Category Archives: Devotionals

10-15-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Tested by the Pharisees

(Mat 22:15-22; Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26)

Guy Roberson

The goal of the Pharisees is to destroy Jesus’ influence, either by discrediting him in the presence of the crowds or by causing him to make a misstep that will get him in trouble with the Romans. “Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk” (v. 15).

This story is about one of three questions they asked Jesus to trap Him: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? (Matt. 22:17).

It is interesting that the Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians to ask the question. The Herodians were the party actively supporting the rule of Herod the Great and favored making changes whenever Rome dictated. Palestine was an occupied nation by Rome, and the Jews had no special love for their conquerors.

They tried to veil their real intentions by flattery saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 “Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him (Mark 12:14-17).

Swete in his commentary on Mark said: “Malice lay at the root of their conduct, unscrupulous cunning while they sought to screen themselves under the pretense of a desire for guidance and an admiration of fearless truthfulness.”

Jesus therefore answered their question by demonstrating that government does have a rightful place in everyone’s life and that one can be in subjection to government and God at the same time. Paul established this exceptionally well in writing to the church at Rome (Romans 13). Jesus also said, “Give to God what is God’s. Individuals are to be subject also to God’s authority. Therefore, we have both political and spiritual responsibilities. We must not obey the government if they contradict God (Acts 5:29).

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-8-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

The Parable of the Great Wedding Banquet

(Matt. 22:1-14)

Guy Roberson

There have been efforts to relate this parable to Luke 14:16-24. In this passage Jesus spoke of a great supper provided by a “a certain man,” but this parable in Matthew is about a wedding banquet by a king. There are other differences one will find when comparing the two. It will be our purpose to consider only the one in Matthew at this time.

The passage in Matthew is set in the area of the temple of Jerusalem as observed in the previous chapter and is preceded by the parables of the Two Sons (Matt. 21:28-32) and The Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. 21:33-46). Jesus is engaged with the religious leaders and therefore verse 1 says: “And Jesus answered and spoke to them (observe the previous chapter) again by parables and said.” The parable is about the danger of rejecting Him.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son.” Weddings were very important then as they are even today. The wedding of a king’s son would be a great affair and an invitation would be treasured or greatly desired. William Barclay says “that when a great social event happened in the Jewish culture of that day, people were invited but without a set time. On the appropriate day, when the host was ready to receive the guests, they sent out messengers to say that all things were ready, and it was time to come to the feast.”

However, in this story when the servants went to call those invited to the wedding, they were unwilling to attend (v. 3). This picture is of the Jews rejection of Christ. This period was in the context of the week in which Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified. This hatred for Jesus is seen when Pilate asked the Jews “which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over” (Matt. 27:17-18).

In verses 4-7 we are told that the King sent out another gracious invitation and some made excuses and the rest seized the servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. The King then sent his army out and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city. The treatment of the king’s servants was true regarding how Israel had treated the prophets. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 23:31-36. Jesus also predicted the overthrow of Jerusalem, which did take place when Rome marched against Jerusalem and destroyed the city and killing many Jewish people in A.D. 70. This is a clear warning for all those who reject Jesus. There is a coming judgment when all those who have rejected God’s invitation to accept His beloved Son will be punished (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

Again, the invitation was extended to those in the highways and the servants gathered together all whom they found, and the wedding was filled with guests (v. 8-10). No doubt this included the Gentiles. Jesus had said earlier, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The people rejecting the invitation of the King were engaging in rebellion against God.

However, in the presence of the guests was a man without the proper wedding attire (Matt. 22:11-13). “So, he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” This man had so excuse and was stunned into silence. In such situations of the Mediterranean culture, the king would make sure to provide proper wedding clothes to all guests as they arrived (Malina, Synoptic Gospels, 111. Cf. also Stern, Jewish NT Commentary, 64, and Pilch, Cultural World of Jesus, 148-150).

There are different views regarding why this man did not have the proper attire. Some have suggested he was there to enjoy the feast but not to honor the Son. Some say that he came into the feast in a improper way. The proper attire would suggest the need to obey all that Jesus said was required for entrance into the Kingdom faith, repentance, baptism to contacting the blood of Christ, and a desire to love the Lord and keep His commandments.

