Tuesday, December 25, 2018


LUKE 17:11-19

Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

Susie: Throughout the book of Luke we have seen Jesus progressing toward Jerusalem. He traveled there and then back to Galilee, but now He is at the point of making the final trek to fulfill the purpose of His incarnation—to die for us on the cross in Jerusalem.

Luke 9:51 As the day of His ascension approached, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

Susan: This final journey led Him near His home region of Galilee (Nazareth was in Galilee) and the area known as Samaria. You may recall that Samaritans were despised by the Jews as half-breeds who had intermarried with Gentiles and did not worship at the temple in Jerusalem. In fact, they had blended pagan customs with Judaism. Jews would often travel out of their way to avoid passing through Samaria.

Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

Leviticus 13:45 (Berean Study Bible) The diseased person must wear torn clothes and let his hair hang loose, and he must cover his mouth and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'

Susie: The entire chapter of Leviticus 13 describes the various skin diseases that were considered “leprosy” and how the priests were to deal with those infected. These do not seem to necessarily be what we now call Hansen’s Disease because the people were not crippled by the loss of fingers, toes, etc. They were not like the pictures we see of lepers from third world countries who have suffered the loss of digits or even limbs. These lepers were able to walk about.

Susan: According to the descriptions in Leviticus 13, before I had my diseased legs amputated, I would have been declared an unclean leper in Biblical times! Removing my legs to just above the knee was life-altering, but it was also life-saving. I thank the Lord for the courage He gave me to make that decision.

Luke 17:13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

Susan: These lepers addressed Jesus as “Master.” Luke uses the Greek equivalent of the Jewish “Rabbi” in this instance.

Susie: They were acknowledging Jesus as a great teacher but not necessarily as Messiah. However, they did trust in His ability to heal them.

Luke 17:14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Susie: Jesus did not, as He had on a previous occasion (Matthew 8:2-3), touch and heal them on the spot. Instead He commanded them to show themselves to the priest in order to be declared clean.

Susan: As the ten lepers were obedient to Jesus by walking to show themselves to the priest, their leprosy disappeared. The requirement was to do what Jesus had instructed.

Susie: All ten demonstrated a measure of faith by walking away still leprous. The healing did not occur until they began the journey to the priest.

Susan: The desired healing did not take place until they moved forward by faith.

Luke 17:15-16 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Susan: The one man who returned glorified God and fell in grateful worship at Jesus’s feet. I believe in this act, he was declaring his trust in Jesus as Messiah, as God.

Susie: The presumption is that the other nine lepers were Jews who sadly were too focused on being declared “clean” by the priest to take the time to return and give thanks. It seems they were in a hurry to get back to a normal social life.

Luke 17:17-18 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

Susan: Jesus must have been saddened that nine of His own countrymen did not take time to return and thank Him.

Susie: Only the Samaritan who was viewed as having the same status as a Gentile unbeliever returned. Jesus asks rhetorically, “. . . but where are the other nine?” Then He turns His attention to the Samaritan man who is now healed of his leprosy.

Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Susan: The leper who turned back to give praise to God and to worship at Jesus’s feet received not only physical healing but was made whole in every way. He received salvation from sin and familyship with Jesus for eternity.

Susie: The wording for “made thee whole” is the word of “saved” or “delivered” (see Strong’s Greek 4982). All ten had a belief that Jesus had the power to heal their leprosy. However, the Samaritan by returning and worshiping at Jesus’s feet demonstrated that his trust went further, to see Jesus as Savior. I believe we will meet this man when we leave this world to be with the Lord.

Susan: The Samaritan went “all-in” and received the treasure of the healing of his heart as well as his earth-suit.

Ponder this and Apply it: It is possible to be healed outwardly without being saved. In other words, it is possible to believe God for temporary things without completely throwing oneself to His mercy for salvation from sin, surrendering one’s entire being to Him as Lord. When one realizes the depth of Jesus’s love demonstrated by sacrificing His life for us on the cross, dying in our place, the response is to fall at His feet in thanksgiving and praise. If you have not experienced this deliverance from sin and the adoption into God’s forever family, surrender your life to Him today. If you have any questions about how to be saved, please contact us through our website: www.preciousjewelsministries.org

Sunday, December 16, 2018


LUKE 17:7-10

Luke 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

Susan: Let’s take a look at the word translated “servant”:

Strong’s 1401 doúlos (a masculine noun of uncertain derivation) – properly, someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos ("bond-slave") is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ's authority as His devoted followers.

