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THE SHAMELESS PRAYER
Luke 11:5-11. “ And He said unto them, Which one of you shall have a friend, and he shall come to you at midnight, and say to thee, Friend, lend me three loaves, since my friend has come to me on a journey, and I have nothing which I may place before him; and he within, responding, may say, Give me no trouble; the door is already shut, and my children are in bed with me; I am not able, having risen up, to give unto you. I say unto you, If, having risen up, he will not give unto him because he is his friend, truly, on account of his shamelessness, having risen, he will give him as many as he needs.” You are a little surprised that this traveler does not stop for lodging till midnight. In Palestine and other Oriental countries, especially in the tropical and semitropical climates, it is customary to travel in the night, and lie up during the heat of the day. The English rendering, “ importunity,” is too weak. The Word used by the Savior is anaideia, from a, the strongest negative, and aideia, “shame.” Hence the straight, lexical definition of anaideia is “shamelessness;” so beautifully, naturally, and vividly illustrated by the man corning at midnight, when all are fast asleep, muscles relaxed and nerves unstrung, lying in their beds under the heavy grip of old Somnus. He knocks at the door till he awakens the father of the family, and tells him his business a friend stopped to lodge, hungry and weary, and he has nothing to give him to eat. Hence he appeals to him to loan him three loaves till he can replace them. The man is so tired, lazy, and sleepy that he peremptorily refuses, giving quite a train of excuses, doing his utmost to repulse the man, so he will go away and let him sleep, as rising will wake the babies, which will probably cry the balance of the night. The man persists, importunately pleading, getting worse and worse, till he passes the shame line, and becomes desperate, roaring like a lion, driving away all their sleep, jumping like a kangaroo, and banging at the door as if he would knock it down. Such is the attitude of the man that nothing can be said to him calculated to effect the slightest conciliatory influence. Having passed the boundary of shame, he is simply reckless and intolerable. They are bound to get rid of him or be annoyed all night, every wink of sleep driven away. There is absolutely but one way to rid themselves of the unbearable nuisance, and that is, to get up and give him the bread. Of course, the man does it; gets rid of the disturber, lies down, and enjoys ambrosial slumber the remnant of the night.
Now what is the meaning of this? Our Savior is a plain Preacher, and at the same time the most profound the world ever saw. This is His own illustration of prevailing prayer, whether for yourself or for others. You must reach the point of shamelessness i. e., get to where you care for nothing and nobody; but open your mouth, and plead as a guilty culprit for his life, or a woman for her child. In a ministry of forty-six years, I have seen this constantly verified. When mourners at the altar pass the limit of all shame, and get so they do their own praying, with wide-open mouths, regardless of the learned clergy, royalty, or nobility, something wonderful always happens. Sunbursts from heaven sweep down and light up the scene with superhuman glory; rivers from the heavenly ocean find their way down, and roll over the congregation in billows of love, grace, and glory; hardened sinners sweep triumphantly in, to life, old backsliders are gloriously reclaimed, weak believers powerfully sanctified, saints filled with the Holy Ghost, people on all sides speaking with new tongues, jubilant pilgrims leaping and shouting as if they would fly away to heaven, and the whole community shaken with a wonderful spiritual earthquake. Do not forget this shameless prayer. It is the heavenly fuse, that reaches and fires the celestial dynamite. It forever sweeps away all quibble about public prayer and testimony. As shame is the devil’s padlock, with which he locks up the mouth of saint and sinner, closing the draught; so, in the case of the former, the celestial fire will soon go out, and in the case of the latter, will never be able to kindle the heavenly flame in his heart, which alone can consume all sin. If you want a truly Pentecostal Church, you have nothing to do but lead the people beyond the limitude of Satan’s shame, so they will all throw their mouths open, and clamor aloud for just what they want. God and His salvation must have the pre-eminence, or hell is wide open and coming to meet us. From the inception of conviction to the altitudes of glorification, you will find it utterly impossible to serve God with reserves. He will have the whole heart or none. The tongue is the exponent of the heart, always going along with it. Hence, dumbness and cowardice are two of the devil’s adamantine chains, with which he binds his victims and drags them into the burning pit. O that Churches and preachers could only learn the secret of the shameless prayer, here specified by the Savior!
