March 22nd Blessedness
27: And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28: But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
They seek a sign
29: And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. 30: For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31: The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32: The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The light of the body
33: No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34: The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35: Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36: If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Objection – Washing before food
37: And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38: And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. 39: And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40: Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? 41: But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. 42: But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 43: Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. 44: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. 45: Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. 46: And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47: Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48: Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49: Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51: From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. 52: Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. 53: And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: 54: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
This dear woman was giving a common blessing yet Christ was careful to divert the attention away from his mother to the company of those who hear the word of God and keep it. This is the best description of the OT saints. They hear Gods Word and they obey the Word. NT saints are blessed because they hear the word of God and believe it. Christ was of course speaking generally of the Jews living in that day when he said ‘This is an evil generation’. What was evil about them? It was their refusal to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. They rejected his Messianic signs and then have the cheek to ask for a sign. Christ says you will have no more signs except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. This is the Messianic sign of Resurrection. This was the chief point in the preaching of the Apostles in Acts and it is an important aspect of a Jews conversion. The Nation led by the Jewish leaders rejected, crucified and denied Christ’s resurrection therefore Paul says of the Jews. Rom 10v9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. This is a reversal of the Jewish national position a denial of Jesus as the Messiah and a denial of the Resurrection of Christ. Its interesting that Christ mentions Jonah. He was the Prophet of Israel to Gentile Assyria. The Queen of the South was an African Queen and The Men of Nineveh were of the very worst sort of men of antiquity. All these people will be raised from the dead to stand as witnesses against this generation. Why is that? Because they never had the privilege of hearing to very words of Christ. Christ then goes on to explain how the light of Christ has shone out but those who claim to see refuse the light and their unbelief is very great darkness. Christ was invited to dine with a Pharisee and he was very surprised that Christ sat down without following the custom of the Jews in ceremonial washings. Christ explained that its not outward soil that makes a man unclean in Gods sight but what comes out of his mind that makes him unclean in Gods sight. Then Christ pronounces Woes on the Religious leaders. The first is triviality. They focus on the non essentials. The second is pride. They focus on being seen of men. The third is hypocrisy. They focus of external show without the inner reality. They are like whitewashed tombs bright and glorious in the sunshine yet within they are full of corruption and uncleanness. Then Christ directed his woe toward the Law makers. He said you burden men with burdens but do not help men in the burdensome lives. Then he returned to the subject of tombs He says you build the tombs of the prophets yet your fathers murdered them. God in his wisdom was sending the Apostles to be killed so that the judgment of God might fall on this generation. It seems that all the apostles were murdered apart from John perhaps. The blood of all witnesses to the truth will be required of this generation from Abel to Zacharias. Then Christ says Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: It seems that the key of knowledge is the acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah, symbolised in the Messianic Signs. They have not accepted Jesus as Messiah or accepted the signs and they hinder those who are wishing to accept him.