Christians today tend to think of Pharisees as stubborn fools for sticking to the traditions of the elders rather than accepting that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and the true Son of God, sent to save the world from sin and death. What Ernest DeWitt Burton and Shailer Mathews had to say over 100 years ago about Mark 7:5 in The Life of Christ has as much validity today as when they first wrote it.
In Mark 7:5 the Pharisees are complaining to Jesus about the behavior of his disciples, who ate without washing their hands after coming from the market:
“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” (KJV)
Burton and Mathews had this to say about verse 5:
“It must be remembered that these traditions had for the Pharisees all the force and sacredness of law; even as in modern times many Christians are apt to be more tenacious of the usages and traditions of their sect than studious of the Scriptures or eager to find out the real truth.”
Are we being a little hard on the Pharisees? Or maybe we’re being a bit hypocritical since today we are so prone to squabbling among our fellow Christians about things that have little to do with the message of love and forgiveness that Jesus brought to the world and everything to do with the teachings of men rather than of God. Many Christians today are as firmly rooted in their chosen sect to the detriment of their relationship with the Risen Savior Jesus Christ. We need to put the emphasis back the love and forgiveness of Jesus in order to push back the evil forces of Satan that are working to destroy us all.
Will you be a soldier for Christ or are you going to be a modern day Pharisee, obsessed with earthly traditions and only vaguely connected to Christ and the Holy Spirit?
E. Stanley Jones was a 20th century Evangelist who devoted his life to following Christ and spreading the Gospel. He spent many years in India and wrote The Christ of the Indian Road It is full of powerful insights into the Gospel and the best ways to spread the Gospel.
In the chapter What or Whom? he points out that when Christians start discussing What they believe conflict arises and causes dissension. When Christians discuss Whom they believe, Jesus, they are brought together. The Church divided once over Whom to believe in. The Unitarians split off, and that is the right thing because they no longer believe Jesus is central. The Church is headed in the right direction if it makes Jesus Christ central and doesn’t worry overmuch about all else.
I always wonder if a book purporting to be “Christian” will have anything to do with Jesus or will be some perversion of the true Gospel, so when Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism showed up as a 99 cent bargain in my Bookbub.com cheap books email I grabbed it.
The Gospel isn’t about Jesus, Jesus is the Gospel. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mathew 4:19) Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John, 14:5-6) Carl Medearis has spent his life working to win souls to Jesus. He started out ready to dazzle the unbelievers with theology and logic and was discouraged when he had almost no success. Then in interaction with Muslims in the middle east he came to realize that although “Christian” was anathema to Muslims they were fascinated with Jesus. At that point he shifted from identifying himself as a Christian Missionary and just started talking about being a follower of Jesus.
Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism is the story of how Carl changed from a frustrated preacher who couldn’t seem to reach anyone with his message into a powerful force for Jesus in the world. Not only did I find it a compelling and enjoyable read, but it has a profound message: Jesus is what is important, not buildings or liturgies or denominations: Jesus is the Good News. This book may challenge your thinking, but it has a powerful message and is worth reading.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.
Copyright © 1973,1978,1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
by Michael L. Brown
Michael L. Brown is a columnist on Townhall.com who writes thoughtful essays dealing with Christianity and it’s place in the world today. I receive the “Townhall Daily” email and always read the Michael Brown column as it is informative although often upsetting as it deals with yet another rabid attack by the secular left on Christians and Christianity. Another email I receive daily is from Bookbub, with a daily choice of inexpensive or free ebooks, chosen based on criteria I have chosen for the types of books I would like to read. Recently there was a Michael L. Brown double book listed, Whatever Happened to the Power of God? & It’s Time to Rock the Boat. The price (free) was right and I enjoy his columns, so I grabbed it for my kindle. (The free offer has expired.)
Whatever Happened to the Power of God?
In the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament the Power of God is very apparent. Paul brings Eutychus back from the dead. (Acts 20:9-12) Paul is bitten by a viper and is fine. (Acts 28:3-6) People touch a cloth that had touched Paul and are cured of all manner of diseases. The power of the Holy Spirit is everywhere, Peter addresses a crowd and about 3000 are converted. The prisoner Paul speaks before Felix and Felix is so afraid at the prisoner’s words that he sends him away before he had finished talking.
What’s the story now? In the USA there is very little of the Power of God visible today. Throughout history the Power of God has seemed to rise and fall. God does not play second fiddle, Continue reading
Can you say you believe Jesus of Nazareth is Christ the Messiah? Doubting Thomas did, as told in John 20, verses 24 to 29 (KJV):
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
If you answered yes to the question above, Jesus is blessing YOU in verse 29. YOU have not seen (unless you are a LOT older than anyone I’m aware of) and yet you believe. Therefore Jesus has blessed YOU. It doesn’t matter if you are a sinner, (we all are sinners) YOU are blessed. It brings comfort to me to know that Jesus has blessed me, and I hope that it will also bring comfort to YOU.
by Will Davis Jr.
When I saw the title of 10 Things Jesus Never Said: And Why You Should Stop Believing Them I needed to know if it was an attack on Christianity or an affirmation. So I bought it for my kindle.
Will Davis Jr. has written a book for all the Christians who have doubts that they are good enough for Christ. Through personal trials, the trials of Christians he has known, and Biblical references he shows that Jesus wants YOU. If you have doubts that you are “good enough” for Jesus, this book shows you that you are. We are all sinners and none of us is “good enough” to make the grade, but it doesn’t mattter. Jesus loves us all and has granted us grace, all we have to do is love him and accept it.
After reading 10 Things Jesus Never Said I’m still not totally clear what the ten things are. But I do know a great many things he DID say about how much God loves us and is willing to forgive us. Only one man has ever lived a sin free life, and he died on the cross so Grace and Forgiveness are available to you, me, and every other man, woman, and child on the face of the earth.
If you believe in God and have any doubts that you will be saved and spend eternity with Christ in Heaven, read 10 Things Jesus Never Said. It will show you that God’s saving grace is sufficient for YOU to be a Christian and be saved.
Observing the social scene in America it’s obvious that there is a lot of hate directed at Christianity in General and Christ Jesus in particular. Christianity is being disparaged, mocked, and even violently opposed. Why? It’s because the world has been led astray by evil, falling into the trap of moral relativism where there are no such things as Good and Evil, merely what is expedient at the moment. Jesus and Christianity point out that this is false. There is Good. There is Evil. The right path is pointed out by Christ Jesus, both by his actions and his teachings. Other paths lead to sin, and sin leads to death.
The world desires to carry on however it pleases, without interference from old fashioned, antiquated concepts of behavior. Criticism is bigoted, racist, homophobic, even intolerant, and positively not to be allowed. With these conditions prevalent in the world, Jesus’s words from John 7:7 state plainly why the world hates Him (and through Him all Christianity and Christians.) “Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” The words of Christ burn within the heart of the world because they are truth and truth must be destroyed.