“ And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” Why is there so much asking and so little receiving? It is because they do not ask in a shameless prayer, caring neither for men nor devils, criticism nor persecution, but making their petition an absolute sine qua non. “ Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that seeketh, findeth; and he that asketh, receiveth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” God is absolutely infallible. The only reason why there is ever a defalcation is because the shameless prayer is delinquent. Half- hearted petitions never rise above your head. Good Lord, inspire that shameless prayer in your heart and mine!
YOUR FATHER WHO IS FROM HEAVEN
Luke 11:11-13. “ But which father of you, shall his son ask bread, whether will he give him a stone? Or indeed a fish, whether, instead of a fish, will he give him a serpent? Or if he may ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?” You see from the plain teaching of our Savior that God never gives anything useless nor injurious; e. g., a stone, an utterly worthless thing, as the hungry boy can not eat it; nor a serpent, nor a scorpion, which might bite him and kill him. The reason why so much prayer is not answered directly is because it would be detrimental to the recipient. Many good people pray for riches, which God sees would make them proud, worldly, and oblivious of Him; giving Satan the down-hill pull on them, to drag them, not only out of the kingdom, but down to perdition. Millions of people are now happy in heaven who would be in hell if their prayers for riches had been answered. Myriads will praise God through all eternity for His signal mercy in keeping them poor enough to escape the awful temptations of riches, and be humble enough to get to heaven. We should be like God, and never grant the petitions of our children for anything useless or injurious, as Satan’s temptations come thick and fast along those lines. If you permit your children to attend Satan’s fandangos, with their concomitant follies and vices, you simply, with your money, purchase for them a ticket over the Black Valley Railroad down to hell.
“ Therefore, if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father, who is from heaven, give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!” The Holy Spirit is not only the Omnipotent God, but He is the Executive of the Trinity. Consequently the Holy Spirit is but another name for “All Good Things.” When you have Him, you are a king and a priest in Zion, enjoying heaven in your heart. The contrast here between earthly parents, inheriting evil natures, and our blessed Heavenly Father is very forcible, giving us one of those a fortiori arguments so common in our Savior’s illustrative expositions of the unutterable love and unfathomable wisdom of our Heavenly Father. What is an a fortiori argument? It is, from a human standpoint, an argument in the superlative degree; e. g., if a bushel of apples is worth one dollar, how much more would a thousand bushels of apples compensate for the dollar! The E. V., in this wonderful passage, “Our Heavenly Father,” signally fails to bring out the full force of our Lord’s affirmation. So do not forget the translation of this passage which I literally give you, “How much more will your Father who is from heaven give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Now, see the beautiful and significant concatenation of our Savior’s argument confirmatory of real efficiency in prayer. That “shameless prayer,” the sine qua non of every victory at a throne of grace, actually brings your Heavenly Father down to you, so that He is convenient and ready to give you His Holy Spirit, victory over the devil, and a heavenly sunburst. The simplicity of Jesus is actually inimitable. Here, describing this efficient prayer, illustrative of the very form he has given us, He assures us of victory invariably attending that “shameless prayer,” and culminating in the gift of the Holy Ghost, by “our Father who is from heaven,” having come down in answer to that shameless prayer. Hence, you see the Divine presence is indispensable in all acceptable worship, and absolutely necessary to the blessings of salvation and sanctification and victory over the enemy. We must have the real, personal presence of God. There is but one way to succeed, and that is to pray Him down from heaven. Now do not forget that this “shameless prayer” is the only one that will bring Him down, making His presence our paradise, giving to all the Holy Ghost to impenitent infidels and demon-filled sinners in the capacity of a Convictor; to all brokenhearted penitents, a Regenerator; to weak believers, an Illuminator; to consecrated, believing Christians, a Sanctifier; and to all the sanctified, a Glorious Edifier.
