Cover to Cover
The Pharisees were always questioning Jesus, and often times He would question them back, challenging them. I don’t think the Pharisees ever made Jesus ever lose any sleep at night. He was confident in who He was and in His calling. He served Jehovah and leaned on Him, never doubting His Father’s ability to cause Him to fulfill His destiny.
This is a powerful lesson for each one of us. If we look to people to be our confidence, we’ll get discouraged or quit. God has to be our confidence. Sure, men and women can be an encouragement, but they should only confirm what we already know from the Father. I know Jerry and I would have quit several times as pastors if we did not have that confidence from God. If you are doing something for God, you will be questioned, by at least one or two. No Christian is perfect, isn’t that true? We have been born again in spirit, but our soul (including our mind and emotions) is in a process of transformation. We all deal with thoughts and feelings that are flawed. So, let’s find our calling and stay true to our calling from the One who calls. Let’s operate in our gifting by keeping our eyes on the Giver.
In the Amplified version of verse 11, it says the Pharisees were “filled with lack of understanding and senseless rage.” After Jesus HEALS a man with a deformity, giving back the use of his hand, they discuss how they can get rid of Jesus. Why? Because the miracle was performed on the Sabbath. What better day to free up a person of a bondage? But the Pharisees didn’t see it that way. Why? They were filled with lack of understanding and senseless rage.”
In verse 12, Jesus spends the entire night in prayer. Jesus pulled an all-nighter. In the morning, Jesus acted on what He received in prayer, selecting the twelve that would be on His team, eleven of which, and later Mathias (who replaces Judas), who will sit on twelve thrones over Israel. What can we learn? When we have a decision to make, we ought to spend time in prayer until we hear from God.
In verse 19, people were pressing in to touch Jesus. Why did they want to touch Jesus? Because there was a healing power that was going forth from Him, curing all from “severe illnesses or calamities (Amplified).”
In verse 23, it says, “Rejoice and be glad at such a tie and exult and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is rich and great and strong and intense and abundant in heaven.” Here is what the joy should be about: when you are despised for His sake, when they exclude or excommunicate you for His sake, when they revile and denounce you, when they defame and spurn your name as evil on account of Christ. I can say from experience, it is no fun to be criticized and gossiped about. In my opinion, if you enjoy that, something is wrong with you. It can be hurtful, especially when it is a brother or sister; however, Jesus said to REJOICE because there is a reward for your obedience. Sometimes we give way too much attention to the naysayers, the critics, the complainers. We should somewhat expect them to be there, in some measure, but it can sometimes be shocking when it comes from a brother or sister in the Lord who pretended to have your heart and your back. But it’s okay – we can still love them and should still love them even if they changed their position from friend to enemy. Pray for your enemies! Pray for those who do you wrong! We need to keep our hearts clear. No person is worth losing our joy. No person is worth failing to finish our race.
Jesus gives some “woes” or warnings of sorrow for three things:
1. If we are building up material resources for ourselves, trusting in them rather than trusting in God.
2. If we are indulging ourselves with pleasure now, living for self rather than living for God.
3. If you are seeking the praise from other people, looking to please them rather than pleasing God.
It’s a spiritual principle, a kingdom principle, to seek God, for He is a jealous God, wanting our attention and our active surrender. The world is self-indulgent, self-reliant, self-promoting. Looking after ourselves may seem to be what is best for us, but that’s deceptive. Looking to God and relying on His grace is what is best for us. He is best for us!
The Levites were given homes among the other tribes, serving God and the people in ministry.
In chapter 22, Joshua makes mention of the tribes that possessed land that did not have Canaanites inhabiting them, saying that they kept their word to fight alongside their fellow Israelites and then returning to their lands of peace. Sometimes we need to help someone else fight his or her battle. The right thing to do is to accept responsibility for our collective group, to assure we, as a whole, are walking in victory. It’s not just about “me;” it’s about “we.” When we consider one another, we are stronger together.