The parable closes with the statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Many people hear the call of God which comes through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14) but not everybody will respond because they lack the interest or are antagonistic toward God and Christ (Matt. 13:15).

I would like for us to see and understand the most gracious love of the Father presented in this parable. He provided His beloved Son for our salvation. If we would but meditate on what it cost the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to offer this invitation to be saved how could we refuse His love?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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10-1-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update By Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Parable of the Vinedressers

(Mat 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19 (cp. Isa. 5:1-7))

Guy Roberson

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers. In our last article we looked at an exchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. There we saw that Jesus told them the first of three parables designed to challenge and expose their hypocrisy. In this article we will examine the second of those parables, the Parable of the wicked Vinedressers. While Matthew’s account is the most complete it would be good to read all three accounts and the passage in Isaiah to receive a better understanding.

First, I would like for you to realize that this parable was neither mysterious nor ambiguous because the religious leaders, chief priests, scribes, elders, to whom Jesus was speaking clearly understood that Jesus had reference to them (Matt. 21:45).

Second, I would like for you to see the love of God manifested in this parable. The vineyard belonged to God. The passage in Isaiah 5:1-7 helped the hearers to see that Jesus was talking about God and His relationship with His people Israel, represented by their religious leaders and how hard their hearts had become toward God. God sent prophets to Israel because He loved them, and they were killed. Then God sent His Son, because of His love, saying, “They will respect my son” (v. 37). The patience of God had runout and He said, “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” (v. 40). This was a rhetorical question simply to get those wicked leaders to think about their wickedness and the punishment they deserved.

The rejection of Jesus had been foretold in the Scriptures: Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matt. 21:42; cf. Psa. 118:22,23). The “stone” which they rejected was Christ, the Son of God. Jesus then foretold what would happen: “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (vv. 43, 44). This angered the religious leaders: “And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So, they left Him and went away” (Mark 12:12).

By turning to the Old Testament, we can see the important lesson of this parable: “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry, and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psa. 2:10-12).

Jesus also had these same people in mind when He made the following statement: “Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar … O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:34-35-37).

This was according to God’s plan that could not be hindered because of their rejection of the prophets and God’s Son. “Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that You can do all things and that no plan of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). I pray that you rejoice in the power of God and His ability to carry out His beautiful plan of salvation for all men despite Satan’s efforts to hinder that plan.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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9-17-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update By Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

The Withered Fig Tree

(Mat 21:17-22; Mk 11:12-14, 20-22)

Guy Roberson

Critics love to use this story to discredit Jesus. “Why would Jesus curse a defenseless tree for failing to have figs when Mark said, “it is not even the season for figs?” The critics are accusing Jesus of being mean-spirited and unreasonable. Such an accusation is proof they lack understanding of the passage.

The term “cursed” does not mean that Christ used profanity. This curse was a pronouncement of judgment causing the tree to die. Jesus did not attempt to steal from someone’s fig tree, nor did He destroy property belonging to another. In that day it was customary for travelers to pick fruit from road-side trees for travelers (“And seeing a fig tree by the road” Matt. 21:19).

Alfred Edersheim has called attention to the fact that “in Palestine the fruit appears before the leaves” (p. 374). Thus, to see a leafed fig tree (even at an unseasonable time — v. 13b), warranted the assumption that there would be fruit on the tree. Essentially, the tree was a picture of false advertising, having leaves but no figs. Therefore, this tree was an oddity; the leaves were there, but it was fruitless. This phenomenon, therefore, served as a perfect “visual aid” for an important lesson the Savior wished to teach regarding the failure of Israel, God’s people, to bear fruit.

The whole incident was a teaching moment for the disciples. Jesus had just cleansed the temple by driving the money changers out because they had corrupted His Fathers’ House of prayer. The pronouncement of judgment on the fig tree was a lesson regarding Israel’s failure to be faithful to God, their failure to bear fruit by being the people they should have been, and for their rejection of Jesus, the Messiah. The prophets often described Israel as a fig tree in referring to their status before God (Jer. 8:13; 29:17; Hos. 2:12; etc.). The religious leaders not only refused to accept Jesus, they determined to get rid of Him.

