We are continuing our efforts to see more clearly the Lord Jesus Christ, and doing so through the examination of His teachings. I do so hope that these devotional studies will be a blessing to you, and aid you in your walk with our Lord.
Please forgive any mistakes in this booklet overlooked in proofing. And, as I have said earlier, read carefully the portions of Scripture mentioned in these pages. God’s Word is so much more important than my comments, so spend much time in considering His Word, running references and praying for His Divine aid in understanding the Scriptures.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 8
As we continue our look at “seeing Jesus,” (John 12:21) I would like for us to examine this chapter and note the importance of faith when it comes to knowing and pleasing Christ. There are several accounts of faith and its results in Matthew 8, along with the results of that faith. We can also see in this chapter the inescapable costs of true discipleship.
True Biblical Christianity is not based upon a system of ceremonial rites or rituals. It is not based upon a rigid adherence to a set of rules and regulations. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7) Natural man often has the mindset that being accepted by God requires self-sacrifice, rigid obedience, and often even self-punishment. False religions have played upon these misconceptions from the beginning. According to the Word of God, access to God and blessings from God are attained by faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for “…without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Notice the first example of faith found in Matthew 8, that of a leper which came to our Lord. “And, behold, there came. leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The certainty in this man’s heart of the Lord’s ability to heal him revealed his faith, “…thou canst make me clean.” There was no doubt of the Lord’s ability. While he was not sure that the Lord would heal him, he knew that the Lord could do so if He chose to. That is faith. This man’s faith was greatly rewarded, for he was healed from one of the most horrifying of ailments in that day. Leprosy separated him from all society, even his family, and would have resulted in an excruciating and slow death. His faith resulted in his complete healing; instant and permanent.
In the second example of faith found in this chapter, a Gentile centurion of the Roman army was blessed with the healing of a servant in his home that was obviously dear to him. When he made his appeal to the Lord, he felt most unworthy that Jesus should come personally “under his roof.” He believed that the Lord could heal this servant without traveling that distance, only speaking the word of power to give the desired result. Jesus’ response to this Gentile’s faith was, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. The faith of the centurion resulted in the healing of his servant.
Two accounts are given in this chapter that certainly should bolster our faith. The first was the calming of the great storm on the Sea of Galilee and the second the healing or the two demon possessed men in “the country of the Gergesenes. Both cases demonstrated the power of the Lord Jesus, not only over demonic beings but also over the elements. These and other illustrations of the power of the Lord Jesus should ever encourage faith in His Person, power and promises.
Before we leave this chapter that so magnifies faith in the Lord, let’s notice His teachings. First, the simple statement made to the leper revealed the Lord’s acknowledgment of His Divine power; “I will, be thou clean.” The “I will” was an affirming of the appraisal of the suffering leper, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The “I will,” was a resounding, “I can.” Our God can do all things, and He does all things well. He doesn’t always heal. He doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way that we think He should, but He unquestionably has all power, and all wisdom. We certainly should ever believe in that and trust in that as did the leper.
Our Lord’s appraisal of the centurion’s faith revealed what He expects from all; a simple belief and trust in His goodness, power and grace. The centurion’s faith was matched by his humility, and this moved the heart of our Lord. May the Lord strengthen our faith.
His rebuke of the disciples concerning the storm at sea was also most instructive. “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith.” True faith in the Lord Jesus eases the heart of the believing of their fear and anxieties. True faith trusts in the Lord even during times of great testing and trial.
Before we leave this chapter that reveals so much about our Lord and His teachings on faith, He also taught us a lesson on the cost of true discipleship and faith. When the scribe proclaimed his decision to be a follower of Jesus, our Lord replied, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” In other words, Jesus was saying to the scribe, “To follow me, and to receive from me the benefits and blessings of faith, there must be a willingness to fully associate with me. This involves a willingness to suffer with me.” Please note the following passages; Isaiah 53:2-3; Hebrews 13:12-13. As we noted in one of our recent studies in Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29) Faith in Christ receives the blessings of simply believing, but it also demands a genuine commitment to Him. Commitment to the Lord Jesus is the call for the day. May the Lord ever help us to ever reach greater heights of commitment to Him and to His cause. Amen!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 11
John the Baptist was the great forerunner, the messenger that introduced Jesus to all Israel. Through his ministry a revival swept throughout the land, with many coming to him to hear his teachings and to be baptized of him in the Jordan River. When Jesus came to John, the Baptist pointed his finger at the Son of God saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) But this same John, when facing certain execution at the hand of Herod the King, sent word to Jesus saying, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another.” This occasioned the teachings of Matthew 11. As we are continuing our examination of the Lord Jesus as revealed through His teachings, we will view His answer to John and the subsequent teachings that followed.
“Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” The signs that were evident testified clearly the Jesus was indeed the Christ, the promised Messiah that John was sent by God to introduce. John needed that affirmation. The challenge to John was given in that last sentence; “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” This last statement is worthy of a closer look, for it applied not only to John, but to all disciples of all ages.
