Friday, July 21, 2017

51 - Casting Out Demons



As Jesus was passing along from there, two blind men followed him, crying out and saying: “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”
After he had gone into the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus asked them: “Do YOU have faith that I can do this?” They answered him: “Yes, Lord.”
Then he touched their eyes, saying: “According to YOUR faith let it happen to YOU.”
And their eyes received sight. Moreover, Jesus sternly charged them, saying: “See that nobody gets to know it.”
But they, after getting outside, made it public about him in all that region.
Now when they were leaving, look! people brought him a dumb man possessed of a demon;
and after the demon had been expelled the dumb man spoke. Well, the crowds felt amazement and said: “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.”

But the Pharisees began to say: “It is by the ruler of the demons that he expels the demons.” Mat. 9:27-34 NW

Two Blind Men


The Book of Matthew is the only synoptic Gospel that tells this story.  It is also in this story, in the Book of Matthew, that we find that the Jewish leaders are beginning to attribute the works of Christ to the devil.  Could it be because He could work miracles and they could not?

As Jesus was passing along from there.  Bible commentaries seem to agree that Jesus was just then leaving the house of Jairus where he had healed the twelve-year-old girl.  Maybe it actually happened this way or maybe it was just Matthew's style of writing but he connects all of these stories together as if they happened in immediate succession.  From the time that Jesus left the feast at Matthew's house, it has been one story connected to the next even including these two: one about the two blind men and one about casting out a demon.

two blind men followed him, crying out and saying: “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”  By saying Son of David, the Jews implied that they meant the Messiah.  Barnes,  These two men were determined to get their eyes repaired.  They followed Him crying out for mercy.  Christ, on the other hand, went into the house. 

Maybe Christ was testing them to see if they were really serious.  In any case, they went into the house after Him and there Christ asked them Do you have faith that I can do this?  They answered yes and Christ said, O.K. we will see whether or not you do.  Your healing will be in accordance with your faith.

After Christ touched their eyes both men received sight and Christ gave them the same instructions He had given the others, See that nobody gets to know it.  Don't go telling people about the miracles I can to do - I came to teach not to work miracles!

These two men, like all the rest of us, in our excitement, would have, after getting outside, made it public about him in all that region.

The Prince of Demons


Then, without any lull in the story, as the two men were leaving the house, people brought him a dumb man possessed of a demon.

In the Jewish understanding of demon possession, this man could not be helped. This was because the rabbis thought that you could not cast out a demon until it (the demon) told you its name, and a demon that made a man mute could never be made to tell you its name.  Guzik.   So this man really had no reason to hope that Christ could cast out the demon that possessed him except maybe because of the stories he had heard about the miracles Christ could perform.

Christ expelled the demon and the man who had been possessed spoke.  The people who witnessed the miracle were amazed and said, Never was anything like this seen in Israel.  Of course not, they would never have seen it before because the beliefs of the Rabbis made such a thing impossible for a Rabbi to do.  Christ had cast out demons before but these witnesses had never seen it happen.

Now the religious leaders, the Pharisees, come into the picture.  With a closed mind, the religious leaders say if we have never before seen anything like this it must have been done by the ruler of the demons.  There simply is no room for new thoughts or even new doctrines though it has been proven, from the Bible, that the old doctrines are not biblical.

It is the same discouraging attitude that anyone who questions the church's doctrines faces.  At the end of the dark ages, it happened to Luther, Zwingli and a host of others who questioned the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.  Many of the teachings of that church have been shown to be wrong but the church has not changed its stance.

In our own time, it happens to anyone who dares question the teachings of the Protestant church.

Please pardon a personal example:


In one of my posts, I stated my belief that the Bible is not "word perfect". It seems so obvious that we must make allowances for translation changes and human error, even in the Scriptures.  As it turned out, one of my readers, in several comments to me, condemned me to "hell" for saying that the Bible is not "word perfect".



Religious leaders who have been as dogmatically brainwashed as most of the churches' preachers have will not even open their minds enough to look at another point of view.  Because this fact bothers me so much I entitled this blog, THINK AGAIN!



Have a look at this simple example.  It is easy to prove, from our own Bible, that the doctrine of the Trinity is not a biblical teaching.  However, our religious leaders will not even study that issue with an open mind so as to find the truth!  Evan though some of them admit that the doctrine is not taught by the Bible they still continue preaching it rather than deciding to follow the truth.  Without thinking through the issues in which we disagree with them they would rather just say, "your doctrine is from the devil".  