In verses 22-26, Mark points out the lesson of Jesus on faith, prayer, and forgiveness. “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (v. 22-24).

Jesus is not explaining how to curse fig trees, He is explaining what should be learned from this event. He is also emphasizing the fact they should have faith in the magnificent power and goodness of God. Whatever is asked in faith, without doubting, will be granted, if it is within the context of God’s goodness and His will. “Mountain” was a popular figure of speech for any insurmountable problem; Jesus said, that as we believe, God could overcome any obstacle.

This promise of God’s answer to the prayer made in faith was made to disciples, not to the multitude. “Nor should we interpret Mark 11:24 to mean, ‘If you pray hard enough and really believe, God is obligated to answer your prayer no matter what you ask.’ That kind of faith is not faith in God; rather it is nothing but faith in faith, or faith in feelings.” (Wiersbe)

This is a great lesson teaching us to be faithful and bear fruit for the Lord. If we fail as Christians to bear fruit the same judgment of God will be applied to us.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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9-6-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Was Teaching Daily in the Temple

(Lk 19:47, 48)

Guy Roberson

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,”

Let’s look at Jesus as He approached the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes’ ” (19:41-42). Satan had caused their blindness as he worked through the religious leaders: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

Jesus came to help the people and being moved by compassion He wept because He knew that because of their blindness they would suffer when Jerusalem would be destroyed by Rome in A.D. 70.

Earlier, the Lord had said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it” (Luke 13:34).

Jesus was not weeping in anticipation of what He would soon suffer in His betrayal, kangaroo trials and crucifixion. Had Jerusalem believed and accepted God’s Son she might not have suffered at the hands of Rome. Jesus wept because of their sins and the suffering they would experience. Paul clearly showed the correlation between sin and death when he wrote: “the wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23. Paul described a time when death would cease: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet….When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (I Cor. 15:24-26, 54-56).

The religious leaders were so corrupt they not only rejected Jesus because they were envious of Him (Matt. 27:18) they also did everything they could to turn the people away from the Lord.

There are several lessons we should learn from this time in the life of our Lord:

We must allow God through His Word to lead us to Him and help us to live for our Lord and refuse any effort by anyone to lead us away from them.

We should learn to weep over our sins and seek the forgiveness of God.

We too, should weep over the sins of mankind and do what we can to turn people from their sins to the Lord.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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9-3-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Was Teaching Daily in the Temple

(Lk 19:47, 48)

Guy Roberson

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,”

Let’s look at Jesus as He approached the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes’ ” (19:41-42). Satan had caused their blindness as he worked through the religious leaders: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

Jesus came to help the people and being moved by compassion He wept because He knew that because of their blindness they would suffer when Jerusalem would be destroyed by Rome in A.D. 70.

Earlier, the Lord had said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it” (Luke 13:34).

Jesus was not weeping in anticipation of what He would soon suffer in His betrayal, kangaroo trials and crucifixion. Had Jerusalem believed and accepted God’s Son she might not have suffered at the hands of Rome. Jesus wept because of their sins and the suffering they would experience. Paul clearly showed the correlation between sin and death when he wrote: “the wages of sin is death” in Romans 6:23. Paul described a time when death would cease: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet….When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (I Cor. 15:24-26, 54-56).

The religious leaders were so corrupt they not only rejected Jesus because they were envious of Him (Matt. 27:18) they also did everything they could to turn the people away from the Lord.

There are several lessons we should learn from this time in the life of our Lord:

We must allow God through His Word to lead us to Him and help us to live for our Lord and refuse any effort by anyone to lead us away from them.

We should learn to weep over our sins and seek the forgiveness of God.

We too, should weep over the sins of mankind and do what we can to turn people from their sins to the Lord.

 

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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8-26-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Jesus Enters the temple

(Mat 21:12, Mk 11:11; Lk 19:45)

Guy Roberson

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons” (Matt. 21:12).