The word, “offended” comes from a Greek word from which we derive our word, “scandalous, or scandalize.” It carries the idea of stumbling through a sense of displeasure or being annoyed. A blessing is pronounced upon those who do not or won’t feel a sense of scandal in association with their connection to the Lord Jesus. John was about to pay the ultimate price for his faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus and his stand for Him; he was about to be beheaded. Jesus said, “Blessed is that person who does not feel scandalized due to his association with Me.” Jesus did not encourage John to endeavor to free himself from Herod’s grasp, or to try to escape his inevitable fate. Rather, He encouraged John to continue in his faith and stand for the Lord, willing to pay that ultimate price if demanded.
Many today are “scandalized” with Jesus of the Holy Bible. His teachings are simply too strict for them, His demands too great. Because of this, they invent a “Jesus” that is better suited to their modern lifestyle. This is nothing new. (See 2 Corinthians 11:4) Their Jesus is not demanding. He does not require a difference, a separation from the world or a willingness to stand out as a Christian. This “Jesus” is cool, he is tolerant and accepting of all. He does not demand repentance, nor a changed life as evidence of a transforming faith. This is not the Jesus of Holy Writ!
Jesus’ message to John was clear. “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” There is an offense in the Cross, and in the following of the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Galatians 5:11) There is an offense in true Biblical Christianity. (See John 15:18-19; 1 John 3:13) Let’s face it, who really wants to be the object of intense hatred? None! Who wants to be made a scandal before others? None! Who wants to be ridiculed, mocked or persecuted? No one wants that, but it will often come the closer we walk with the Lord. But the blessings of heaven are promised upon those who are willing to be thus treated if that comes as a result of their faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The unrepentant cities mentioned in Verses 20 through 24 were never “scandalized” through association with the Lord Jesus. They rejected Him and His message. Most do today. And, those who want “Jesus” and the world, too, fabricate a “Jesus” after their own liking. Those who come to the Jesus of the New Testament find “rest” for their souls. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This “rest” of spirit and soul does not necessarily mean a worldly or fleshly rest. John was not finding that kind of rest while imprisoned awaiting execution. But the message that the Lord sent back to John surely brought a rest to his soul. Perhaps it gave him a renewed resolve not to compromise faith and to be willing to suffer for the Lord that he came to introduce to Israel. Jesus said of this man, “…what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea I say unto you, and more than a prophet.” In fact, He continued His appraisal of John by saying, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist….” Truly, John was not “offended” by his association with the Lord Jesus.
Beloved, the nearer we get to the coming of our Lord, the more distinct the lines of true Biblical Christianity will be drawn. The “offended” will be drawn further and further away from God’s Word, and their association with Jesus will become ever more vague and false. One does not have to wear a placard over their shoulders announcing the fact that they are Christian in the Biblical sense of the Word. Just love the Lord, walk with Him and live for Him. Be obedient to His Word and sensitive to His Holy Spirit. Be willing to suffer the offense of the Cross when and if it comes. In doing so, we will never receive the world’s applause or approval, but we will know His peace that passes understanding. (John 14:27)
In Matthew 11, what did we learn about the Lord Jesus? We learned somethings about His expectations. He expects His followers to be genuine, to be willing to be different and to be willing to suffer offense if that is required. For those willing to be that kind of disciple, or follower of Christ, a great “rest” for their soul is promised. The song says, “I’d rather have Jesus than anything this old world affords today.” Beloved, may He ever help us to meet this criteria of true discipleship!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 12
Many great lessons can be gleaned from Matthew 12. One is found in Verse 7. Jesus said to those who were opposed to Him, finding fault in everything that He did, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” The Lord Jesus was “guiltless,” sinlessly perfect. His enemies watched him tirelessly, ruthlessly, for His entire earthly ministry, without ever finding one genuine fault or violation of the Law. Another that can be seen in that same verse is the fact that He is more interested in “mercy,” than He is in sacrifice.” When those sacrifices of Israel were offered thoughtlessly, or hypocritically, they were despised and rejected by the Lord. Hear His condemnation given through Jeremiah, “Thus saith the Lord unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins. Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” (Jeremiah 14:10-12) When acts of faith are performed heartlessly by those whose lives are not reflective of Biblical goodness, purity and obedience, the Lord Jesus does not accept or bless them.
In this Chapter we can see the opposition the Lord Jesus faced from the religious leaders of His day. They truly were void of any real relationship with Almighty God. Their religion was filled with hypocrisy, and with traditions that had no Biblical basis. They were without compassion for those who were in need, and were willing to use them in their wicked plot against the Lord. When He delivered poor demon possessed souls, His detractors were infuriated, without compassion for their terrible plight and having no pleasure in seeing them relieved from their miserable condition. The Lord Jesus called them a “generation of vipers,” assuring them that they would be condemned by their own words. He referred to them as “an evil and adulterous generation” because they refused to accept the undeniable proofs of His Person, demanding “signs” that they really would not have received.
