Tag Archives: Pharisee

I don’t want to sit in the Pharisees Pew

Luke 19:37-40

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Have you ever been at the foot of a mountain top experience? You feel in your soul that God is about to doing something amazing! You can see in the distance a plan that God has unfolding and something inside your soul begins to stir and the excitement builds until you just can’t keep quiet. You’ve got to tell someone; you’ve got to share the good news!

That’s a place that I feel that many Christians are at, but there’s just one problem: Religion. It always has a way of working its way into the ministry, because it looks like it belongs there. It’s pretty, and dignified and never makes anyone uncomfortable. People sit in their seats with their hands firmly clutching the bible or a hymnal or a child, anything that will keep emotion from taking over, else they’ll have their hands in the air like they just don’t care, and we can’t have that!

That is far too close to the Pharisee’s pew for me.

In Luke 19 Jesus is making His entry into Jerusalem, not only the main disciples are excited, but there’s a crowd of other believers who are making noise and glorifying God for the great and mighty things He has done. They’re acknowledging His deity, His control of situations in their life, and they don’t care if He’s on a lowly donkey; as a matter of fact that probably made Him more relatable to them. He didn’t arrive in a chariot, because He was the God of the common man. He put Himself in a position of relativity. They were excited that God was with them.

Although not everyone was happy. There was a religious crowd that didn’t like the noise. So they complained… to God.

Oh. My. Stars. That cracked me up. They went to God and ask Him to shush the crowd. Essentially asking God to shut up the gratitude.

It made me laugh and then it made me sick. Because I see people who are sitting at the foot of that mountain top experience of a service that leaves you excited and ready to go into all the world and share the good news but religion comes in. But, since it’s already had God’s answer, religion goes to the people and tells them to shush. They’re noise will disrupt the service and somebody might look at them. And they’re more than happy to oblige.

So… what’s the worst that could happen? Somebody else might get excited?

Jesus told the religious crowd that if the people would hold their peace, the stones would cry out. What might that sound like I wonder?

There’s a lot of things that happen around stones in the Bible and the Pharisees knew it. Jesus may have been reminding them of some of those events. What if the stones on location began to cry out about the things they’d seen? Like the delivery of Israel out of Egypt and the twelve stones that were laid in remembrance of that event. What would those stones say… would they tell of the rejoicing and the weeping as the children were lead toward the Promised Land? What would the stone say that Jacob used for a pillow the night that God changed his name to Israel. When that stone watched Jacob wrestle and get his thigh knocked out of kilter. What about the stones that were about to be hurled at the woman caught in adultery and Jesus stepped in and saved her life, just like He saved ours. What would those stones say?

Can you see why I don’t want to sit on the Pharisee’s pew? I don’t want those stones to weep because I fail to praise God Who is worthy of a loud house.

There was one more stone that the Pharisees knew nothing about. But Jesus did. It was one that would shortly to come to pass, and would be rolled away to find an empty grave and risen Lord so that I, and you, could have eternal life and a relationship with the Lord. He would forever be “God with us.” What would that stone say? The stone that witnessed it all!

We don’t have a stone to tell us, but we have the Word of God and it stirs my souls this morning and I can assure you that my hands may be on the key board but they will be praising God in the air here shortly. He is the Rock! And there will come a day when every person of creation will hear the Rock cry out. Be ready, and be loud!

We don’t patch old britches where I come from

chick patch

There is danger in dead religion

What seems like a lifetime ago, almost 20 years, I sat in the midst of dead religion. I didn’t know it, until the first day I sat in the midst of live faith! Tears well up in my soul as I write those words because it breaks my heart to think that there are many people around the world sitting where I once did. They are quite possibly good, saved people, serving Christ in their place; but I was not. I didn’t know the saving grace of Jesus Christ any more than I knew Superman. In my mind I knew of Jesus, but didn’t know Jesus. He was as surreal as Superman himself. I would read (and teach) scripture thinking… wow… that’s an amazing story. It is an amazing story, but at the time my unsaved soul had no spiritual discernment of the Word of God that comes with salvation, so it was just a story. That’s the danger of dead religion.

The scripture becomes just another book. The church becomes just another place. A prayer becomes a ritualistic means of getting “it” done.

Matthew 9:16-17

No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Patchin’ Old Britches

The disciples of John the Baptist had just questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not fast and carry out the ritualistic practices of the Pharisees. And to country quote my Lord, He said, we don’t patch old britches where I come from. That thought tickled me.  The Pharisees put so much stock in their religious practices that their relationship with God was not a relationship at all, but merely a “get it done” method of behavior. Where they came from was all they could think about, not where they were going. The new that was happening was making them very uncomfortable. And for Jesus to put His new disciples in with the old works of the Pharisees would have been to Him like patchin’ a old pair of britches that were worn out. The new converts would have become a part of weak, worn out group of people. Jesus disciples were hanging out the Lord, the Bridegroom as mentioned in verse 15. They had a new relationship with the Lord who was in their midst. The Pharisees had lost their relationship with the Lord through ceremonial living.

New Wine and Old Bottles

The  Pharisees represented empty vessels. Jesus said in Matthew 23:27  – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Putting new wine in an old bottle would have been like putting a live person in the tomb of the dead. A new convert sitting in a church filled with lifeless Christians is no different. You’ll become one of them, just an empty vessel, looking pretty, but filling no one’s soul. You need fellowship with Christ and His people who are filled with the newness of life that never grows old.

I hope today finds you as a part of a church that is carrying out the mission of God, which is to bring people to the knowledge of Christ and His salvation and then disciple them to bringing others to the knowledge of Christ and His salvation. That jug of wine never gets old!!!

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