Friday, July 14, 2017

52 - Grainfields, Disciples, and Pharisees


1. Now on a sabbath he happened to be passing through grainfields, and his disciples were plucking and eating the heads of grain, rubbing them with their hands.
2. At this some of the Pharisees said: “Why are YOU doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”
3. But Jesus said in reply to them: “Have YOU never read the very thing David did when he and the men with him got hungry?
4. How he entered into the house of God and received the loaves of presentation and ate and gave some to the men with him, which it is lawful for no one to eat but for the priests only?” Luke 6:1-4 NW

5. Or, have YOU not read in the Law that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple treat the sabbath as not sacred and continue guiltless? 
6 But I tell YOU that something greater than the temple is here. 
7. However, if YOU had understood what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice,’ YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones. Mat. 12:5-7 NW

27 So he went on to say to them: “The sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the sabbath;
28 hence the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28 NW

I Am The Boss of My Sunday


Christ and His disciples were passing through a field of grain and eating the grain from a farmer's field and, according to Jewish law, this action was not to be censured.  The Pharisees following along with the disciples took exception to what the disciples were doing. 

This was not a violation of the Mosaic law, but of scribal traditions, which had precisely determined that to pluck the heads of grain was to “harvest.” To rub them between your hands to separate the chaff was “milling.” To blow away the chaff from your hand was “winnowing.” All of this was forbidden on the Sabbath - even for personal use. Guzik

The Pharisees said, Why are YOU doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”  I imagine Christ might have been thinking, You and your rules! You are all bound up in "the law" but if you would listen to Me, I would make you free, and you would be free indeed from your man made rules. John 8:36

But, Jesus said, let Me give you a few examples: “Have YOU never read the very thing David did when he and the men with him got hungry? How he entered into the house of God and received the loaves of presentation and ate and gave some to the men with him.

Christ knew very well that the Pharisees were aware of that story from the Book of 1 Samuel.  Perhaps Christ's meaning was, have you never paid attention to the meaning of that story?  He said, But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. Mat. 9:13. Jehovah is much more interested in mercy than rules. 

David and his soldiers went into the temple and ate the bread which was designated for the priests only. Mat. 12:4. It was against the law for anyone else to eat it, and yet it is much better to feed the hungry than it is to be hung up on religious rules.

You Pharisees are so hung up on what you think the Sabbath should "look like" that you completely miss the point that Jehovah had in mind. The law of Moses gave you one day a week in which to rest but you have changed it into a net by which you catch people doing something that you think is wrong. 

Jesus continues, Here is my second example; on the sabbaths the priests in the temple treat the sabbath as not sacred and continue guiltless? Mat.12:8  On the Sabbath the priests are "breaking the law hand over fist".  That is, to treat the Sabbath as any other day. They did so by carrying on butchering and other work in connection with the animal sacrifices.—Nu 28:9,10. NW study Edition.  They work all day long and yet they continue guiltless.  What they did is not called breaking the law because it was necessary.

Our preachers do their hardest work on Sundays and yet none of us accuses them of sinning because they preach on Sundays.

The sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the sabbath.  Christ continues, I, a human, a son of Adamam master even of the Sabbath as it pertains to me.

The Son of man (Adam), any man is Lord of the Sabbath; i.e. it was made for him, for his ease, comfort, and use, and to these purposes he is to apply it. Clarke.


But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. Mat. 12:6.  Some versions use the word some one in place of something.  Those who want to foster the teaching of the Trinity use this to refer to Christ. They have Him saying that because He is God He is greater than the temple.

However, the more trustworthy translations use the word something.   Since Christ called it a "thing" He certainly was not speaking about Himself.  I think that the "thing" He was speaking of was mercy because it is greater even than the temple.  Notice how Christ's statement flows, I tell YOU that something greater than the temple is here. However, if YOU had understood what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice,’ YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones. Mat. 9:7.

MERCY WILL OUTWEIGH RELIGIOUS RULES EVERY TIME!

My disciples are totally innocent of breaking the Law of Moses they broke only your interpretation of it.