What did Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees of His day teach us of His expectations and demands of those who would profess to be believers in God and true followers of His will? The scribes were supposedly men who dedicated themselves to the Word of God. Their training usually began at an early age, when they were around thirteen years old. This training took place in Jerusalem by a trusted rabbi. It could last up until the student was thirty years of age, at which time he would take up his responsibility of being a “scribe.” The following came from Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “After his admission, there was a choice of a variety of functions…. He might give himself to any one of the branches of study, or combine two or more of them. He might rise to high places, become a doctor of the law, an arbitrator in family litigations, Luke 12:14, the head of a school, or a member of the Sanhedrin. He might have to content himself with the humbler work of a transcriber, copying the law and the prophets for the use of synagogues, or a notary, writing out contracts of sale, covenants of espousals, bills of repudiation. In our Lord’s time, the passion for distinction was insatiable.” Because of this insatiable desire for recognition, many thought that scribes were at the pinnacle of commitment to God and respect from their fellow man. However, often the Lord Jesus pronounced condemnation upon the scribes of His day. “Woe unto unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widow’s houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13-15, See Verses 16-36)
Through His dealings with the man with the withered hand, Jesus revealed that true faith can be Biblically sound and genuinely concerned with the hurting and needy at the same time; and, indeed, it must needs be so. The scribes and Pharisees were heartless. They could not have cared less about the needy and hurting. The Lord Jesus was not so, and set for all His followers an example of compassion and concern. If we are to be like Him, we must be compassionate and caring, and we must be willing to act upon that when it is within our power to do so. True followers of Jesus Christ should exhibit this Christlike trait. Truly, “the tree is known by. his fruit.” Notice the following words found in our text, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” While the scribes and Pharisees professed to be men of faith and Biblical principle, their actions revealed their true nature.
Before we leave this passage, let’s discuss briefly the message given by the Lord concerning the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. There is much confusion and misunderstanding of this teaching. A genuine follower of the Lord Jesus will not be found guilty of the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. When the Lord “healed” the man who was possessed with a devil, His adversaries accused Him of performing that work through the power of “Beelzebub the prince of devils.” They were rejecting His message and His ministry. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to reject His message and ministry. What is the message and ministry of the Holy Spirit? Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will you shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” The Holy Spirit’s ministry is that of convincing souls of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, bringing them to faith and salvation. Rejection of His ministry is rejection of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For that there is no forgiveness, for there is no other means of eternal redemption.
Scripture Reading: Mark 7
In Mark 7, we see the struggle Jesus had with the scribes and the Pharisees continuing. When they observed the disciples eating without washing their hands first, they “found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.” The lesson in this passage is not concerned with cleanliness, but with the insistence of conforming one’s life to the “traditions” and demands of men, rather than God’s Word.
The question put forth to the Lord was, “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders…?” The traditions of the elders in that day held more sway over the people than did the written Word of God. Those traditions were extremely oppressive, regulating every aspect of life. For instance, tradition forbad walking on grass on the Sabbath. The reason for this was that a blade of grass might be broken in the process, and that was viewed as cutting or harvesting the grass on the Sabbath, which would be a violation of the prohibition of working of that holy day. In this incident, so strict was the tradition of washing the hands before eating that one could not eat if hands could not be washed. This restriction was not Biblical. The traditions were opinions of respected “elders” in Israel, opinions of Scriptural interpretations or applications that had been handed down by these respected men of the past. By the time of the ministry of the Lord Jesus, these traditions were more binding than the very Word of God. In essence, the traditions of the fathers had become additions to God’s Word, even more restricting and authoritative than the Law of God.
The Lord Jesus’ appraisal of this is found in the words of condemnation He spoke, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”
The traditions of the fathers were severely restrictive, making life extremely difficult. This was never the plan of God, and was not the teachings and expectations of the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The more one knows God’s Word, and puts His Word to practice, the more liberty and freedom will be enjoyed. The churches in the region of Galatia had been deceived by some who taught that the law was still binding upon individuals that had placed faith in the Lord Jesus. They were being brought back under a yoke of bondage that the Lord never intended. Note Paul’s admonition to these confused believers, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) There are those who would put the same restrictions upon believers today, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. These things ought not so to be. Beloved, stand fast in the liberty that is yours in Christ. It is His will that your salvation and relationship with Him be enjoyed, not merely endured.
In Mark 7, the Syrophenician woman had faith in the Lord Jesus. She wasn’t privy to all of the traditions and writings of the respected elders of Israel. She probably had little knowledge of the Word of God, but she believed in the “Word” that “was made flesh,” and her faith in Him brought her great blessings. May He help us to ever look to Him, listen to Him and seek to serve Him, that we, too, might receive His blessings in our life.