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN (BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST)
Mark 3:20-30 ; Matthew 12:22-37 ; & Luke 11:14-23 . Mark: “And they come into the house; and again a multitude comes together, so that they are not able even to eat bread. And those who were along with Him came out to arrest Him; for they continued to say, That He is beside Himself.” Their common charge against Jesus was, that He is beside Himself; i.e., gone crazy, that He has run mad, and that He has a demon. Look out! If you walk in His footprints, do not be jostled if they speak of you in a similar manner. Matthew: “Then a demonized man, blind and dumb, was brought to Him, and He healed him, so that the blind and dumb spake and saw. And all the multitudes were astonished? and continued to say, Is not this the Son of David?” Mark: “The scribes, having come down from Jerusalem, were saying, He has Beelzebul, and that through the prince of the demons, He casteth out demons; and calling them to Him, He spake to them in parables, How is Satan able to cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, how is that kingdom able to stand? And if it is divided against itself, that house is not able to stand; and if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he is not able to stand, but has an end.” Beelzebub, E.V., is the name of a heathen god, but Beelzebul is simply another name for the devil, as it here occurs in the original. The scribes at Jerusalem had laid all their wits under contribution, and settled down on a theory which they thought would explain all the demoniacal ejectment which Jesus was doing in Galilee; i.e., that He had entered into a collusion with the devil, who is commander-in-chief of these evil spirits, to cast them out. They thought their theory would bear criticism, as, of course, Beelzebul, the prince of devils, had power over all these demons which Jesus was casting out. Do you not see the utter imperturbability of Jesus amid these vile, false accusations? He simply proceeds to answer their argument and expose their sophistry from a logical standpoint, showing up the utter untenability of their exegesis, as in that case, Satan would be divided against himself, and would destroy and utterly break down his own kingdom. Are there not endless division, discord, and disharmony in the kingdom of Satan? Of course there is, hell itself being the very pandemonium of conflict, rage, and all conceivable dissension, animosity, perturbation, variance, and torment. But the point in all this is, that Satan’s kingdom, both in earth and hell, is a single unit of evil, there being no admixture of good, but evil, with all its endless diversifications. And, pursuant to the Savior’s argument, if the kingdom of Satan had a mixture of good and evil, those elements, mutually antagonizing each other, would ultimate in the annihilation of his kingdom. There is no such a mixture in this world, as here we have the two kingdoms at war with each other, and destined, in the case of every individual, the one or the other, to triumph. Hence you will find the argument of our Savior in this case perfectly tenable from the standpoint of fact and logic. Matthew: “If I cast out demons through Beelzebul, through whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.” We see from this Scripture that the Jews were accustomed to cast out demons. How was that? Do you not know that the Jews, from the days of Abraham, were the chosen people of God? How do we cast out demons? We do it by invoking the mercy and power of God on them to cast out the demons and save their souls; e.g., when we gather around an altar of penitence. In a similar manner did the godly Hebrews cast out the demons by invoking the God of Israel. “And if, by the Spirit of God, I cast out demons, then has the kingdom of God come nigh unto you.” Well said; because none but God can cast out demons. The kingdom of God is the Divine government, in which His power and authority are exercised. Therefore, all of this demoniacal ejectment demonstrates the presence and power of God’s kingdom, involving the logical sequence that the King is present the very fact which they were so slow to apprehend. Luke: “When the strong man armed may keep his palace, his goods are in peace; but when the one stronger than he having come, may conquer him, he taketh away his panoply in which he trusted, and spoileth his goods. He who is not with Me, is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad.” This world is Satan’s palace, and he is the strong man. So long as he occupies his palace, his goods, which are human souls, are secure in his possession. Jesus is the Stronger Man, who is going to conquer the devil, when He comes in His glory, and take this world out of his hands; i.e., “spoil” it, which does not mean to destroy it; but this is a military phrase, and means to take it as spoils are captured and appropriated by a conquering army. So our Savior, the Stronger Man, in the great wars of Armageddon, is going to conquer Satan, the strong man, and take this world out of his hands; i.e., “spoil” all of his goods, leaving him bankrupt, and locked up in hell. (Revelation 20:3.) The Bible is unlike any other book in the wonderful copiousness of its meaning. While the above paragraph is thus expounded, it has another exegesis, equally true and pertinent. While Satan is the “strong man,” his palace is the human heart, and his panoply, in which he trusts, the evil habits into which he leads his miserable votaries. Jesus, the Stronger Man, conquers the devil in regeneration, taking away the evil habits of the converted soul, in which Satan trusted to hold him fast. Then Jesus goes on, sanctifies that soul, “spoiling” the devil of all his goods, as in sanctification He takes the soul completely out of the hands of the devil. We see here, in this last verse, that no one can stand neutral in this terrible conflict between the strong man and the Stronger Man, but every one is forced to take sides, either with Jesus or the devil, as neutrality in this case is downright conservatism to Satan and rebellion against God. Matthew: “Therefore, I say unto you, All sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto the people, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto the people. Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven unto him; but whosoever may speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in that which is to come.” While there is but one God, He is manifested in Three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, the latter being the Executive of the Trinity. While the personal Father sits upon the throne of the universe, administering the government of the boundless Celestial Empire, the Son incumbers the Mediatorial Throne at His Right Hand, administering the boundless resources of redeeming grace to all the people in this world, and even the earth itself. Both the Father and the Son send forth the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Trinity, into this world, to shed light on every human being, convict every sinner, convert every mourner, sanctify every believer, and glorify every disembodied saint, and thus prepare this whole world for heaven. He is the Successor of our ascended and glorified Savior in the execution of the redemptive scheme on the earth. (John 16:7.) Hence you see that the Holy Ghost is the Divine Person of the Trinity who deals with human souls, administering the love of the Father and the grace of the Son, saving and sanctifying all who will let Him. There is a great eleemosynary institution for the relief of all beggars, administered by three officers, A., B., and C. A. has his office in London, England; B., in New York, America; and C., is present on the spot with every dying beggar, and ready to dispense the needed alms. Now you see these poor victims of decrepitude and misery must receive the benefits of this philanthropic institution at C.’s hands, as they can never reach A. at London or B. at New York. Here is the dying sinner. The Holy Ghost is with him in his dismal hovel or his gilded palace, ready to dispense to him the infinite benefactions of the loving Father and the dying Son. Suppose he unfortunately reject or grieve Him away, he is at the end of his resources, and must eternally perish. If he will receive the Holy Ghost in conviction, regeneration, and sanctification, He will administer to him all the blessings of the Father and the Son. Blasphemy means contempt. Therefore the ultimate neglect and contemptuous rejection of the Holy Ghost, consummates the sin against Him, which is unpardonable, either in the present age or in that which is to come; i.e., millennial age. Though some very stoutly deny the succession of the gospel age by another, we must remember that the Word of the Lord is the end of all controversy.
Not only this passage, but Hebrews 6:5, and others, speak positively of the coming age. You now see clearly in what the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is unpardonable, consists. It is clearly revealed and expounded by the Savior in this chapter. It is the imputation of the miracles wrought by the Savior, through the Holy Ghost, to Beelzebul; i.e., the devil. In this way the scribes and Pharisees, and others who followed their influence, committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. A simple analysis of this problem will thoroughly elucidate it. If you impute the work of the Holy Ghost to the devil, your doom is sealed, as it is impossible to convince you. Suppose God literally inundates you with evidence, He must give it all by His Spirit, and you will turn it over to the devil as fast as it comes, and see nothing but the devil in it all. Consequently, you are unconvincible. In this way the antediluvian world was ruined, having sunk so deep in the black darkness of sin, they imputed all the efforts of the Holy Ghost to convict and save them to Satanic influence, thus crossing the dead-line and rejecting God. In a similar manner the Jews, as we see here, imputed the miracles of Jesus to the devil, thus committing the unpardonable sin, rejecting the Son, and sealing their hopeless doom, to the awful destruction which soon overtook them in the Roman wars, as the antediluvians had been destroyed by the flood. In a similar manner the present age is fast rejecting the Holy Ghost, and ripening for the great tribulation, which, to illuminated minds, is already heaving in view, while the wonderful fulfillment of the latter-day prophecies draweth nigh. While the fallen Churches of the present age are fast rejecting the Holy Ghost, pronouncing His work fanaticism, and thus imputing it to the devil, whose trend is the unpardonable sin, the world, with wonderful expedition, is plunging into the same yawning abyss, down Satan’s greased plank of infidelity, which is wonderfully and fearfully on the increase, both in Christendom and heathendom. God, in His mercy, waited on the antediluvians to repent till the last hope had fled. He did the same for the Jews. A similar destruction is on the track of the God- rejecting Gentile world (Romans 11:21), though, I trow, God, in His unutterable mercy, as in former dispensations, will wait till they cross the deadline, the Churches rejecting the Holy Ghost and the world espousing infidelity, and thus all putting themselves beyond the reach of redeeming mercy, and sealing their doom in hell. “Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good; make the tree corrupt, and the fruit will be corrupt; for a tree is known by its fruits.” There is no good in this fallen world; it all comes from heaven; therefore when the Holy Ghost is rejected, nothing but corruption is left.
