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White-washed Tomb

The death of Jesus teaches us a powerful lesson about spiritual pride we should never forget. When Jesus chastised the religious establishment of the day, He was nailed to a cross and left to die by those He dared to challenge.


The Pharisees  in those times were the most learned and respected religious leaders of the day, very much like lots of "Christians" today. The Pharisees knew their scripture and could even quote entire chapters. They sounded really good when they taught and preached. They visited others, and committed their whole lives to the service of God Almighty.  Yet, they didn't even recognize the Son of God when He walked among them! They despised Him to the point of manipulating events which they knew would lead to His death! "And the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, so as to destroy Him," Matthew 12:14.


In Matthew, we can see clearly the chain of events leading up to the crucifixion. When Jesus began preaching, the first thing He proclaimed in 4:17 was "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is approaching." We note that He preached this to all people, not just the great thieves and fornicators of the day.  Later, in verse 23, when He "healed every affliction and sickness of the people", the crowds started following Him. The first time He opened His mouth to teach the multitudes in 5:3, His first words were "Blessed are the humble for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."  At that same time, He also said in verse 20, "For I am telling you, if your righteousness does not go beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven." In the 6th chapter,  He also said, when you do charity, don't blow your own horn as the hypocrites do, and when you pray, don't pray in your church just so everyone can see you. And when you do pray, don't bother to use a lot of words, because your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask for it! And when you fast, don't make a big deal out of it, in fact, don't let anyone know what you're doing. Your Father in heaven sees, and He will repay you!


Later, Jesus spoke directly to His disciples in Matthew 10:34,37. "Do not expect that I have come to spread peace over the earth. I did not come to spread peace, except destruction. For I came to turn the man against his father... Whoever values father and mother more than me, is no use to me, and whoever values son and daughter more than me, is not worthy of me."


He also reproached those towns where He had performed great miracles, and the people had not repented. "And you, Capernaum, who until now had risen to heaven, you will be dropped down to sheol (hell), since if these powers were performed in Sodom, it would still be standing today. Therefore, I am telling you, it will be easier for the land of Sodom on Judgment Day, rather than for you." Matthew 11:23-24.


An interesting pattern emerges as we continue in Matthew. Jesus spent a great deal of His time teaching the Bible to folks who thought they already knew all about it! And everytime He told them the truth, they just seemed to get madder and madder and more defensive! Because, you see, they had already "arrived" as wonderful, learned religious people, and no one, not even the Son of God, was going to upset their religious applecart! In Matthew 27: 17-18, we read "And as they were gathered, Pilate told them, "Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas or Jesus, who is called the Messiah. For Pilate knew that they delivered him out of spite."


But it wasn't just the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day who chose Barabbas. "The chief priests and high priests incited the crowds to ask for Barabbas. Jesus, however, they intended to kill...Pilate told them, 'And what shall I do with Jesus, who is called Messiah?' They all said, 'Crucify Him.' Pilate told them, 'For what evil did He commit?' They, however, cried out even louder 'Crucify Him.'" Matthew 27:20, 22-23.  The same crowds who worshipped and adored Jesus when He was giving them miracles, turned on Him with a vengeance  when urged on by their spiritual leaders. The very people who had witnessed the deity of Jesus as the Son of God, demanded His crucixion, a death reserved for the worst criminal.


Even the Roman governor was taken aback by their hatred. In one terrible passage, Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd and said "Absolve me of the blood of this holy man, you know what you are doing." And all the people replied and said, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children.'" Matthew 27:24-25.


And so it is. His blood is upon us and our children. All us learned, religious people, secure in our knowledge of God's word, unwilling to repent of our spiritual pride and humble ourselves to the slightest suggestion that there is stinking, awful, sin within our midst. Some things never change. When we are challenged by the truth of who we really are, we lash out in spite and revenge against anyone who would dare align themselves with Jesus, spreading His truth.


The real truth is you can't kill Jesus. He is alive and well today. 2000 years hasn't changed a thing. He is still preaching to the same "brood of vipers ... How can you escape the damnation of Hell?" Matthew 23:33. "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is approaching." Matthew 4:17.


"O hypocrites ...this people honor me with their lips, though their hearts are very far from me. And through ignorance they fear me, while teaching the knowledge of human commandments.They are the blind that rescue the blind: however if the blind lead the blind, both of them fall in the pit." Matthew 15:7-9,14.

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Fontana Community Church
 20 Fontana Church Road, P.O. Box 93
Fontana Dam, NC 28733

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