Scripture Reading: Mark 8; Matthew 16;6,11-12; Luke 12:1-2
Leaven is a good thing when its time for cooking bread, but it is an awful thing when it comes to one’s relationship with the Lord. In fact, in matters of faith and practice as dealt with in the Word of God, leaven is never referred to in a positive way. The first time leaven is mentioned in Scripture is in Exodus 12. In that chapter, the Lord was giving instructions to Israel concerning the observance of the Passover Feast. He said, “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses….” (Exodus 12:15) He did not forbid Israel from using leaven, but it represented something when it came to the Passover Feast; it represented sin and its effect on the life. Paul, writing to the Corinthian Church, said, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
The “doctrine” of the Pharisees was a spiritual leaven. Their doctrine was not Biblical, and led to hypocrisy. The Lord Jesus condemned this in the harshest of terms; “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” When the Lord issues a warning, saying “Beware,” it behooves all to take note. The reason that we are warned to “Beware” is because there is a tendency to fall into that same error as did the Pharisees. This sect of the Jews is believed to have began during the era of the captivity. They were Biblical literalists, believing the Bible to be the very Word of God, and endeavoring to interpret and apply it literally. They would have been considered the fundamentalists of their day, the conservative branch of Judaism. However, they evolved into something that was strongly condemned by our Lord. The “leaven of the Pharisees” in Jesus day was their doctrine, which led to their hypocrisy. In an earlier devotion, we noted that the Pharisees followed so devoutly the writings of earlier respected men of their sect that they began to place more emphasis on those writings than on the Word of God. Their doctrine was corrupted and they became far removed from that original sect that had been devout men of God’s Word. They were corrupted with “leaven.”
This is an ongoing threat to all believers, thus the “Beware” issued by our Lord. There are all kinds of “leaven” to which the believer is drawn. It may be a leaven of wealth or financial gain that draws one away from a faithful walk with the Lord. The leaven of greed has defiled many. Worldliness could be that which draws believers away from a faithful walk with the Lord, or a host of other temptations that are launched against us from our adversary. The danger is real, and one to which the Christian must ever “Beware.”
Turn to Matthew 13 and read Verse 33. In the parables of the Kingdom given by our Lord, this parable of “leaven” is given. The “kingdom of heaven” is the Church Age, the preparatory time that will culminate in the establishment of the literal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus on this earth. In this parable given in Matthew 13, the Lord revealed that in the professing Church on this earth there would be the mixture of both the saved and the unsaved. Look in Verses 24 through 30. In that parable there is seen both “tares” and “wheat” which exist together in the “kingdom of heaven,” right up until the time of the “harvest.” At that time, the Lord will separate the tares from the wheat, with the tares being “burned” and the wheat being placed in His “barn.” In Verse 33, the Lord revealed that there would be leaven introduced into the body of professing Christendom, and that that leaven would spread until the whole was leavened. This corresponds with the prophecy of the end-time professing Church as revealed in Revelation 3:14-22. It also corresponds with Paul’s prophecy of the “apostasy” as given in 2 Thessalonians 2:3; the “falling away.” The professing Church today is filled with “leaven,” the “leaven” of worldliness, of unbelief, of doctrinal corruption. The very thing that our Lord warned us of in His teachings has fallen upon a vast number of the professing church. When there is little or no difference in a church and the world in its programs and functions, this is “leaven” that was allowed to spread until that church was corrupted. Many churches today that once stood faithfully for our Lord has been thus corrupted. Beloved, let’s pray that the Lord will help us to ever “Beware” the leaven that is corrupting much of the professing Church today!
Before we leave this thought, look once again to Paul challenge given in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Beloved, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the responsibility to “purge” yourself of those things that would defile you, making you unfit for the service of our Lord. None can do that for you. The word “purge” speaks of cleansing thoroughly. When something is recognized in our lives that is unclean, defiling or even has the appearance of such, (1 Thessalonians 5:22) this must be “purged,” or cleansed. This is done through confession and repentance of these, and the forsaking of them through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the “leaven” of disobedience or transgression is allowed to continue in our lives, it will corrupt us entirely; “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”. May the Lord help us to “purge out the old leaven” that we might be a “new lump” through, and for our Lord.
Scripture Reading: Mark 9; Matthew 17:1-23
We are examining some of the teachings of the Lord Jesus. This series of studies was inspired by the request of certain Greeks when they asked Philip, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21) We examined “types” found in the Old Testament of our Lord, illustrations of His Person and Work that were found in persons, places, things and so on in those “tupos” that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10. We also examined Old Testament prophecies of our Lord. What better way is there to understand someone than to study their own words, their teachings and thoughts expressed in those teachings. For this reason, we are looking at some of our Lord’s own words as we seek to “see” Him more clearly. And by the way, this should ever be our goal. As the song says, “More about Jesus would I learn, more of His holy will discern….” Mark 9 deals with several important topics which our Lord dealt with in His teachings. In this Chapter we will see His instructions concerning the seriousness of this spiritual conflict that believers face in this world, along with several dangers we face as His followers.
The events and teachings on the “Mount of Transfiguration” were observed by Peter, James and John. These men would carry the memories of this event in their hearts for the rest of their lives. Peter wrote of it later in 2 Peter 1, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18) They were blessed to see the Lord in all of His kingly glory, which we all will be blessed to see some day when He is crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Peter was overwhelmed by this spectacle, and felt blessed beyond measure to be there. In fact, he spake up saying, “Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias” who had appeared with our Lord when He was transfigured before them. It was then that a cloud overshadowed them, “and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” This corrected a mistake made by Peter when he in error brought the Lord Jesus down on the same level as Moses and Elijah. This reinforced the doctrine of the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Deity that was clearly seen along with His humanity. All are responsible for “hearing” Him, believing in Him and trusting in Him alone for salvation.