Susie: The servant pictured here is a slave who is owned by the master. Some will argue that Jesus told the twelve:

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Susie: However, we must take that statement in context by looking at the verse before it:

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Susan: We must remember that the Apostle Paul often referred to himself as Jesus’s “doulos” or “slave”:

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. . .

Susie: When we surrender our lives to Christ, we are giving up our right to ourselves. Jesus is our master. We are owned by Him, but He gives us the privilege of calling Him “friend.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Susan: In this parable, the hard-working servant does not receive preferential treatment. The obvious answer to Jesus’s question is that he would not be allowed to eat before his master. Jesus was the prime example of servanthood even though He is our Master:

Matthew 20:27-28 . . .and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Luke 17:8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

Susie: The servant comes in from his outdoor work and continues his duties by cleaning up and serving a meal to his master before taking care of his own needs.

Susan: He or she walks in from a hard day’s work and picks up his or her work inside the home. After their owner has been served, they may dine. They probably did not even eat at the dining table but rather in the kitchen.

Susie: There is a point we must remember. As a slave, this person owned nothing. Everything he needed was provided by the master. He had to wait for his dinner, but that dinner was his to eat because his master took care of his needs. Room and board were his wages for doing his job.

Luke 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

Susie: The master does not heap praise on this servant for doing what is expected of him. It can be compared to a soldier. If he merely does what he is commanded to do, he receives no pat on the back, no medals. Those rewards are reserved for the one who goes over and above what is expected. Every soldier receives his provisions and his pay, but only those who serve wholeheartedly and sacrificially are rewarded more than that.

Luke 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Strong's Greek 888: Unprofitable, useless, unworthy. Useless, i.e. unmeritorious.

Susie: Our obedience to our Lord, our Master, is no reason to boast. We are simply doing our duty toward the One who gave His life for us and who provides for all our needs. The Apostle Paul understood this well. After lining out his pedigree of righteousness, he stated:

Philippians 3:7-9 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Susie: Even after Paul had started many churches and was a “successful” preacher of the word of God, his boast was in Jesus and not himself.

Galatians 6:14 (NASB) But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Susan: One might ask about the master saying, “well done”. Our master, Jesus, does bless us in return for our obedience, and we hope to hear “well done.” However, note what He calls the person who has done well:

Matthew 25:21a His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:

Susan: We are servants to the kindest of masters who blesses us. We are sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd who provides for us plenteously. We are children of Father God who loves us unconditionally. In none of this may we boast because these statements are true because of God’s grace and not our merit.

Ephesians 2:8-9 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.

Susie: Our good works, our service, does not win our favor with God. In fact, it is His grace that empowers us to serve Him faithfully and to do good things. He designed us to do good works and enables us to do them.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

Susan: If we boast at all, it can only be boasting in what the Lord has done through us because of our relationship with Jesus. All that we are, all that we do, and all that we have is found “in Him”.

Ponder this and apply it: God did not choose us because we were worthy. Rather He has made us worthy by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. All that is good in us is because we are in Christ. Look up some of the following scriptures or do your own search for scripture verses containing the words “in Christ” or “in Him.” (1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 1:19-20, Philippians 3:9).

Monday, December 10, 2018


LUKE 17:1-6
(see also Matthew 18)

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Susan: “Offences” in this context does not refer to saying something unkind or slanderous about a person. It is the idea of putting a temptation in their way—i.e. offering a drink to an alcoholic—causing them to stumble. These offences are one person being the cause of another straying from the right direction. Do not be an “enabler”.

Susie: Jesus indicated that it is inevitable that people will cause (willingly or unintentionally) others to stumble; but cautions that we should avoid being that person that tempts others. Paul reinforces this same idea in his letter to the Romans:

Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Susie: A millstone was a large stone that had to be turned by a donkey in order to grind a large amount of grain. Tying a large stone to someone and casting them into a body of water to drown was an execution method used by the Gentiles and, therefore, despised by the Jews. Jesus was saying it would be better to be dead than to cause one of His little ones to stumble. But who are these “little ones”?