“Of Herod’s building projects, none were greater than the Jerusalem temple, which he expanded. It sat on what we now call the Temple Mount, an area of some thirty-five acres. Only priests could enter the temple itself, which took up a small part of the mount and was surrounded by three courts: Israelite men could enter the court closest to the temple. Israelite men and women could occupy the next court. But the Court of the Gentiles, which was the court farthest from the temple, was the closest any non-Jew could get to the sanctuary” Ligonier Ministries).

It was time for the Passover feast, an annual feast of the Jews. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people put their coats on the ground and cut branches from the trees and waved them as they cried out, “Hosanna in the highest!” It was a joyful triumphant occasion. After arriving in Jerusalem, Matthew describes the cleansing of the temple incident as the very first action Jesus takes.

However, Mark informs us in chapter 11 that Jesus walked into the Temple after entering the city and looked around. It was the next morning that He came back into the city and that is when he cleansed the Temple. This story shocks the average person because it is so out of character for Jesus to get this angry. Therefore, we ask, “What is it that provoked such a strong response from the Savior?”

The Temple area being described refers to the whole Temple enclosure, not the holy of holies. It was there where the buying and selling of sacrificial victims and money changing took place. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.Doves, the only animals specifically named by Matthew in this instance, were sacrifices for (1) the poor who could not afford larger animals like sheep, (2) women who needed a purification sacrifice after childbirth, and (3) lepers who were in need of cleansing sacrifices. They were sold to these poor people at fifteen times the cost charged on the outside. Such animals had to be inspected by the inspectors because the sacrifices had to be without blemish and if they were bought outside the inspectors would reject them and send the worshippers to the Temple stalls and booths.

After driving out those buying and selling, Jesus turned to the tables of the money changes and the seats of the dove vendors. Money changers converted Greek, Roman, and Parthian coins into shekels of Tyre, which were the acceptable payment for temple taxes since they had the highest purity of silver.

The Christian Abingdon Bible Commentary (pg. 986) explains the reason why Jesus protested was because; “The traders were in the habit of defrauding the pilgrims who came to the city from all around. A den of robbers aptly describes the methods of these men.” The exchanges were done at high rates, and that the aim was to extract money from the poor without dealing with loans or interest.”

And he said to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.” The citation is a mix of Isaiah 56:7, which speaks of the messianic ideal of the Temple being a perfect place of prayer for all people, and Jeremiah 7:11, which is a warning to the people of Judah who continued to trust in the efficacy of Temple worship while their deeds toward one another were rampantly unjust.

Jesus’ focus then was on the spiritual neglect of the true purpose of the temple, in contrast to the corruption of those in it who had a mistaken understanding of it as a political and religious center. The passage closes with the report that Jesus healed many people. Here the look of indignation in the Lord changed to a look of compassion, and what had just been a den of robbers now became a holy place where people had their prayers answered–they were healed.

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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8-20-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

(Mat 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:29-44; Jn 12:12-19)

Guy Roberson

This wonderful event and scene are recorded in all four Gospel accounts. The setting of this episode takes place on the Sunday, just prior to the crucifixion later that week (cf. Jn. 12:1,12), as the Lord and his disciples made their way toward Jerusalem. It is called the Triumphal Entry because Jesus entered the city accompanied by the waving of palm branches, the cheering of the crowds and the great anticipation.

Jesus had been teaching for the past three years concerning the coming of God’s kingdom and demonstrating who He was with signs and wonders. He had declared that He was the long-awaited Messiah promised by the prophets. The time had arrived for Him to complete His mission on earth with His death by crucifixion, His triumph over death by rising the third day.

The question is often asked regarding “Why Jesus rode a donkey into the city?” First, this was in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Second, in the ancient Biblical world, a leader rode on a horse if he was coming in war and a donkey to signify peace. As J.G. Baldwin has observed, the donkey “was an appropriate mount for one who came on a mission of peace.” Third, Jesus was probably seeking to connect with the common people and by riding on a donkey may have been His way to say that as a King He would serve and help the people of God.