When they came off the mount, they found that the other disciples had been confronted with a demon possessed soul for whom they could not bring deliverance. The father of the poor soul said to Jesus, “Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit…and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.” When they asked the Lord later of this inability, His answer was, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” These words stressed to these men the intensity of the spiritual conflict they would find themselves in as His followers. Paul wrote, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The conflict with this “adversary” requires the most sincere Biblical approach of the followers of the Lord Jesus. The disciples needed to learn this lesson, as do we. As long as we are in these weak human bodies, we must totally rely upon the strength for battle that only our Lord can provide.
Another lesson in this chapter is found in Verses 33 - 37. The disciples of our Lord were indeed human, and their humanity showed in so many ways. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit recorded many of the lessons they needed to learn in order that we might learn from the mistakes of their humanity. When the Lord returned to Capernaum, he inquired of the disciples, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way.” They were ashamed to answer the question because “by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be greatest.” “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” What an important truth this is for Christ’s followers. It is a natural human trait to want to be promoted or elevated in the minds of others. However, this is not to be the desire of those who profess Christ as Savior and Lord. Rather than seeking the place of prominence, the Christian is to seek how he may best serve His Lord and His fellow believers. “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” This truly is the secret of spiritual greatness in the eyes of our Lord. Moses is a great example of this. It was said of him that he was the meekest man of all the earth, (Numbers 12:3) yet he was one of the greatest leaders of men this world has ever known. He did not seek greatness, but made of himself a servant of God and of his people. He became “first” by making of himself “last of all.” They that would seek greatness are missing the lesson that Jesus gave us in Mark 9.
After dealing with the subject of sectarianism among believers, (Verses 38-41) the Lord Jesus issued a severe warning to any who would seek to “offend” one of His “little ones.” The “little ones” to which our Lord referred are those that believe in Him. They are His “little ones.” (See also Matthew 18:6-7) Jesus warned His followers that offenses would come, and they surely have throughout the history of His Church, but the warning stands today, “Woe unto the world because of offences…woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.” How severe is the warning? “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” The history of the Church is filled with many incidences of horrible atrocities and offenses that have been meted out against God’s children, but these acts of injustice have not gone unnoticed by our Lord. None that have mistreated His own have been, or will be exempt from the severe judgment that was promised to the offenders. The word “offend” means to entrap, to cause an occasion to stumble or fall. It comes from the same Greek word from which we get our word, “scandal.” Satan has launched endless attacks against the children of God from the beginning, but “woe” to that person through whom he works to “scandalize” God’s own.
Think back of the lessons learned from Christ’s teachings in this chapter. God’s children face many challenges in this life, challenges that require tremendous spiritual stamina and effort. Their opposition comes from a spiritual adversary that wars against them continually, one that inspires the unregenerate to “offend” God’s little ones, but our Lord issued a severe warning toward such. The believer’s challenge is to stand strong against those spiritual foes that oppose, while at the same time maintaining an attitude of humility and service for Christ and for others. Finally, the Lord issued to all the warning of an eternal place of torment awaiting those who know not our Lord. Read the following passages that are connected to these teachings: Mark 10:42-45; Jeremiah 45:5; Luke 14:10-11; Luke 18:14; James 4:6.
Scripture Reading: John 7 - 8
The theme of the chapters we read for this portion of our devotion is summed up in the words found in Chapter 7, Verse 43, “So there was a division among the people because of him.” In Luke 12:51, Jesus said, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Even in the family of the Lord Jesus, His brothers in the flesh did not at that time believe in Him. Note the words found in 7:5, “For neither did his brethren believe in him.” This is referring to our Lord’s half-brothers. (See Matthew 13:55 with Acts 1:14) These brothers did not believe in the Lord, their Brother, until after the resurrection. Therefore throughout this chapter, there is the division between those who personally heard and observed the Lord Jesus; some believed, while others did not.
When the Lord’s brothers questioned His intentions, they clearly were expressing their disbelief. It was the time of the “Feast of Tabernacles,” one of the religious feasts of the Jews that was instituted during the time of the exodus from Egypt. (See Leviticus 23:34-43) Many gathered to Jerusalem for the observance of this feast. The unbelieving brothers were saying, “You need to go on up to the feast if You are really wanting to be known among the Jews.”“There is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.” These words were spoken in a challenging, but mocking spirit. Jesus’ response was telling; “My time is not yet come….” The time would come that He would head to Jerusalem with unflinching determination to accomplish the work of redemption He had come to do, but it was not yet that time. He indeed did go to Jerusalem, but not in the spirit in which His brothers suggested.