“O ye generation of vipers, how are you, being evil, able to speak good things? Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” How awfully plain this preaching, calling His intellectual auditors “generation of vipers!” Do not forget that He is especially addressing the preachers and official members; i.e., the scribes and Pharisees. Does not history repeat itself? Shall we be so blind as to leave this with a congregation 1,870 years ago? God forbid! Let us take it home, wake up, and profit by this awful truth. “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth evil things.” How awful the state of the Jewish Church! The leading preachers and laymen in the hands of the devil! “I say unto you, That every idle word which the people may speak, they shall give an account for the same in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou mayest be justified, and by thy words thou mayest be condemned.” Language is the exponent of the heart. God has put us here on probation, trying and testing us for vast eternity. “Idle” is argon, from ergon, “work,” and is the strongest negative in the Greek language when preceding a word. Hence it means the very absence of all work. God has put us here to work in His vineyard. Hence we have no time to lose. Idle words mean idle minds and bodies, which are condemnatory in the sight of God. O the momentous issues which hang on our words, the exponents of both soul and body! When we are idle, the devil always finds an open door. We see here, in the contingent tense, it is our prerogative to so speak as to determine our justification or condemnation before the judgment-seat of Christ.
THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES SEEK A SIGN FROM HEAVEN
Matthew 12:38-45 ; Luke 11:16-36 . “Then certain ones of the scribes and Pharisees responded, saying, Master, we wish to see a sign from Thee. And responding, He said to them, A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and no sign shall be given unto it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was in the stomach of the whale three days and three nights, so the Son of man shall he in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” The scribes and Pharisees were not satisfied with His numerous and stupendous miracles of healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead, but ‘they demanded a sign directly down to the earth, like the falling of the manna in the wilderness. Do you not see how the Infallible Teacher calls those preachers and Church leaders, “A wicked and adulterous generation?” Lord, save us from the same condemnation! Here He says that He will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. This does not mean the tomb, which was not in the heart of the earth, but on the surface. Remember, the soul is the man, and not the body. When our Savior expired on the cross, His human soul, evacuating His body, went into Hades (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:27-31), proclaiming His victory in hell, and entering the intermediate paradise, meeting the thief (Luke 23:43), and on the third morn leading up the Old Testament saints (Ephesians 4:8-10), entering the tomb, and receiving His risen body. Some are disposed to be a little critical because the body of Jesus was not in the tomb three whole days. That is certainly very silly criticism. We speak of a ten days’ meeting when we are only in it a few hours every day, thus estimating a part for the whole. The Jews did likewise. If you do not wish to fall under the condemnation of a wicked and adulterous generation, do not hold on seeking signs, demonstrations, and evidences, but take God at his word, and raise the shout of victory, inspired by simple faith in His Infallible Truth, and you will see every Jericho the devil can ever rear up in your way fall down flat. “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” A simple matter of fact, when Jonah thus appeared, miraculously, after three days, from the stomach of the whale in the bottom of the sea, and preached to the Ninevites, they repented in sackcloth and ashes. Our Lord here assures them that His resurrection from the dead will be to them the climacteric sign of His Messiahship. He knew that those critical preachers and Pharisees would not believe on Him, even after He had risen from the dead, and therefore the Ninevites would condemn them in the day of judgment. “The queen of the south will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” This was the Queen of Sheba, whose country was at the southern terminus of Asia, bordering on the Persian Gulf. She prosecuted this long and weary journey on a camel, back, through Arabian sands, that she might enjoy the ministry of Solomon. Hence she will be a swift witness against the unbelieving Jews in the judgment-day, and will also condemn you if you do not repent.
