Sermons

Summary: Jesus rarely calls the famous, the powerful, the influential, or the religious groups to preach the Gospel. He works best with those who feel that that have nothing to offer Him, but will follow and obey Him anyway.

The message of Jesus has not changed in over two thousand years. He still tells those with ears to hear to repent and believe in the Gospel. In His early ministry, He preached in His hometown synagogue and nearly got Himself killed as a result (Luke 4:16-30). Wherever Jesus went, He either brought about a revival or a riot. In HIs humanity, He knew He would not be able to go everywhere to preach. He would need the help of people who could lift some of the burden of proclamation off of Him. To whom would He turn?

The priests? They were going through the daily routine of sacrifices and rituals before the LORD in the Temple as had their ancestors before them going back to the days of Aaron. Theirs was a daily, continuing, never ending slaughter of bulls, lambs, oxen, doves, and goats upon the altars in order to atone for the sins of the people. A constant river of blood flowed from the altars, and the work had turned into routine and mere motions without the awe, reverence, and devotion to God that had once accompanied it. Adoration for God had become apostate religious duty. The prophet Amos had condemned such actions on the part of Israel (Amos 5:21-24).

The High Priest at that time, Caiaphas, had been operating the affairs of the Temple as a type of "racket", with worshippers exchanging money and sacrificial animals they had brought with them for "approved" coinage and animals that were conveniently sold to the people for a "reasonable exchange fee" that enriched the coffers of the Temple officials. They would incur the wrath of the Lord Jesus during the last week of His ministry (Matt.21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-22), exposing their thievery, deceit, and blasphemy. This group would not be of any use to Him at any time.

What about the Pharisees? These men were considered devout, reverent, Scripturally knowledgeable, orthodox, and kept to a high standard of what they considered to be holiness before God. They had been given the charge of teaching the people the Word and Law of God and their teachings were to be obeyed as part of the social and religious structure of Judea. They started out well, but went downhill over the years to where they were more concerned with keeping the rituals and interpretations of the Law as prescribed by the teachings of other rabbis and scribes over the years to where they were seen as just as sacred, if not more so, than the Scriptures. Their fanatical attention to every little detail of the Law, especially where it involved the keeping of the Sabbath, had made obedience to God a source of worry, fear, and strain on the lives of the people over the years. Their teaching had now become adherence to traditions and regulations and had turned them into nitpicky fanatics whose lives did not measure up to their teachings. Jesus continually accused them of rank hypocrisy, disobedience to God, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and murder (Matthew 23). He called them serpents and vipers heading to hell for their wickedness wrapped in religious garb. He would get nothing from this group but hassle and a hard time.

Would He get any notice or assistance from the household of Herod Antipas? Absolutely not. Antipas' father, the madman Herod the Great (40 B.C.- 4 B.C.) had gone on a murderous rampage toward the end of his rule in an evil attempt to eliminate Jesus while He was a toddler, and ended up killing all baby boys under two years old as they were all seen as threats to his throne and royal privilege granted to him by an act of Rome. Nothing good came from the lineage of Herod. Antipas stole his brother's wife away from him, married her, and adopted her daughter. His wife, Herodias, was his niece, and he lusted after the daughter when she performed a sensuous dance for him while he was drunk. His foolish decree cost John the Baptist his life by beheading. Antipas ridiculed Jesus on the day of His trial and crucifixion, and ended his days as an exile in Gaul on the orders of the Emperor Caligula in 39 A.D. Nothing good would come from this family or situation.

Where does our Lord go to find the servants of His choice? He does not often go to the big fancy churches in America or the rest of the world where the congregation and pastor are merely "going through the motions", oblivious to the joy, peace, wonder, and majesty of worshipping, adoring, and glorifying the great God and King. Instead, they tend to be content with pleasing the crowds, the politicians, the ideologues, the civil agitators, the deviants, and others in order to look "acceptable", "tolerant", "non-judgmental", "progressive", "open", "relevant", and all the while leading these souls to contentment and damnation after they take their last breath. He does not bother to go to "churches" where emotion, experience, odd behaviors and confusing gibberish are the center of attention, nor will He use so-called "preachers" with "revelations" and "words from God" who never once open a Bible, nor will he use anyone in the congregation who have everything but a Bible in their possession for that matter.

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