Having arrived at Jerusalem, about midway through the feast days, Jesus made His way to the Temple and taught those present. As He was teaching, some questioned His training to do so; “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” They had preconceived ideas as to who was qualified to teach spiritual truths, believing that training from recognized teachers and schools was required. “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” To these questions Jesus responded, “My doctrine (teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether speak of myself.” This was a most important statement, especially in light of the coming questions and the unbelief that would be expressed by many. Jesus, at this time, appealed to sound reasoning among those with whom He will coming in contact, that heard and observed Him in His teaching and ministering. Notice the appeals Jesus made to those questioning Him. See Chapter 7, Verses 21 through 24. He appealed to them to make their judgments concerning Him based upon “righteous judgment,” using Moses and the commandment of circumcision as an illustration. Circumcision was performed on the sabbath day in obedience to the law of God. Jesus reasoned, “…are ye angry with me, because I hve made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?”
The division concerning the Lord Jesus intensified, with some saying, “Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.” This was not an accurate statement, for many prophecies were given in God’s Word concerning the coming Messiah; prophecies of the tribe, the family and the city of His birth, and that of His early childhood. They were not basing their argument against the Lord on the clearly revealed Word of God. Jesus said, “Ye both know me, and ye now whence I am….” Again, He is appealing to them based upon sound logic, and the revelation God had given to them in His Word.
At the last day of the feast, Jesus made a personal appeal for those present to believe upon Him; “If any many thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” This same call has been issued since that time unto the present. Belief in the Lord Jesus is a personal matter which must be addressed by each individual. During those feast days, we read that “many of the people believed on Him,” (7:31; 8:30), but others did not. Thus, we read, “there was a division among the people because of him.” (7:43)
That same division continued to be seen in Chapter 8, and again Jesus appealed to individuals to come to Him believing, regardless of the unbelief of the religious leaders. He issued the invitation for souls to follow Him, walking in His light, and thus experiencing freedom through His truth. He also condemned the unbelief of the religious leaders, saying things like, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” “If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him no, I shall be a liar like unto you….” These were harsh words of judgment spoken against men that should have readily recognized and acknowledged Him as the Savior, the Messiah that was to come.
Division concerning the Person and work of the Lord Jesus continues today, perhaps in a greater degree than ever before. Just as the Lord did in His day, an appeal is issued to individuals today to place faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. And, while many reject Him and refuse to acknowledge Him, some do believe. Consequently, there is still a division because of Jesus Christ. May we ever busy ourselves in issuing the invitation for souls to believe upon Him, and may we ever be ready to suffer for His Name’s sake in this time of increased “division” because of Him. Amen!
Before leaving these blessed chapters, let’s look at the incident found in John 8:1-11. Many modern translations question this passage, and some of those leave it out entirely, stating that some of the older manuscripts did not include these verses. We, of course, accept that it is part of God’s inerrant Word, and teaches a blessed lesson we do not want to miss. Christ’s accusers thought they had finally come upon a way that they could trap Him in His words and make Him look bad before the people. When they brought her before Jesus, not caring at all about the woman herself, they cried out, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” This wasn’t asked one time only, but they “continued asking him,” perhaps taunting our Lord with the incessant inquiry. “What sayest thou?” Again, the erring woman was merely used as a pawn in their wicked scheme.
Note carefully the Lord’s response. He never condoned the sinful deed of the woman, but neither did He excuse the self-righteousness of her accusers. Rather, he dealt the accusers first by saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Only He stood there without sin. Every other person there that day were sinners, as are all. Smitten in their own hearts, they “went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.” At least they were honest with themselves. They realized that they were not without sin, and were thus unworthy to cast the first stone. Next, the Lord graciously dealt with the erring woman. “Woman, where are those thing accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She replied, “No man, Lord.” Then, the Lord dealt with her about her sin; “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” He in no way condoned her sin, but He did have mercy on her. He charged her to “sin no more.” Then notice the very next verse, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” These words were spoken to the woman, and to all who were there observing this incident. They all knew the accusations, her guilt and what the Law of Moses had prescribed. Upon hearing the Lord’s response, they then knew of His mercy and grace, and also of the demand of our Lord sent forth to His followers, “Go and sin not more.” While the Lord knows all to be sinners, and understands the struggle against sin faced by those who tabernacle in the body of clay, He does demand that His own endeavor to live lives of obedience to His Word. Hear read 1 John 1:5-10. John’s counsel agrees wholeheartedly with the Lord. The believer is to walk in the light of God’s Word, maintaining a fellowship with the Lord. In doing so faithfully, the believer can achieve victory over sin and temptation. When mistakes are made, these must be confessed before the Lord for cleansing and forgiveness. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The teachings of the Lord Jesus in these verses is of the utmost importance to the child of God. It is unfortunate that some discount them as unimportant and insignificant.
The remainder of Chapter 8 is taken up with the division caused by unbelief; so much so that the chapters ends with, “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” These missed the blessedness of the truth expressed in Verse 32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” For those who rejected His truth, freedom from sin was never experienced. Some did believe, and they knew the peace of God that rules the heart. They knew the freedom that can only come through a right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God for the truth that sets free, the truth that is in Jesus our Lord!
