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073 Jesus Causes Division

‘For I am come to set man at variance against his father … and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household’ Matthew 10:34-36

Key Verse:

“For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice”

(John 18:37)

(Matthew 15,16; John 7)

In our last lesson, we saw the Lord Jesus multiply five loaves of bread and two fish to feed a crowd of more than five thousand men. On the following day, a great crowd surrounded Jesus, but Jesus, who knew their hearts, said to them, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Labour not for food which perisheth,

but for that food which endureth unto everlasting life … I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:26,27,35) Sadly,

many people turned away and no longer followed Jesus

because they valued the food that could nourish their bodies more than the food that could nourish their souls. But some continued to follow Jesus because they believed in their hearts that Jesus was the Holy One from God and

the source of eternal life.

We plan to continue in the holy Gospel and see how Jesus was confronted by the religious rulers of the Jews, and how the Jews were divided

because of Jesus.

Before we begin, it is helpful to know that the religious experts known as the Pharisees, and most of the Jews, followed the customs that they and their ancestors had set up. For example, when they returned from a public place, they would not eat until they had washed themselves in a certain way. They also had many other traditions, such as how they were to wash cups, water pots and kettles

so that they would be “clean.”

Read what is written in the Gospel of Matthew. The Scripture says: (Matthew 15:1-9) “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, who were of Jerusalem, saying, why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For

they wash not their hands

when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou might be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God no effect upon your tradition.

Ye hypocrites,

well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth near unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but

their heart is far from me.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”.

Did you notice how Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in front of everyone? The religious leaders were trying to be righteous before men, but the Lord Jesus knew what was in their hearts. Their hands, feet and faces may have been clean, but

their hearts were contaminated with sin!

A clean heart is more important than clean hands.

Ceremonial washings do not purify your heart. If you have a cooking pot that is dirty on the inside, will merely washing the outside make the pot clean?

No, it will not!

Similarly, the religious ceremonies which the Jews followed could not remove the sin that was in their hearts. That is why Jesus said to them: (Matthew 15:7-31) “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth near unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but

their heart is far from me.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth,

this defileth a man.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind leaders of the blind,

both shall fall into the ditch.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Explain unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the stomach, and is cast into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and

they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.

Then Jesus went from there, and departed into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same borders, and cried unto him, saying,

Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David;

my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying,

Lord, help me.

But he answered and said, It is not right to take the children’s bread, and cast it to the dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made well

from that very hour.

And Jesus departed from there, and came near unto the Sea of Galilee, and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and put them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them, insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be well, the lame to walk, and the blind to see;

they glorified the God of Israel”.

(Matthew 16:1-4; 12:40,41) “The Pharisees, with the Sadducees, came and, testing him, desired that he would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather; for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and overcast.

O ye hypocrites,

ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah … For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish,

so shall the Son of man

be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold,

a greater than Jonah is here”.

Thus Jesus predicted that, as the prophet Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days, similarly, Jesus would spend three days in the tomb. And as Jonah came out of the fish on the third day, Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day, thus giving an undeniable proof that

He is the Messiah from heaven,

the One who came to save us from the power of sin and death and hell!

Finally, let us continue in the Gospel and see how the religious experts persisted in their unbelief. In the Gospel of John, the Scripture says: (John 7) “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Judea, because

the Jews sought to kill him.

Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren, therefore, said unto him, Depart from here, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no one that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For

neither did his brethren believe in him.

Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. Go ye up unto this feast. I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet fully come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him; for some said,

He is a good man;

others said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people. However, no man spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. Now, at about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, How knoweth this man letters,

having never learned?

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine 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 I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?

Why go ye about to kill me?

The people answered and said, Thou hast a demon; who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered, and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses, therefore, gave unto you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken, and

ye are angry with me,

because I have made a man entirely well on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement. Then said some of them in Jerusalem, Is not this he whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that

this is the very Christ?

Nevertheless, we know this man, from where he is; but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth from where he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know from where I am; and I not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him; for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because

his hour was not yet come.

And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and

where I am, there ye cannot come.

Then said the Jews among themselves, Where will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, there ye cannot come?

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying,

If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Many of the people, therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people

because of him.

And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered,

Never man spoke like this man.

Then answered the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him? But this people, who knoweth not the law, are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them), Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered, and said unto him,

Art thou also of Galilee?

Search, and look; for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house”.

We have seen how the priests, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees harassed Jesus. They wanted to arrest Him and have him put to death, but they could do nothing to Him, because the time which God planned for Jesus to die as a sacrifice for sin

had not yet come.

Sadly, most of the Jewish religious leaders had hard hearts. They despised Jesus and they threatened to expel from the synagogue anyone who confessed that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus there was a division among the crowd because of Jesus. No one would say anything openly about Jesus because they were afraid of the religious leaders and the priests. Secretly, some whispered,

“He is a good man.”

Others said, “No, he deceives the people!” The rest wondered, “When the Messiah comes will He do more miraculous signs than this man?”

Friends, what do you say about Jesus?

What do you think about Him?

Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah of whom all the prophets have written? Or do you think that Jesus was just one of the prophets? Let no one mislead you in this matter. Your destiny in the hereafter depends on your response to this question! Do you know who Jesus really is?

Do you know why He came into the world?

Read what Jesus said about Himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me! . . . To this was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my word” (John 14:6; 18:37)

Dear friend, on whose side are you? Are you willing to side with the Truth – even if it means being rejected by your own family? The proverb says, “Whoever wants honey must not be afraid of the bees.”

In other words, Whoever wants to follow the Lord must be prepared to be misunderstood. The Lord Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth … for I am come to set man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me,

is not worthy of me;

and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:34-37)

In the next lesson, God willing, we will continue in the Gospel to see how Jesus healed a man who was blind from birth.

God bless you as you consider these words of Jesus the Messiah: 

“Everyone that is of the truth heareth my word” (John 18:37)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have