Susan: In the Matthew passage, Jesus had just stood a child in front of them and told them they must trust in Him as a child trusts—believing with conviction and without any doubt. “Little ones” are those who believe in the Lord in this manner, those who are His children, true believers.

Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

Susan: If someone sins against us, hurts us physically or emotionally in any way, we should go to that person immediately rather than letting feelings fester. This is what I call “carefrontation”. This is confronting them in love because I care in order to nip the problem in the bud, give them an opportunity to apologize and me an opportunity to forgive them. Even if they don’t repent, it is on me to forgive and let Jesus deal with them.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Susie: To rebuke someone is not to just make them aware that they have hurt you, but to do so with healing the relationship in mind.

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Susie: The number seven was not intended to limit the number of times a person was to be forgiven. Rather it was to indicate a continual attitude of forgiveness when one responds with repentance each time. Keep in mind that we are to forgive freely as we have been forgiven. However, this does not mean that we put ourselves in the place of continuing to be hurt by someone who has no regret. We can forgive that person but avoid them until they demonstrate a truly changed life.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Susan: The disciples are saying, “Lord, if this is a requirement, we will need some fortification of our faith in order to withstand the onslaught of temptations that messy people are going to put before us.”

Susie: They realized, as should we, that humanly we are incapable of forgiving to this extent. It must be a work of the Holy Spirit within us as a result of our trust in the Lord.

Susan: We must have divine fortification in order to live as Jesus would have us live.

Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Susan: What is a sycamine tree? I thought this was a misspelling of sycamore, but it is not. Here is an excerpt from an interesting article on this passage:

The sycamine tree was known to have one of the deepest root structures of all trees in the Middle East. It was a vigorous and robust tree that grew to a height of thirty feet or more. Because its roots went down so deep into the earth, it was very difficult to kill.

Susie: It is not the size or the amount of faith that matters in our lives. It is in Whom that faith is placed. Even the tiniest amount of faith in Jesus—here represented by the tiny mustard seed—can accomplish mighty things. The point isn’t about relocating the landscaping but that we can see the Lord work miraculously when we place our trust in Him.

Ponder this an apply it: Forgiveness of a repeat offender is difficult, but with the Lord all things are possible. It is in and through Jesus that true forgiveness is possible as we recall how He has forgiven us. As believers we must tap into the Holy Spirit within us in order to live a life of obedience to the Lord. Having a rough time forgiving someone? Ask the Lord to infuse you with His strength to do so. Forgiveness is choice not rooted in feeling but in trusting the Lord to make things right.

Monday, December 3, 2018


LUKE 16:19-31

Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

Susie: Purple and fine linen were expensive materials worn by the very rich or royalty. Purple dye was made from the purple muscle which made it costlier than dyes created from local plants.

Susan: This rich man indulged in fine dining daily but did not share generously with those in need. Remember, there were Pharisees in Jesus’s audience, many of whom were like this man. He was self-absorbed and self-indulgent.

Luke 16:20-21 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Susie: There was a beggar who laid just outside the rich man’s gate hoping only for crumbs of leftovers. He had no expectation of being invited to share in the rich man’s feasts.

Susan: I find it interesting that this poor man was named Lazarus which means “God will help.”

Susie: Note that the rich man in this story is not named at all. Although he thought himself a man of much importance in this world and wrapped himself in worldly pleasures, his only significance to the kingdom of God is to demonstrate how NOT to live.

Susan: Lazarus was covered with sores, was literally “ulcerous”. I can relate to that because necrotic ulcers from my toes to just below my knees resulted in the amputation of both of my legs above the knee. So, I know from experience that Lazarus was in dire pain.

Susie: Not only was Lazarus lying there helpless just waiting for bits of food to be tossed out by the rich man’s servants, but he had to compete for those morsels with mongrel dogs who licked his open sores. His position was one of utter despair, but his name and his ultimate destination imply that he held out hope in God.

Susan: Lazarus, because he had sores and undomesticated dogs licked them, would have been “unclean” as far as the Pharisees were concerned. They would have seen his circumstances as “proof” that he was cursed by God, not in the Lord’s favor at all. But, as we will see in the next verse, any who were of this opinion of the poor beggar were completely wrong! Reality was that many of the Pharisees were the ones who were despised by God because they were completely devoid of relationship with Him. They trusted in ritual rather than in the grace of the true God.

Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

Susie: Both men died, but their ultimate ends were drastically different. Lazarus was carried by angels, special delivery, to “Abraham’s bosom”. We will quote John MacArthur’s explanation of this term:

MacArthur Study Bible note:

16:22 Abraham’s bosom. This same expression (found only here in Scripture) was used in the Talmud as a figure for heaven. The idea was that Lazarus was given a place of high honor, reclining next to Abraham at the heavenly banquet.

Susan: Abraham was the physical forefather of the Jews and more importantly the father of all who have true faith in God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Lazarus was not only in Paradise but in a place of honor.

Susie: There were no angels associated with the rich man’s demise. Instead, his body was buried in a tomb and he awoke in Hades, the final destination for those who never put their trust in the Lord.

Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Susie: Jesus does not picture the rich man in some type of holding pattern such as purgatory or simply devoid of life. He paints a picture of him being tormented night and day by flames that burn but never consume him.

Susan: He suffered the ultimate torment of being separated from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and completely distanced from anything good or pleasant. It was utter anguish to see Lazarus enjoying the paradise he could have experienced had he trusted and followed God.

Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Susan: He had the nerve to address Abraham as “Father” when his only relationship to him was as a distant descendant.

Susie: Note that this rich man, already suffering the consequences of his life spent on self rather than serving the Lord God, still views Lazarus as beneath him like a servant. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus to be his personal water-boy!

Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Susan: The rich man’s sin was self-aggrandizement and self-indulgence. He was of no service to God and, therefore, of no service to his community. Abraham tells him to remember, to reflect on his life.

Susie: While he indulged in all that the money that he worshipped could buy, Lazarus lay at his gate dying in excruciating pain. The rich man took no notice of Lazarus until after they were both dead, one in heaven and the other in hell.

Susan: The rich man had chosen to indulge only in worldly comforts rather than building for himself treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Therefore, he had chosen to receive all the good he would get while living on this earth, thereby forfeiting any heavenly reward.

Susie: Lazarus, on the other hand, represents one who is Abraham’s son not only by birth but by faith in the living God, the God who helps. Evil things were done to him but he chose to hope in the Lord despite his lowly circumstances. Now he was experiencing the joy reserved for those who trust in the Lord.

Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Susan: Abraham explains that your eternal home is determined before you die based on your choice to trust God or to rebel against or even ignore Him. Just as Joshua informed the Israelites, we all must choose between God and any other thing that would try to take His place (Joshua 24:15).

Susie: Once you have left your earthly body, there is no turning back, no “do-over.” You are permanently stuck in the place of torment or forever enjoying the presence of the Lord. You can’t go back and forth between the two.

Susan: Your destination is based on how you respond to the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Once you pass from your earth-suit, your place of residence is sealed for eternity.

Luke 16:27-28 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Susan: The rich man still sees Lazarus as his errand boy. He is projecting all these jobs on Lazarus when he has no authority over him.

Susie: He wants Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to testify to his brothers. At least he has found some concern for someone other than himself, but it is too little and too late.

Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Susan: Abraham says they have the testimony of the Scripture, the word of God, given through the prophets. God has provided all they need to believe and follow God.

2 Peter 1:3-4  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

Susie: The rich man argues that they would be more likely to believe the testimony of someone who had been raised from the dead. He had access to the Scripture and probably even took sacrifices to the Temple yet had not believed or lived as God instructed in His word. Therefore, he assumed his brothers would ignore the word of God as well.

Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Susan: Abraham asserts that if they do not listen to and adhere to scripture, they would not believe even someone raised from the dead. Scripture is God’s highest and best presentation of Himself other than God incarnate, the Lord Jesus.

Susie: The Lord Jesus DID return from the grave on the third day as prophesied and many Pharisees and others spent their time trying to refute this fact rather than putting their trust in Jesus, the embodiment and fulfillment of the words of Moses and the Prophets.