Scripture Reading: John 9
The division that was so apparent in the last two chapters continues in Chapter 9. This is the account of the healing of the man born blind. It is a very familiar incident that is only recorded in the Gospel of John.
In this chapter, there are basically two accounts of the actual speaking and teaching of the Lord Jesus. The first came in response to the question posed by the disciples concerning the cause of the blindness of the man Jesus healed; “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Unfortunate but true, this is a natural response when suffering of any kind is observed; someone must have done something terribly wrong. How many times have you heard this, “What goes around comes around.” When difficulty, hardship, sickness or any other malady strikes, the natural assumption is that this is coming as a payday for wrongs done. And, admittedly, this does at times happen, but not always. Every difficulty faced is not payment for some wrong. Some difficulties come because of the curse placed upon the human family from the beginning. “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) It must be noted, however, that all suffering of God’s children is used by Him in infinite wisdom and love for their good and for His glory.
In response to the question asked by the disciples, the Lord said, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be manifest in him.” His suffering, and subsequent healing, would be used by our Lord to manifest His own graciousness and glory. It would be used as a “sign” of Who our Lord is, and what He can do. Here we are, two thousand years later, still examining this great act of power and mercy performed by our Lord. The disability of the blind man provided an opportunity to magnify the Lord.
It should be noted that the Lord did not, and does not, always choose to heal all infirmities. A good illustration of this is found in 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul discussed his “thorn in the flesh.” What must be remembered is that even in suffering and difficulty, the Lord can be magnified and the suffering child of God can be benefited also.
The sincere child of God that seeks to serve and please the Lord must learn a very practical lesson from this. We must be willing to serve our Lord in whatever capacity, in sickness or in health. Service for the Lord should not, and must not be dependent upon perfect health and all pleasant circumstances. If that be the case, there will be little service. The Lord is gracious to allow us to be used in His great cause. If He chooses to bless us with smooth sailing and pleasant days we should praise Him, but if not we should faithfully serve without complaint.
When the religious leaders of the Jews excommunicated the man that had been healed of his blindness, Jesus sought him out. That in itself provides a great lesson we all should know. Our Lord cares for His own. When the man was rejected by his peers, their was probably a sense of disappointment, and even fear, but he would soon learn that he would never be forsaken by the Lord. Jesus found him and revealed Himself to him completely. This was done that the man might know that he did not need the acceptance or approval of his peers, as long as he had the Lord. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” The man replied, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” Here Jesus gave one of the clearest acknowledgments of His Person, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee;” thus granting assurance to this new believer. Scripture declares, “And he worshipped him.” So must we when brought to the reality of His glorious Person, power and gracious care for His own. May we ever worship Him, for He is certainly worthy! Amen!
Scripture Reading: John 10
There are many lessons which need to be learned from the Lord’s teachings in this great Chapter. This is the “Good Shepherd” Chapter, which points out one of the most important aspects of the Person and Work of our Savior. The Psalmist wrote of the Shepherd in Psalms 23. Please turn there and read carefully all of the blessings and benefits enjoyed by those who follow the Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. A great prophecy was given in Ezekiel 34:22-24, a prophecy of the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, the Lord Jesus; “Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David, he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the lord have spoken it.” (See also Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23:4-6)
False shepherds and false ways begin these teachings of Chapter 10. The false shepherd, the“stranger,” only leads sheep astray, and not in the ways of the Lord. Unfortunately, there have always been, and there will always be false shepherds. John wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (See 1 John 4:1-6) This is even more a reality now that we are living in the “last days,” for Paul wrote, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13) Jesus referred to the false shepherd as a “hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not,” and that when he “seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth….” Thank God for the true Shepherd of the Sheep!
How blessed are the sheep, for they have the Good Shepherd. “…the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” I have seen this illustrated so many times. Over the years, Lynn and I have kept sheep, and it always amazes me how they respond to the voices of those they know, of their shepherds. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” This I have also seen illustrated vividly. If a stranger walks out in the pasture with me, the sheep won’t hardly come to me. They are to afraid of that strange face and voice. That’s how God’s sheep are. They may not know exactly what is wrong with the false shepherd, but something just does’t feel right. And, consequently, they will not follow that “stranger.”
When Jesus was teaching these truths, those listening would have been most familiar with the imagery used. Most would have well understood sheep and shepherds, sheepfolds and pastures. They also would have understood the illustrations of “strangers” and “hirelings.” What they may not have fully understood at that time was the concept of the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep. Certainly after His death, burial and resurrection, this teaching was crystal clear. The Good Shepherd did indeed give His life for the sheep. Not only did Jesus claim to be willing to thus die for the sheep, He proved that when He suffered and died on Calvary. He gave His life for the sheep so that they might be His, so that they could be cleansed of all sin and so that they could spend an eternity with Him, “The Good Shepherd.” By the way, this great revelation of His work of redemption included all future generations of believers; “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”.
One of the blessed truths taught in this Chapter has to do with the security of the believer. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O, what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God; born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” Believer, your position in Christ, your relationship with Him, is eternally secure. Praise the Lord for that truth!
