“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were revered by the people, but Jesus had very harsh words for them.
These pompous, holier than thou men towered over the people like mighty guardians. They were members of a religious sect who often clashed with Jesus over His interpretation of the Law.
The name Pharisee means (separated one). Hence, the Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people and labelled them religiously unclean.
Regardless, the Pharisees commanded respect from the masses because of their pious persona. Still, Jesus was not impressed. He saw them as empty shells and scolded the group for unnecessary punishments they placed on the poor.
In a scathing rebuke of the Pharisees found in Matthew 23 and Luke 11, Jesus called them hypocrites and exposed their sins. He compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside but are filled with dead men’s bones and uncleanness on the inside.
“ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. ” (Matthew 23:13).
“Woe to you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things” (Matthew 23:23).
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs that indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).
Jesus had just finished healing the sick and casting out demons. The crowd overwhelmed Him. He needed a break, so He instructed His disciples to crossed on the other side of the lake.
The Bible said, ” Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You are men little faith!” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him” (Matthew 8:23-27).
Apparently, the disciples, who had been with Jesus for a long time did not know Him. They had seen Him cast out demons and healed the sick, yet they did not trust Him. Do you?
Many people turn to God in times of need, but in times of plenty they do not think God is necessary. For those people God is the last resort. Quite the contrary, Jesus demands that His followers depend on God for everything, including provision and security. Not only when their backs are against a wall but also when things are going good..
Therefore, one should avoid using God as last resort.The practice is dangerous and seldom bears the desired fruit in a timely manner. If anything, it is akin to a soldier waiting until he or she gets caught in a fire-fight before putting on the armor. Further, God do not work according to man’s timing. The Bible says: “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, your last-minute request for deliverance may not be forthcoming according to your timing.
Let’s suppose Daniel waits until the guards threw him into the fiery furnace or the den of hungry lions before he starts reaching for God’s protection. What do you surmise would have happened to him? Do you think the Book of Psalm would have been in existence, if young David had put off trusting God until he confronted Goliath? Not a chance. Instead, David, who was not a stranger to adversity, challenged and defeated the mighty philistine. He knew God was his helper, and God never fails.
So, despite the critics, good things do happen when people trust God, but one should not wait until the last-minute to do so. The Psalmist said: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, (Cloth yourself in His armor and leave the rest to Him) and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-6).
There is no greater feeling of liberation than to experience this freedom from sin and death that you have provided for me through Jesus Christ. Today my heart and my soul are free to praise you. For this, I am very thankful.
On this Independence Day I am reminded of all those who have sacrificed for my freedom, following the example of your Son, Jesus Christ. Let me not take my freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted. May I always remember that my freedom was purchased with a very high price. My freedom cost others their very lives.
Lord, today, bless those who have served and continue to give their lives for my freedom. With favor and bounty meet their needs and watch over their families.
Help me to live my life, in a way, that glorifies you, Lord. Give me the strength to be a blessing in someone else‘s life today, and grant me the opportunity to lead others into the freedom that can be found in knowing Christ.
Have you been to the cross lately?
Happy Father’s Day!