You will recall that Jesus had resisted attempts to be made king (John 6:15) and had cautioned His disciples to tell no man He was the Christ or tell of the vision of the transfiguration (Matt.16:20; 17:9). Jesus refused to be pushed and pressed into the crowd’s mold, which they thought would deliver them from the tyranny of Rome. Instead, Jesus was going to follow the Father’s plan, not his own, and certainly not the crowd’s selfish plan. He was going to do the Father’s work and not be distracted by shortcuts or easy ways around the necessary. He came to die for the remission of sins and that had to be accomplished before becoming King. Now the time had arrived for Him to completer His work on earth.

There was a mixed reaction to the Savior’s procession toward Jerusalem. Most of the people seemed to be praising the Messiah. Luke points out that the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: “‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Mark tells us, “Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields” (Mark 11:8). John’s Gospel indicates the people were going out to meet the procession with palm branches (John 12:13). Those who hailed Him as a hero would soon reject and abandon Him. Many would later cry crucify Him.

However, some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ““Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:37-40). John recorded them saying: “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” (John 12:19).

Jesus IS King! He IS the Messiah, the Son of David, and as such, it is fitting that we worship him. Have we allowed Him to have a triumphal entry into our hearts?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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7-16-2019 Walking in Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking in Truth Devotional Update

Mary Anoints the Feet of Jesus

This is number 100 in this series

(John 12:1-9)

Guy Roberson

Jesus is very close to finishing His work on earth. It is six days before the Passover. Jesus had come to be the Passover Lamb for the sins of mankind. Jesus had gone to Bethany again where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived. Lazarus, just a chapter ago in John’s gospel, was dead and buried in a tomb. Martha, Mary and their Jewish community were grieving. Jesus had lingered in his travels, and his friend Lazarus had died. Both sisters tell Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” As if to say, “Jesus, where were you?” Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. And here is Lazarus, newly resuscitated, eating a meal. This was probably a meal given in celebration of Jesus. Several people are mentioned but the focus in on Jesus. The divine record tells us that Martha is serving as always, Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Jesus. John doesn’t tell us that this is the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. But, it was someone’s home and a great time was being enjoyed by all.

Some think that this incident is the same as in Luke 7:36-50. But this would make Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany the same person. The Mary of Luke 7 was an adulteress and there is no indication that the Mary of Bethany was an adulteress. It is my opinion they were not the same person and that you have two separate events. Clearly, both loved Jesus dearly and expressed their appreciation for Him in the act of anointing Him with a precious ointment.

Anointing with oil is typically a ritual fit for a king. An anointing often takes place in the Hebrew Scriptures to declare God’s choice of the new ruler—picture the prophet Samuel pouring oil over a young David’s head (1 Sam. 16:1-13). Typically anointing involves the head, not the feet, therefore, Mary seems to be doing more than just anointing Jesus. This anointing was not during His labors, but in view of the Lord’s impending departure, even as He says in Matthew 26:12, “For in pouring out this ointment on my body, she has done it for my burying.”

The Holy Word of God informs us that “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” An alabaster box of ointment: ointment was put in vessels made of “alabaster”, which kept it pure and incorrupt; and this stone was found about Damascus, so that there may have been plenty of it in Judea. The word “spikenard” comes from the Greek word nardos, which describes one of the most expensive perfumes that existed at that time. Spikenard was so expensive that few people could buy it; most had to buy one of the many cheap imitations available. But the word used in John 12:3 tells us that Mary didn’t bring Jesus a cheap imitation; she brought Jesus the real thing — an ointment so valuable that it was normally reserved and used only as gifts for kings and nobility. This was the gift Mary brought to Jesus. So, when Judas announced that the spikenard could have been sold for three hundred pence, he was saying that Mary’s perfume was worth three hundred days of salary.

Isaiah 52:7 describes why Mary felt this way: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

Mary believed that Jesus had changed her life by raising her brother from the dead (John 11:32-44). Jesus had brought new meaning into her family. To Mary, Jesus was precious, honored, and greatly valued. In total humility, Mary dried the feet of Jesus with her hair (her glory and honor, I Cor. 11:15).

