“Master, Thus Saying Thou Reproachest us Also” – Lee Moses

Lee Moses

The Lord has certainly never been a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). Upon one occasion, Jesus Christ accepted an invitation to dine with a Pharisee, a highly respected member of the community (Luke 11:37; compare with Acts 5:34). But upon reclining to dine, being aware of the false doctrine held by this Pharisee, Christ presented a caustic rebuke of the man’s sect (Luke 11:39-44). There was also a lawyer present at the occasion; and the lawyers, holding the responsibility of interpreting, teaching, and making decisions based on the Law of Moses, were closely associated with the Pharisees. As such, the lawyer took offense at Christ’s rebuke of the Pharisees, and responded,
“Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also” (v. 45).

The lawyer demonstrated a certain amount of perceptiveness in this observation. Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees for specific charges, including hypocrisy, misplaced priorities, self-exaltation, and causing others to stumble. But though the charges were fairly specific, the application was not limited to those to whom the charges were specifically made—The application was to any and all who were guilty of those charges.

God has provided mankind with the Bible. Contrary to the assertions of some, the Bible is a book that is relevant, necessary, and applicable to each man and woman who has lived or is yet living today. Some people read the epistles of Paul and assume that the instructions therein apply only to the churches or individuals to whom they were directly addressed. However, neither Paul nor the Holy Spirit who inspired him intended that his instructions be limited to the churches to whom they were directly addressed. God commanded that the epistles were to be circulated among the different churches: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (Col. 4:16). Paul taught the same doctrine “every where in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). So all the churches were bound by the instructions given to other churches. This is yet true of the church today. The church is built upon the foundation of the doctrine taught by the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-20; 1 Tim. 3:14-15). Does it not then follow that all who seek to be a part of the church of Christ, the body of the saved (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23; 1:22-23), must be built upon the doctrine that includes Paul’s epistles? (1 Cor. 3:10-11; 1 Pet.2:5).

Some read the seven letters to the churches of Asia (Rev. 2-3) and see that very specific problems were being addressed. Thus some might once again conclude that the application of these letters is limited to those churches. But note that each letter concludes with the admonition, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Do you have an ear? That is, do you have the capacity to hear or read these things Divinely revealed to the seven churches of Asia, and to understand them? Then you are commanded to hear them. And this hearing is not limited to perceiving what someone else’s problem is. The beatitudes are pronounced regarding the book of Revelation, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein”; and, “Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (1:3; 22:7; emphases added). When anyone hears the word of God, he also has the responsibility of applying that word to himself. James warned,

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (Jas. 1:22-25).

Jesus spoke of the secure salvation of “whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them [continue to come, hear, and do, LM]” (Luke 6:47-48). “Whosoever” means anyone in anyplace and anytime. But one who does not hear and do Jesus’ sayings cannot have the solid rock of salvation as his foundation (v. 49). Jesus’ “sayings” obviously includes His teaching done while on earth (Matthew-John), but it also includes His teaching done through His apostles and the few other Divinely-inspired writers (John 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:16). It is each person’s responsibility to hear, apply, and obey the New Testament. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). From the time His word was given until the last day the earth shall stand, His word is the one unchanging standard to which all men and women must conform their lives. Even in the Old Testament can lessons be found that need to be applied today (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6, 11).

Can one not look at the letters written to first century churches, and see that the same issues need to be addressed today? The spectre of denominationalism, which hangs over the religious world today, was addressed by Paul (1 Cor. 1:10-13; 3:3-4). As homosexuals today attempt to thrust their agenda upon this country’s population, the Scriptures remain that address this subject (Rom. 1:26-27, 32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Although materialism continues to claim souls, this was a problem Christ addressed in the first century (Rev. 3:16-18). As television and other media sources attempt to bombard our senses with sensual images, the Christian’s defense is found in the New Testament (Eph. 6:11-17; Philp. 4:8). And the greatest problem that has ever beset mankind still exists today—how one can be saved from his sins. The answer is to be found only in the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16; 6:16-18).

Many rebukes are found in the New Testament. Although they may be directly ad-dressed to other churches or individuals, one must examine his own life as he reads the Scriptures. The word of God is intended to prick the heart of each man and woman that he might correct that which is amiss in his life (Psalm 119:59-60; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:3-4). As Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for several sins of which they were guilty, the lawyer saw that he was guilty of the same sins, and thus stood rebuked as well. In this sense, the lawyer demonstrated a perceptiveness which it would serve us well to emulate.

But while the lawyer in a sense demonstrated his perceptiveness, he in another sense
demonstrated his naïveté and ignorance by attempting to correct Jesus: “Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also” (Luke 10:45). The lawyer perhaps expected a retraction or apology from Jesus, but there was none forthcoming. Instead, Jesus rebuked the lawyers even more scathingly than He did the Pharisees (vv. 46-52). Each man or woman living today needs to be perceptive enough to realize when a Biblical rebuke applies to him. However, he must not be so naïve as to think that the Lord will change His mind with regard to applying either the application or the punishment to anyone.

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you (1 Pet. 1:24-25).

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Author: Editor

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