Okay, let’s milk the scriptures again. The Bible says in the book of 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 2 that “Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
In the book of Matthew chapter 12 verses 9 to 14, it records that “Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.”
The Pharisees were very good in keeping certain commandments of God, but one thing they forgot is to be good and merciful to others. They were very good in keeping many of God’s laws but they forgot to do good to others, and love one another. The Bible records that the Sabbath is supposed to be a day set aside to rest, and worship God, commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested from creation on the seventh day. So during the Sabbath day, it was lawful they rested and abstinence from work and have more time to worship God. And I think the Lord Jesus was trying to teach and tell them, yes, God is pleased that you keep the Sabbath day, but yet they should not use it as an excuse for them not to be and do good, and show mercy to others. And He asked them, “Who among them after finding one of his sheep fallen into a pit and refuse to pull it out just because it was Sabbath? How much more value then is a man than a sheep?” And then He said to them, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
There is another time also as recorded in the book of Matthew chapter 9 verses 9 to 13, it says, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. “Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
As you can see, this is another issue that the Lord Jesus had with Pharisees. They were really full of themselves, did their best to frustrate the Lord Jesus and His ministry because of their spiritual blindness and lack of understanding, but Jesus knew how to handle them each time they tried to trap Him. And He told them, I didn’t come for you; I came for those who need Me. I didn’t come to save those who think are righteous, but know they are struggling with sin issues. So once again He said to them, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’”
It looks like the Pharisees were also too righteous to hang out with sinners, and very easy to point them out, rather than influencing them in a good way to change their ways. So when they saw the Lord Jesus hanging out with us, it bothered them. And the Lord Jesus responded to them saying, “I am a Physician, unlike you, I know Who I am. In fact, I’m hanging out with them because they are my patients, and I want to help them. It is because of them, and for this purpose to help and save them, I left heaven and came to planet earth.” I mean, that is not exactly what He said, but you get my point. Here is another way to I see this; you really don’t have to participate in my misconducts to show me mercy and be good to me, and influence me to want to become a better person than I already am. Just because the Lord Jesus is in and with us, and hanging with us, it doesn’t mean He participates in our misconducts. Usually it’s quite the opposite; He would be helping us to save us from committing those misconducts.
There is also this one time the Lord Jesus shared with them and His disciples, “A parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.” In the book of Luke chapter 18 verses 9 to 14, it records that “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Bible says we are all short of God’s glory. And if there were another way we can be made righteous, we wouldn’t need a Savior. In the book of Romans chapter 3 verses 22 to 26, Apostle Paul said that “Men become right with God by putting their trust in Jesus Christ. God will accept men if they come this way. All men are the same to God. For all men have sinned and have missed the shining-greatness of God. Anyone can be made right with God by the free gift of His loving-favor. It is Jesus Christ Who bought them with His blood and made them free from their sins. God gave Jesus Christ to the world. Men’s sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ when they put their trust in Him. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to show how right He is. Before this, God did not look on the sins that were done. But now God proves that He is right in saving men from sin. He shows that He is the One Who has no sin. God makes anyone right with Himself who puts his trust in Jesus.”
The Pharisees were depended on their own self-righteousness. And the Lord Jesus was trying to hint them that I’m not invalid, but you are. They counted how many times they prayed and tithed….hahaha. And I don’t think the Lord had an issue with this, but it is for the fact that they trusted in themselves and their acts that they were righteous, and they despised others. And He said that is not how we should do it, instead of exalting ourselves with self-righteousness, its best if we humble ourselves before God and depend on His righteousness for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
In the book of Isaiah chapter 58 it records, “Cry with a loud voice. Do not hold back. Raise your voice like a horn, and show My people their wrong-doing and the family of Jacob their sins. Yet they look for Me day by day, and are happy to know My ways, as a nation that has done what is right and good, and has not turned away from the Law of their God. They ask Me to be fair in what I decide, and they are happy to come near to God. They say, ‘Why have we gone without food, and You do not see it? Why have we put away our pride, and You do not know it?’ See, on the day you do not eat, you do what you want to do, and make it hard for all your workers. See, while you go without food you argue and fight and hit with a sinful hand. Going without food as you do today will not help your voice to be heard on high. Is it a time without eating like this that I choose, a day for a man to put away his pride? Is it for bowing his head like a piece of grass, and to spread ashes and cloth made from hair for his bed? Will you call this time without eating a day that pleases the Lord? Is not the time without eating which I choose, a time to take off the chains of sin, and to take the heavy load of sin off the neck? Is it not a time to let those who suffer under a sinful power go free, and to break every load from their neck? Is it not a time to share your food with the hungry, and bring the poor man into your house who has no home of his own? Is it not a time to give clothes to the person you see who has no clothes, and a time not to hide yourself from your own family? Then your light will break out like the early morning, and you will soon be healed. Your right and good works will go before you. And the shining-greatness of the Lord will keep watch behind you. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take the weight of sin away, and stop putting the blame on others and stop speaking sinful things, and if you give what you have to the hungry, and fill the needs of those who suffer, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkness will be like the brightest time of day. The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up. And your cities which were destroyed long ago will be built again. You will set up the stones of the bases of the old buildings. You will be called the one who builds again the broken walls, and who makes the streets on which people live like new. “If you keep from doing what pleases you on the Day of Rest, on My holy day and call the Day of Rest a happy time, and respect the holy day of the Lord, and if you honor it by turning from your own ways, and from following your own desire and by not talking in a foolish way, then you will have joy in the Lord. I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth. And I will feed you with the best from the land given to your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
We go to the Lord and tell Him how many times we have fasted, gave tithes and offerings, and counting to Him all these sacrifices we have to make to get His attention, but then He reminds that He desires mercy than sacrifices. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 verses 23 and 24, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” It looks like God cares much more of our inner issues especially about walking in love, than how many times we tithe, fast, or seek His face.
Many of us we have the spirit of Pharisees in us. I admit it, sometimes I’m just like the Pharisees of those days, the only difference that I am living in our today. And I came to a point and realized that it is only by the grace of God and His righteousness through Jesus Christ we can walk before God blameless. The difference between me and someone who is not yet born-again is that Salvation (Jesus) lives in me, I have been given the grace to believe it, and because of my faith, I have been made righteous through the Lord Jesus Christ. A few years ago I made a decision to invite Lord Jesus Christ in my life to be my Savior and the Lord of my life. I told God I have no power of my own and I can’t do this life without Him. And so I allowed God through His Son Jesus Christ, to take over my life, to guide and order my steps and life, now and forever more. A few years was about ten years ago, that’s when I became a born-again Christian. There are so much differences for good in me and my life from what I used to be then, but I’m going to be honest with you; I still mess up sometimes even after knowing what God expects me to respond in some of my situations; several times I have to repent. In the book of Philippians chapter 1 verse 6, it says “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So when I mess up, I repent and I just believe I am a work in progress and God is faithful, what He promised He will deliver. So at the end of it all, everything will work out for my good because our righteousness is rooted and grounded in The Lord Jesus Christ. It is not really based on our performance, but on who we are in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for us.
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To your success,