Judas looked at what had just happened and thought, “What a waste!” You wasted that fragrant perfume. Notice that Judas presents his criticism in the form a righteous sounding criticism. Verse 6 makes it clear that Judas did not care about the poor at all. Rather, he was a thief and he oversaw the money bag. The point is that Judas wanted this ointment sold for the $30,000-40,000 so that he could steal some of that money for himself. He helped himself to the money given to Jesus. What a scene: you have the dishonest, greedy heart condemning the one with the true, loving heart. There’s the greatest contrast imaginable here between Judas and Mary. One is given over to the devotion of Jesus, the other is given over to the gratification of self.

Each scene is beautiful and touching, and delightful to the heart of Jesus. Whether it be the gratitude of the repentant sinner or the adoration of the heart of the admiring saint, it brings pleasure to the blessed Lord, and calls forth His approbation. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

How much do we appreciate the Lord?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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7-2-2019 Walking In Truth Devotional Update by Guy Roberson

Walking In Truth Devotional Update

Salvation Came to Zacchaeus

(Luke 19:1-10)

Guy Roberson

The Lord Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, he was going to the feast of the Passover, and on the way, he came to Jericho and the record tells us He was surrounded by a crowd (v. 3).

This account concerning Zacchaeus is the picture of a man that was converted by Jesus, a man with a heart that was changed. Shortly before this story Jesus encountered the rich young ruler (Lk. 18:18-30) who refused to give up his idol (his riches) to follow Jesus. Zacchaeus also was a tax collector for Rome and was rich. Zacchaeus was not only a tax collector, but a chief tax collector (v. 2), meaning he had others working for him to collect the taxes.

Jewish tax collectors like Zacchaeus were despised by their fellowmen because they were known for cheating the taxpayers, and were collaborators with their enemy, the Roman authorities.

The divine record tells us that Zacchaeus was short in stature (like me, Guy Roberson). This short fellow wanted to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd. So, being resourceful, and untroubled by dignity, this short fellow ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, knowing Jesus would pass that way (v. 3-4).

Can you imagine his surprise when Jesus saw him, stopped and said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So, he made haste and came down, and received Jesus joyfully (v. 6). However, when the crowd saw that Jesus had gone to be a guest with Zacchaeus, they complained that Jesus had gone to be with a man who was a sinner (v. 7). Their perception of him was that he was not an upstanding righteous man for the reasons stated above. But, if you could have asked them what they thought about the rich young ruler, they would have said, “that man is a righteous man because he was wealthy, which is a sign that God had blessed him (according to their view).” Since he was a Jewish ruler, he was an upstanding synagogue attendee and kept the commandments. But when esus saw that he refused to part with his god, He became very sorrowful, and said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

This story of Zacchaeus answers the point Jesus made in the story of the rich young ruler about the impossibility of a rich person entering heaven. Zacchaeus was a sinner and needed to be saved. He too, was rich and Jesus saved that man because all things are possible with God. All of us are like Zacchaeus, sinners needing to be saved. This is true of everyone apart from Jesus Christ and the gospel (Rom. 3:23). Even though our sins may not be an inordinate love of money, or illegal business dealings, etc., we have all sinned and were separated from God because of the sins of which we were guilty (Isa. 59:1-2).

Zacchaeus, however, was so affected by Jesus going home with him, that he stood up and declared, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (v. 8). And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The expression, “a son of Abraham” (verse 9)—is a reference to Zacchaeus’ faith, because those who have the faith of Abraham can truly be called the sons of Abraham (Gal. 3:7). Paul wrote that all who walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had are his sons (Rom. 4:1-12). Zacchaeus displayed his repentance and sorrow over sin by vowing to repay anyone who claimed that he had been defrauded. By God’s miraculous grace He was sorry for the crimes he had committed against God and men.

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The Son of God was born – he became incarnate – for the specific purpose of seeking and saving people like Zacchaeus. His work didn’t end when they crucified Him, and He is still seeking and saving men all over the world. Have you allowed Christ to save you?

 

By Guy Roberson

 

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