“Many thousands” of people were following Jesus, but it was His closest disciples who first learned about “the leaven of the Pharisees” which was “hypocrisy.” The Savior was showing His friends how to live an honest life in the fear and love of the Almighty. They could not serve God and deny the chosen “Son of Man” in order to win the approval of those who would soon be persecuting the church.
The Lord also warned everyone about “covetousness.” The Christian ethic would never support “anxious” cares about daily existence that might seem so normal to the people of the earth. The Messiah’s promise for all who would hear: “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Jesus did not deny the dangers that His ambassadors and worshipers would face. Despite very fearsome opposition, they all were to “stay dressed for action” and to keep their “lamps burning.” Those who would have positions of servant leadership were told to feed the flock with the truth of the Word, and thus “give them their portion of food at the proper time.”
The greatest encouragement for faithful ministry would come from the singular Shepherd of the sheep Himself. The suffering of the cross was clearly in front of Him. “I have a great baptism to be baptized with, and how great is My distress until it is accomplished!” If they were imagining that their lives would be without criticism and trial, they were not paying enough attention to His warnings. “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
It was time for everyone to be reconciled to God through the only Redeemer of mankind. They all needed to give their lives to Jehovah as loyal soldiers of the King who would soon be crucified.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, we come to You through Your Son together with multitudes all over the earth. We earnestly seek that kingdom above where we will be with Jesus and His church. What will it be like to be with You there? Fill us with Your Spirit even now, so that we will not grieve our Savior or blaspheme against Him. We require His great work in our lives continuously. Father, keep us from being foolishly dedicated to the goods of this world, for we want to be rich toward You. Forgive us for our anxious behavior regarding our possessions. We lift up to You the poor, asking that You might use us to provide everything necessary for our brothers and sisters in need. How can we be an answer to prayer for someone else right now? Teach us to be ready for the return of our King. Help us to know Your will, and then to act in agreement with Your commandments. Immanuel was fully willing to give His life for us. He was eager to pay the price for our redemption. We thank You for His love. May we live in a sensible way in light of such grace, fulfilling our destiny in accord with Your precepts.