocrisy and if we are smart, we can learn from this and then do the opposite. Let’s look at three examples and then you can add more in the comments.

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Eating With Sinners

(Luke 5:27-32)

Jesus often went in to the houses of those the Pharisees considered sinners, especially tax collectors. The Pharisees grumbled as to why Jesus was eating with sinners. In this section of the gospel of Luke we see him again entering into the house of a tax collector and eating with sinners, and there is a good message in these words we can use today.

caduceus-medical-symbolThe Pharisees were elitest. They were proud and arrogant and looked down upon those whom they felt they were better than. They thought they were the people of God, not realising they were blind and full of hypocrisy. They also lacked insight for they did not understand the reason why Jesus came, which he pointed out in this section of scripture.

The Pharisees and the scribes grumbled because he was eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus then replied to them saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Verse 31 ) Now there are a couple of things we can take from this. First, he was stating what is plain and obvious. You don’t go to a doctor unless you are sick. An interesting comment considering Jesus could heal any disease and raise the dead by the power of God as well. There are some today who preach “divine health” based on faith. They say that if your faith is strong you should never be ill. but clearly Jesus showed in this statement that a sick person needs a doctor. He did not promote “divine health” but rather the miraculous healings were given to confirm and testify to the message of the gospel.

We know there were many instances of people in the bible who were ill and did not receive divine healing including Paul and Epaphras. Was their faith lacking because they did not have “divine health?” Absolutely not! The message of divine health is incorrect and what it does is to promote condemnation in people who accept this teaching for they believe they are lacking in faith if they happen to fall ill. What absolute nonsense. In this scripture Jesus was showing that if you get sick, go to the doctor for the doctor is an authority and all the authorities are the servants of God to do his will as Paul showed in Romans 13:1 saying, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Now Jesus was not talking about physical health only in this statement but also spiritual health. All of mankind has been born under the power of sin and are sinners. Thus to be healed from the “disease” of sin requires a special kind of physician. They need the healing power that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, not for a physical sickness, but for the spiritual sickness of sin. This is what Jesus was referring to in this section. He is the physician who came to heal the sick, that is those sick with sin. And that is why he goes on in verse 32 to say, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

So if he came to call the sinners to repentance, how could he do so if he only hung out with the Pharisees and scribes who believed they were already righteous? If Jesus spent his time with the righteous only (assuming there were any who could be considered righteous), when and where would the sinners be able to hear the message of salvation from sin in the gospel? Taking a modern analogy, if you are selling a product you need to target the market you want to sell that product to. That is what Jesus was doing…sort of. He had a “product” (the Gospel of salvation) and his “target market” were sinners. So to “sell” his product he had to go to where the target market was, which meant he had to eat and drink with the sinners so he could “advertise and market” his message.

The Pharisees and scribes just didn’t get it.

(Picture sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/ provided by Dominik Gwarek)