The only person we are to fear is God, we should let nobody hold us back by intimidation from obeying His commands and speaking the truth.
Jesus gave the story of a vineyard where wicked farmers killed every servant that the owner sent to collect the harvest, even his only son. The religious leaders knew this story was about them, and now they wanted to arrest Jesus, but they were afraid of the crowds.
Jesus was not afraid to confront and bring to light the evil of others. The world is full of evil leaders, sadly some of them claim to be Christians. As the Father leads we are to boldly stand against and expose the wrong evil leaders are doing. The worse wrong is when those who know better remain silent.
What do we have to fear? Death is gain! So be bold, be brave, God is looking for people that will not back down to no one but Him.
Some people can be so nice but you know it is not genuine, they have an agenda. The Pharisees say "Jesus, we know how honest you are and you play no favorites, so tell us should we pay taxes to Caesar?"
The crowd was the disenfranchised who was tired of the oppression of the Romans, they would want Jesus to speak for them against the unjust tax system. Then the Pharisees could use His statement against the Roman rulers to shut this man up.
Jesus caught it and said, "you hypocrites, why do you try to trap me?" Then He asked "whose description is on it? They said Caesar's. Well, He said to render to Caesar's what is Caesar's and what is God's to God." They were all amazed at His answer.
We often let confrontation bring the worst out of us, we name call, blame others, get offended, etc. God wants us to learn to stay cool, acknowledge God and speak forth the wisdom that He shares. God has insight that will silence our enemies every time if we just give Him our ear.
We must pay our taxes, for we are to abide by the law, despite if we agree what the government is doing or not. We are to honor the position of all our leaders despite our disagreements, trusting that God will deal with them in due time.
We are to give to God what is His which is our entire lives, including all we own and all our talents and gifts for His purposes.
Let us not play the hypocrite and act religious like the Pharisees but rather be genuine in our faith towards God, living surrendered lives that He may be greatly glorified.
You Don't Know Squat!
Do you ever feel constantly attacked? Where so many people are against you questioning your every move. Well nobody had it as bad as Jesus, He was constantly questioned, his enemies trying to make a public spectacle of Him. Yet, every time Jesus responded with such wisdom that they left silenced.
This time the Sadducees who say there is no resurrection questioned Jesus that if a man died with seven brothers and one after the other married the widow because each of them died one at a time as well, who would the lady be married to in heaven?
These guys are supposed to be masters of the scriptures but Jesus tells them the problem you have is you don't know the scriptures or the power of God. That is everyone's problem who misinterpret scripture or just are ignorant of what it really says. Natural understanding cannot perceive spiritual truth.
We see this example with Nicodemus the Pharisee who came to Jesus at night to check him out. Jesus told him you must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was like huh! How can one reenter their mother's womb? He knew the scriptures but really didn't understand them because he was not born again.
One must know God personally in all His power to understand who He is. To be born again you must acknowledge your need for God and accept Him as Lord. Then the Holy Spirit comes into your being and you now can perceive and truly know God.
Jesus now tells them don't you see in the scriptures that you will neither be married or given to marriage they will be like the angels in heaven. Which means perfect beings in lack of nothing. Then he points out where in the writing of Moses that it states the reality of the resurrection.
What's Really Important?
Do you know someone who makes a big deal out of nothing or who is so proud of something that really doesn't matter?
The religious leaders in Jesus time were full of themselves. They thought they were all that. I have been around religious leaders in these times that act the same way.
A teacher of the religious law asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment? Jesus responded by sharing two commandments which are the essence of all the ten. First, it is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is just as important which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
So what we see here as evident in 1 Corinthians 13; Love is all that matters. If whatever we do, ministry oriented or not, does not come out of the love of God it amounts to nothing.
The teacher of the religious law says to Jesus so love is more important than the legal requirements of offerings and sacrifice? Jesus responds to Him and says you are not far from the Kingdom of God. He unlike many of the religious leaders, "got it." Question is, do we?
I still find Christians so caught up in that which does not matter. Fighting over trivial things. Divided by fleshly matters.
The world needs love, if we could just offer God's unconditional, mercy filled love, our fellowships would always be growing.
Before this can occur we must fully accept God's love where we allow Him to heal every wound. For we can not offer that which we have not yet fully received.
The world's love has limits what should define Christianity is that it is made of a people who love without limits.
Fakes & Phonies
Have you ever been an environment where people didn't give you much value or worth? This is understandable in the world but I have experienced in some Christian leadership circles that if you haven't graduated from a prestigious college with theological degrees and have a huge world impacting ministry that they give you very little regard. I understand that they are busy and only have time for so called "important people." But, C'mon is this the Way of Jesus?
Jesus explains to the people that though the religious leaders say that the Messiah must be the Son of David, clearly they have it all wrong. They have misinterpreted the scriptures. These leaders were trying continually to discredit Jesus but they were nothing but fakes and phonies. People will discredit us like they did Jesus, but we are to remember that our worth and value come from God. The Bible says we are a "royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people." "If God is for us then who can be against us." When people are not rightly aligned with God they wrongfully interpret the scriptures for they don't know God's heart.
Jesus reveals the hypocrisy of these leaders; they parade around adorned with fancy clothes, sitting in high places above others, praying in a way to impress. Yet these people cheat widows. Some people start off well but over time due to the business of ministry they stop abiding in Christ and therefore what comes out of them is not good fruit. As John 15 says if the branches wither and produce no fruit they will be cut off and burned. When leaders become proud they must be humbled.
At the judgment seat of God, we will have to account for what we did with our faith? The excuse that the actions of Christian leaders caused you to go on the sideline will not line up with God's righteous standard.
We are not to be moved by anyone but God. We need to stop pointing fingers at others and just let God be God. There are too many people leaving the church because of the actions of others. Who gives us the right to leave a fellowship because we are offended? The question you need to ask yourself, Is Jesus Lord, or are you?
The Poor and the Powerless
In the Kingdom of God, the poor are powerful. How is that possible? The poor are those who realize their need for God, it is those who give whatever they have to God.
Jesus said it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, why? Because it is easy for them to think they don't need God. How can we think money can take care of all our needs? We see with the hurricanes in Houston and Florida how fragile life can be, how quick life can change for both the financially rich and poor.
Jesus observed the rich giving large amounts of money in the offering collection, then he saw a poor widow give two small coins. Yet, He says that the widow gave the most because she gave all she had. It is not about the amount of money it is all about the state of the heart.
The Kingdom of God is for the poor and powerless those who acknowledge that apart from God they are nothing, they are those who surrender all that they have to God. It is the poor and powerless that is truly rich and powerful for the Kingdom God.