Finally, a blessed revelation made by the Lord Jesus is found in Verse 30, “I and my Father are one.” The Lord Jesus claimed oneness with God the Father, declaring Himself to be co-equal in all Divine attributes. He would prove this literally later with His resurrection from the dead. True Biblical Christianity affirms the Deity of Jesus Christ, and any group or “church” that denies this cardinal doctrine of the truth is guilty of the most unthinkable error. This would be Biblically labeled as a false teaching, and one that is void of any saving truth whatsoever. Jesus said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe that He is God the Son, the only Savior of the world and the “way, the truth and the life.” Thank God for those who, after having heard the Gospel message of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, place faith in Him unto salvation. They truly are His sheep, and will know the blessed assurance and peace that only comes from knowing Him.
You may have picked up this devotional book and have read to to this point without truly knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. My friend, His death on the Cross was for you. His resurrection from the dead gives you hope, gives you the promise that you, too, can have life, and have it more abundantly, through the Lord Jesus. Call upon Him today to be saved! “For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Scripture Reading: Luke 15
Earlier in our examination of the teachings of Christ, we noted His use of parables. Some consider Luke 15 to be one parable broken down into three parts, and there is validity in this interpretation. However, for this devotional study, we will consider this chapter to provide three parables, the Parables of Lost Things. The trilogy of parables found in Luke 15 provide for us a look at salvation from God’s point of view. In fact, in each of these parables, we see a different member of the Triune Godhead and his part in the eternal salvation of the soul. The emphasis in these parables reveals the great desire the Lord has for the salvation of precious souls. Actually, the very fact that He was there, that He was speaking these parables, was a testimony of His longing to see souls come to Him in saving faith.
Let’s examine the first parable provided; the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Once again, this parable was given in language that most anyone listening to Him that day, and those that would read it afterwards, could fully grasp and understand the lesson being taught. In Luke 10, we looked at the Good Shepherd, and the blessed position of the sheep who follow Him. In this parable, we can see how the “sheep” came to be His, how that they were lost and He went looking for them until He found them. The Shepherd went out into the wilderness searching for the sheep that was lost. Had the Lord not come looking for us, drawing us to Himself, revealing Himself and convicting us of our sin and need for Him, we would never have been saved. Not only did the Shepherd search until He found lost sheep, when He found the sheep He placed in the most secure of places, upon His shoulders. What a blessed place of security for those who have been found by the Shepherd. Next, notice the rejoicing of the Shepherd, and of those associated with the Shepherd, over the sheep that was found. “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” Then, to show the heavenly reaction to the salvation of precious souls, look at verse 7; “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” The lost sheep represented the sinner, and the sheep that was found and brought to the fold represented the repentant soul that places faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this first parable, that of the Lost Sheep, we see the part of the Lord Jesus Christ in the saving of sinners. It was He that became flesh and condescended to this earth in order that He might rescue the sheep. Praise His Holy Name!
In the second parable, we see the work of the Holy Spirit in the sinner’s salvation. The sinner was represented as the lost coin. The woman represents the Holy Spirit. She lighted a candle and swept the floor, searching for the lost coin. So does the Holy Spirit. He uses the light of the Word of God, using its blessed truths to bring to light those who are groping in the darkness of sin. He “sweeps the floor” through the presentation of God’s Word, drawing sinners to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Once again, without the wooing, the drawing of the Holy Spirit, no souls would come to Christ. Jesus, in teaching of the ministry of the Holy Spirit said, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment….” (John 16:18) In John 6:44, we read, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” That “drawing” is done through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is depicted as the “woman” that lighted the candle and swept the house until she fond the lost coin. Thank God for the part of the Holy Spirit in drawing us to Christ.
Finally, there is the parable of the lost son, the prodigal. In this parable, there is the Shepherd and the Spirit seeking the sinner behind the scenes, and the Father is seen as patiently and loving awaiting the coming of the repentant. When the prodigal took his possessions, which included his inheritance, and left the Father, the Father is viewed as hurt, and longing for the return of His wayward son. Upon his return to the Father under great conviction, the Father is seen running down the path to meet His wayward child. He received him lovingly and graciously upon His return, restoring unto him all the full privileges of sonship.
In each of the parables, there is an emphasis placed on the rejoicing there is in heaven when souls come to Christ in repentance and faith. (See Verses 7,10, 23-24) I would remind you that the Lord Jesus, in expressing the reason for His coming to this earth and suffering the things that He did, said the following, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11) Paul referred to this “joy” of seeing precious souls saved in Hebrews 12:2; “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This trilogy of parables was occasioned by an accusation that was made by some of the Pharisees and scribes, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” In these parables, He was affirming that He did much, much more than just eating with them. He revealed that everything He has done has been to accomplish the salvation of those who truly trust in Him.
Beloved, the salvation of precious souls is the dearest thing to the heart of the Son of God. May it be ours also! Let’s pray that He would give us the burden we need for souls, making ourselves available to be His witnesses.