CONSANGUINITY OF THE HOLY GHOST
Matthew 12:46-50 ; Mark 3:31-35 ; & Luke 8:19 ; Luke 8:21 ; Luke 11:27-28 . “And it came to pass while He was speaking these things, a certain woman, lifting up her voice from the crowd, said to Him, Blessed is the womb having born Thee, and the breast which Thou didst suck. And He said, Truly, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” This is simply the gushing ejaculation of a woman in the crowd, so carried away with admiration of His mighty works and wonderful preaching that she is electrified with the conception of the glorious honor appertaining to the woman who enjoyed the privilege and the blessing of motherhood, thus giving the world such a Son. Matthew: “And He, speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers are standing without, seeking to speak to Him. And responding, He said to the one having spoken to Him, Who is My mother and who are My brothers? Reaching forth His hand toward His disciples [Mark says they were all sitting down around Him in a circle], said, Behold, My mother and My brothers. For whosoever may do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, My sister, and My mother.” Luke says, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” His reputed father, Joseph, is not mentioned here in connection with the family, neither have we a single word in reference to him since Jesus accompanied them to the temple when He was twelve years old. There is not doubt but he died during the ensuing eighteen years. We hear of Jesus having sisters living in Nazareth; doubtless married. Questions arise in reference to these brothers of Jesus four in number, James, Judas, Simon, and Joses the Roman Catholics, conservatively to their Mariolatry, claiming that they were the sons of Joseph by a former marriage; and the Protestants, certainly with more plausibility, that they were the uterine brothers of Jesus, and of course younger than Himself, as we have not an intimation that Joseph had a former marriage, and especially from the fact that we always find them in company with Mary, which looks much like she was their mother. Jesus then being thirty-two years old, if they were children of Joseph by a former marriage, it would put them up considerably in bachelorhood, and not seem very plausible that they would have been giving a stepmother so much attention. There is no doubt but they, thinking that He was wearing Himself out, wanted to prevail on Him to relax labor, and go home with them, and take a good rest, which was incompatible with the urgency of His important ministry. We see here, His natural relatives go into eclipse when contrasted with the spiritual. So we all find, as we become more spiritual, our physical consanguinity sinks into deeper eclipse; not that we love our natural relatives less, but the consanguinity of the Holy Ghost is so much sweeter and richer than that of this world, that we find our affections absorbed and literally captured by the saints of God, admiring and appreciating them in proportion to their approximation to that Perfect Man, the fairest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.
BAPTIZO NOT ALWAYS A TOTAL SUBMERSION, BUT A PURIFICATION
Luke 11:37-42 . “But while He was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him that He may dine with him; having come in, lie sat down at the table; and the Pharisee seeing, was astonished because He was not first baptized before dinner.” It is a well-established fact that the Pharisees, pursuant to the tradition of the elders, were accustomed to wash their hands before eating, lest they had contracted pollution by contact with Gentiles, unclean animals, or some other impurity. Here, where the English says “wash,” the word is ebaptisthe, the passive voice and aorist tense of baptizo, the word constantly used in the New Testament for Christian baptism. The case here is clear and decisive that it only means for Jesus to wash His hands, the very idea of submerging His whole body under water being utterly out of the question. But you say His hands were immersed. That might be so, or it may have been done by affusion. But that is not the point of investigation. It is not said that His hands were baptized, but that Jesus Himself was baptized. Hence it follows, as an irresistible sequence, that when His hands were washed, his entire person was baptized. We simply give this as an honest exegete, expecting to meet you all at the judgment- bar; and not that I want to keep any of you out of the river. On the contrary, I exhort you to follow your convictions and satisfy your conscience. (1 Peter 3:21)
“And the Lord said to Him, Now, you Pharisees purify the outside of the cup and the plate, but the inside of you is full of extortion and wickedness. Ye fools, did not He who made the outside also make the inside? Therefore give alms of your possessions, and, behold, all things are pure to you.”
Where E.V. says “make clean,” the word is catharizo, which is here our Savior’s definition of baptizo. So you need not ransack the world to find out the meaning of baptize. It has no meaning in the Bible but to purify, catharizo being the word constantly used in the Bible to signify a purification. Then our Savior assures these Pharisees that if they will give alms, “all things will be pure to them,” showing up the fact that the love of God in the heart is really the baptism which he requires, superseding and climaxing all ceremonies.