Ponder this and apply it: This message was aimed at those religious leaders of the day who wallowed in self-indulgence while heaping rules and traditions on others. They made showy prayers and stole from widows (Matthew 23:14). Jesus is not condemning wealth but the worship of and dependence upon money rather than the Lord. Wealth is fleeting and can be taken away at any time, but as the name Lazarus reminds us “God will help.” In whom or what are you trusting for security both on earth and in the life to come? If you are depending on anything or anyone besides the Lord Jesus Christ, you are living in quick-sand.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018



We have a couple of challenges to our schedule this next month. First, we are trying to put together a year-long devotional book to be published by December. Second, we are moving to a new apartment, an opportunity we could not pass up because it is completely power-chair accessible. Praise the Lord!  However, this means we will have limited time to post to our blogs. Our plan is to put a “Thanksgiving” devotion post up each Thursday in November on https://susiesmusings-ksh.blogspot.com/ and resume posting on the other two blogs in December. We appreciate your prayers as we take this brief break from blogging to take care of other necessary business!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


LUKE 16:14-18

Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

Susie: In the last lesson we saw that money itself is amoral, neither good nor bad. The scripture says the LOVE of money is the problem (1 Timothy 6:10). Let’s look at our current verse in a new translation we enjoy found at https://biblehub.com:

Luke 16:14 (Berean Literal Bible) Now the Pharisees, being lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were ridiculing Him.

Susan: The Pharisees loved money, which means they did not give God the higher place He deserves. They were attempting to serve two masters. They were satisfied straddling the fence.

Susie: Obviously, that is a position that cannot be maintained. As Jesus taught in the previous lesson, it is impossible to completely serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Susan: Jesus being all-knowing called the Pharisees out on their self-righteousness. Everything they did was to keep up outward appearances. It was not for the sake of God and His kingdom. Their good works were for their own elitist gain in the sight of the people.

Susie: Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees on numerous occasions. They made a big production of their giving to the poor rather than doing so quietly.

Matthew 6:2-4 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Susan: On the outside, the Pharisees looked well put together, more righteous than others; but on the inside their spirits were as black as coal.

Matthew 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Susie: The Pharisees made an outward show of following the minutia of the Law and the rabbis’ traditions (Matthew 23:23) but inwardly they did not follow the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). However, God sees beyond the outside and looks within.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Susan: I am thankful the Lord does not judge me by my earth-suit but sees the righteousness of Christ covering me. I am humbled to have the awesome privilege to serve God in whatever way He chooses to use me.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Susie: John the Baptist ushered in the preaching of the Gospel and was the first to present Jesus as the Messiah, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29).

Susan: I love John’s name for Jesus: The Lamb of God. Twila Paris has a beautiful song about Him:

Susan: The Pharisees totally missed the point that Jesus fulfilled the Law. They were indeed lead heads or osmium heads (denser than lead). However, the people the Pharisees gave the label sinners—the tax collectors, the harlots, the Samaritans—were “pressing” into the Gospel. The common people clamored, jockeyed for position in a crowd, to be the nearest to Jesus and possibly even be able to touch Him. The picture is like people fighting their way into a colosseum to see the Beetles or Elvis. Oops, showing my age. Perhaps they crowd in to see Taylor Swift today.

Susie: While the self-righteous Pharisees missed the boat, the humble sinners were welcomed aboard.

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Susie: As I stated before, Jesus did not want them to think that the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith did away with the Law. When we place our trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit writes God’s law on our hearts and enables us to obey Him out of love and not for outward show or in trying to earn His love. God loves us first. Then He enables us to love and obey Him.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Susie: As an example of the fact that the moral excellence of the Law had not passed away, Jesus taught on divorce. This was a law the Pharisees liked to bend, saying a man could divorce his wife for any reason.

Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Susan: Jesus came to give explanation, greater understanding, and application of the Law rather than to abolish it.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Susie: The Pharisees were so busy trying to look good to others, that they missed the total point that the Law and Prophets pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. They were blinded by their own self-righteousness to the point that most of them missed the Redeemer, the truly Righteous One.

Susan: They were blinded by their own hypocrisy.

Ponder this and Apply it: God sees the motives behind our actions in a way that no human being can. We need to examine ourselves, perform a heart-check, periodically to be sure we are not just putting on a show for others but are serving God with all we have and all we are from a pure heart of love for Him.