Any application of the Sabbath Law which operates to the detriment of man is out of harmony with God’s purpose.” (Morgan)
Guzik

Friday, July 7, 2017

50 - A Woman and a Daughter


Now one of the presiding officers of the synagogue, Jaʹi·rus by name, came and, on catching sight of him, he fell at his feet
and entreated him many times, saying: “My little daughter is in an extreme condition. Would you please come and put your hands upon her that she may get well and live.”
At that he went off with him. And a great crowd was following him and pressing against him.
Now there was a woman subject to a flow of blood twelve years,
and she had been put to many pains by many physicians and had spent all her resources and had not been benefited but, rather, had got worse. 
When she heard the things about Jesus, she came behind in the crowd and touched his outer garment; 
for she kept saying: “If I touch just his outer garments I shall get well.”
And immediately her fountain of blood dried up, and she sensed in her body that she had been healed of the grievous sickness.
Immediately, also, Jesus recognized in himself that power had gone out of him, and he turned about in the crowd and began to say: “Who touched my outer garments?”
But his disciples began to say to him: “You see the crowd pressing in upon you, and do you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 
However, he was looking around to see her that had done this. 
But the woman, frightened and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.
He said to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be in good health from your grievous sickness.”
While he was yet speaking, some men from the home of the presiding officer of the synagogue came and said: “Your daughter died! Why bother the teacher any longer?”
But Jesus, overhearing the word being spoken, said to the presiding officer of the synagogue: “Have no fear, only exercise faith.”
Now he did not let anyone follow along with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
So they came to the house of the presiding officer of the synagogue, and he beheld the noisy confusion and those weeping and letting out many wails, 
and, after stepping in, he said to them: “Why are YOU causing noisy confusion and weeping? The young child has not died, but is sleeping.”
At this they began to laugh scornfully at him. But, having put them all out, he took along the young child’s father and mother and those with him, and he went in where the young child was.
And, taking the hand of the young child, he said to her: “Talʹi·tha cuʹmi,” which, translated, means: “Maiden, I say to you, Get up!”
And immediately the maiden rose and began walking, for she was twelve years old. And at once they were beside themselves with great ecstasy.
But he ordered them again and again to let no one learn of this, and he said that something should be given her to eat. Mark 5:22-43 NW


The Very Sick Daughter of Jairus


He (John the Baptist) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him.
Mat. 3:16. This statement may well be the key to defining the ministry of Christ.


In a previous post we learned that Christ was talking to the people about mending coats and saving wine and while He was still speaking one of the presiding officers of the synagogue, Jairus, by name, hoping against hope, kneeled at the feet of Jesus and  said, I suppose by now my daughter, who is only twelve years old, must be dead; but just in case she isn't would you please come and put your hands upon her that she may get well and live.


A Woman With the Von Willebrand Disease


So Christ and His disciples left the feast at Matthew's house and as they were going to the home of Jairus to heal the daughter, a woman with a flow of blood snuck up behind Christ hoping that she might secretly touch the hem of His cloak and thereby be healed.  It is possible that she had a severe case of what medical science these days calls the "Von Willebrand disease".  According to the Mayo Clinic, this disease still can't be cured.


She had endured her problem for twelve years; she had suffered much at the hands of doctors and had spent all her resources.  To make the matter worse was the fact that according to the law of Moses she was perpetually "unclean".  


This meant that she may never attend the synagogue and worship with her neighbours; she may never intermingle with people in such a way that she touches anyone; if her husband, if she is married, touches her, even he will be unclean till evening.  Her uncleanness continues for seven days after the issue of blood has stopped, but her's never stopped. Leviticus 15.  Being in the state that she was in it is no wonder that she did not want Christ to notice her touch His garment. 


He did notice, and kneeling before Him she admitted what she had done and Christ said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace, and be in good health from your grievous sickness.


The Sick Daughter is Cured



While he was yet speaking, some men from the home of the presiding officer of the synagogue came and said: “Your daughter died! Why bother the teacher any longer?”  

Christ overheard the conversation and said to Jairus, Have no fear, just believe!  So Christ dismissed the crowd which had been following Him and took only Peter, James and John with Him.


When He got to the house He heard a lot of noise, weeping, and wailing for the dead child.  Christ said, why are you all making such a commotion, The young child has not died, but is sleeping.


When the mourners heard this they began to laugh scornfully at him.  Christ told the mourners to get out, and taking the girl's parents with Him they went to the sick child, He touched her hand and said, “Maiden, I say to you, Get up!”

She got up and walked about and they (the parents) were beside themselves with great ecstasy.


Christ repeatedly told the parents not to talk about this healing to anyone.  Christ did not want to be known as a healer - He came to be a teacher!