WOES PRONOUNCED ON THE PHARISEES & THEOLOGIANS
Luke 11:42-54 . “But woe unto you Pharisees, because you tithe mint, anise, and every herb, and you pass by judgment and the love of God; it behooveth you to do these things, and not to leave the others undone.” Here our Savior raised no objection against the payment of tithes on everything indiscriminately, but commends it, while He utters these withering woes against them because they neglect judgment, which includes their own conviction and justification, as well as all their dealings with others, involving the whole problem of not only personal pardon, but an upright life; then the agape i.e., the Divine love of God, which the Holy Ghost pours out in the heart (Romans 5:5), imparting the Divine nature, adoption. and sonship, involving a glorious regeneration--climaxed in the perfection of that love by entire sanctification. “Woe unto you Pharisees, because you love the front seat in the synagogues and salutations in the forums.” While Jesus condemns the brazen effrontery of these unsaved Church officers, I hope you will take no argument from it in favor of that false modesty which so often takes a back seat. “Woe unto you, because you are like tombs, unseen, and people walking over them do not know.” The tombs in that country are excavations in the rocks, or chambers built of stone, cavernous within, so that people walking over them would fall down among the dead men’s bones--a very withering illustration of the traps and pitfalls superinduced by those hypocritical Church members. “And a certain one of the theologians, responding, says to Him, Teacher, speaking these things, You indeed reproach us.” Jesus was so personal, clear, and incisive, that He made His audience feel the force of His truth. “And He said, Woe unto you theologians, because you bind intolerable burdens on the people, and you yourselves do not touch those burdens with one of your fingers.” We need not go back to the Jewish Church to find this withering accusation lamentably verified. To our sorrow, we see it all around us--clergymen living like kings; home luxuries and worldly pleasures sending their families to perdition, and they laying burdens of heavy assessments on all their members, while they themselves can not even say, with the Pharisee, “I give tithes of all that I possess.” Good Lord, deliver us from the clerical oppression here specified!
“Woe unto you, because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers slew them. Then are ye witnesses, and consent unto the works of your fathers, because they indeed slew them, and you build their tombs.” Our Savior here turns the keen edge of His logic for the conviction of these guilty theologians and Pharisees, availing Himself of the homogeneity between the work of their fathers, who martyred the prophets, and that of themselves in building their beautiful, ornamental tombs as monuments of their love and admiration for them. History is still repeating itself. If Wesley, Knox, and Bunyan, honored as the founders of three great Protestant Churches respectively, were now on the earth, the very people who honor and eulogize them would close them out of their houses. The holiness evangelists, whose thunder and lightning the popular Churches can not stand, will all be honored by the same as soon as they die. “Therefore the wisdom of God said, I will send you prophets and apostles, and some of them they will slay and persecute, in order that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house; yea, I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” Zechariah here was the son of Jehoiada the priest, who had led the way in the coronation of Joash when only seven years old. So long as Jehoiada lived, Joash reigned in the fear of God, and led the people in the way of righteousness. But after the death of the holy priest, the king departed from God, and even committed the awful wickedness of slaying the son of his great benefactor. Here, Jesus affirms that the blood of all the martyrs slain from Abel down to that day will be required of that generation, illustrating the fact that God holds us responsible for our volition, and our attitude toward His cause, involving the conclusion that, if the heart is not right toward God, and in harmony with His administration, pursuant to our unholy sympathies, we actually participate in the condemnation of all our predecessors.
THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE
Luke 11:52 . “Woe unto you theologians, because you have taken away the key of knowledge.” What is this key of knowledge? It is the light shining on Divine truth, which enables people to understand it. “You yourselves did not enter in, and you prevented those who were entering in.” This is a grave charge, involving immeasurable responsibility. If these theologians, high priests, scribes, and Pharisees, standing at the head of the Church in the responsible capacity of popular leaders, had received Jesus, pursuant to the preaching of John the Baptist, the rank and the of the Jewish Church would have pressed into the kingdom in solid columns, the revival wave, rolling over Judea and Galilee, sweeping the whole country like a tornado, getting the whole nation ready for the sanctifying baptism of Pentecost, after which an army of evangelists would have moved out into the Gentile world like cyclones of fire, fulfilling the Commission during that generation, and actually bringing on the millennium. The same is true this day. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus. If the preachers and ecclesiastical leaders would all receive Him, and His blood-washed and fire- baptized workers into the Churches, the people would follow them like sheep. Momentous is the responsibility of leadership, and terrible the havoc when the blind lead the blind. “He, going forth from thence, the scribes and Pharisees began to be exceedingly angry, and to question Him concerning many things, laying in wait to catch something from His mouth.” He had looked them in the face, and pronounced on them these withering woes, which should have convicted and brought them to repentance.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 11". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13