Matthew 26:14-16 – What Will Ye Give Me?

Matthew 26:14-16
14
 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

-Judas betrayed the Creator of the universe for 30 pieces of silver.  It doesn’t seem like much money to betray God Himself.  How much would it take to make you turn your back on God?  $1,000?  $1,000,000?  The Bible teaches that a wicked person will transgress for a piece of bread (Proverbs 28:21).  There may have been a time that Judas’ price would have been higher, but the second you decide to relax your standards, you’ll see them get lower and lower all of the time.  If you would sacrifice your standing with the Lord for nothing less than $1,000,000 today, there will come a day that your price will be $1,000, and finally a day where you will sell out for mere scraps of bread.

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Exodus 20:25 – The Pure Gospel

Exodus 20:25
25 
And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

– What is an altar but a place to worship the Lord?  Christ is both where we go to worship God and the way that we should go. (John 14:6)  The Lord commanded Israel that they not lift a finger to shape an altar used for worship; it must be kept just as it’s found.  The same principle applies to our faith.  Christ is polluted if we attempt to add anything to or take anything away from what the Bible says about Him.  That was Paul’s warning to the Church at Galatia; not that there was “another gospel“, but rather that the true gospel had been twisted and perverted.  (Galatians 1:6-7)  Paul’s warning is preserved so that we would not make the same mistake.  “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14)

John 19:5-8, 12-13 – The Fear of Man

John 19:5-8, 12-13
5
 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

-What a startling picture of the power of fear.  Twice in this chapter Pilate declares that after careful examination, he considers Jesus to be faultless.  However, instead of standing by his personal conviction, he submits to the will of the people and fear of Caesar.  Even if he chose not to believe God, punishing an innocent man is a blatant disregard of justice, something a Roman prefect should have upheld; but that’s how fast and far we fall when we fear man more than God.  “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)  Pilate was snared and so even though he found Jesus blameless, he is recorded and remembered as the man who sentenced God Himself to death.  It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! (Luke 17:1)

Matthew 15:8-9 – Doctrines

Matthew 15:8-9
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

-Jesus here compares the two prevailing philosophies in the world; 1) Doctrines, which are God’s words, and 2) Commandments of men, which are men’s words.  Jesus tells us that those who offer a path for your life built upon men’s words offer nothing but empty worship.  It must also follow that those who receive men’s word get nothing but empty worship.  Never forget this truth; the wisdom of man may be edifying in some cases, it may even seem profitable, but ultimately it will leave you empty.

Numbers 16:44-48 – And He Stood Between The Living And The Dead

Numbers 16:44-48
44 
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

-Because of the people’s sin and rebellion, the Lord sent a plague to consume them.  Let verses 47-48 paint the picture in your mind as this scene plays out.  The plague is moving over the people and as it passes, it leaves dead bodies in its wake.  It pushes deeper and deeper into the crowd and 14,700 have already fallen. (Numbers 16:49)  But Aaron stands in the path of the oncoming death with an offering, an atonement that appeases the Lord and ends the plague.  What a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of our sin and rebellion, the Lord sent a curse that brings death and hell upon each of us.  But Jesus stood in the path of the oncoming death with an offering, an atonement that appeases the Lord.  But Jesus went a little further; Jesus let death overtake Him so that “he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil“. (Hebrews 2:14)

1 Corinthians 4:7 – What Has Thou?

1 Corinthians 4:7
7
 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

John 3:27
27
 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

-Understanding these verses is one of the primary keys to developing a proper attitude towards both God and man.  If we ever delude ourselves into thinking that what we are and what we have is in any way a result of our own doing, it will inevitably lead to some form of pride.  On the other hand, if we truly grasp the fact that we are nothing that was not built into us and that we have nothing that was not given to us, how could we be anything other than humble?  When we think of God, our first response should be one of gratitude for what He’s made for us and done for us.  When we think of other people, we should remember that they are living off the same grace and mercy that we are.

Galatians 6:1 – Ye Which Are Spiritual, Restore…

Galatians 6:1
1
 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

-How greatly the teachings of the Bible differ from the prevailing wisdom of the world!  How many of us would be quick to judge one who has fallen?  On our better days we may get to the point where we honestly do not cast judgment, but the Bible demands an even higher standard than that.  It is the responsibility of those who stand to restore those who have fallen and to do so with the mindset that tomorrow could be our day to fall.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

John 19:7 – Carried Away

Psalm 32:1
1
 A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

John 19:7
7
 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

-The word “forgiven” used in Psalm 32:1 is the Hebrew word “nasah” and means “to carry away”.  How often do we forgive someone only to keep their transgression close by so that we can bring it up when it suits us?  Thankfully for all of us, the Lord does not do that.  When He forgives our sin, He carries that sin to a place where it can no longer come back to haunt us.  Where does our sin go?  To the cross, of course.   The word “bearing” used in John 19:7 is the Greek word “bastazó” and means, you guessed it, “to carry away”.  Jesus Christ took our sins and carried them away to a place where He could deal with them permanently so that any of us who accepts the Lord’s forgiveness can stand before God Himself without having to worry about what sin He might hold over our heads.

2 Corinthians 5:13-15 – The Love of Christ Constrains

2 Corinthians 5:13-15
13 
For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

-We all have natural tendencies that run contrary to God’s will.  It is an incredible thing that the love of Christ can so work in our hearts and spirits that it can literally alter our behavior.  Christ’s love can constrain us to forgive when we want to be bitter, offer help when we want to be selfish, and sow peace when we want to fight.  But consider Romans 9:22, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”  The Bible teaches that God is very willing to bring forth judgment and wrath on the much deserving human race, but instead He shows us mercy and longsuffering.  What’s more, He loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die for us (John 3:16).  The really incredible thing is not that God’s love can constrain a human being; it’s that God’s love can even constrain God.

John 3:18 – He That Believeth on Him is Not Condemned

John 3:18
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

-What a Savior! Only Jesus could look on our pathetic lives from the portals of Heaven and say, “They are guilty, but they won’t be punished.” The Lord could afford such a guarantee based on His omnipotent power alone; but in order for Him to make that claim and still remain just and righteous, someone had to be punished for our guilt. And so it was that “once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:26-28)