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Tag Archives: Sadducees

When Religion and Politics Mix

Los Angeles became the first city in the United States to be designated as a sanctuary city.  This 1979 decision was designed to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees.  Today, there are 36 other United State cities that have adopted this policy.  In recent years, churches in border states have been recruited to hide and protect illegal immigrants.  From time to time, I see cable news exclusives of local pastors defending their position.  This is where religion and politics mix.

But the Jews incited the devout, prominent women and the leading men of the city, and instigated persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them forcibly out of their district, Acts 13:50.

During the first century, Jewish leaders were fearful of the Jesus movement.  As more Jews converted to Christianity, influence and political power was being lost.  Thus, high priests, Pharisees, Sadducees and zealots sought whatever means necessary to stop any other Jews from turning their back on their Jewish heritage.  According to Luke, Jewish leaders used prominent, powerful and wealthy individuals to drive Christian leaders from their district.  This is where religious obsessions cloud minds and judgment.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless, James 1:26.

An earthly brother of Jesus makes an interesting observation in the passage above.  Religion and politics can and will mix from time to time, but if your tongue leads you astray, religion is worthless.  Jesus uses an analogy of a city on a hill in his Sermon on the Mount.  Christians are suppose to stand out, like a city with bright lights in the dark.  Actions, behavior and words reflect what is inside of your heart.  Unfortunately, the pressure of religion and politics may result in compromise, temptation or unexpected words.  When religion and politics and a fall from grace ensues, may conviction bring you back to the place where God desires.

by Jay Mankus

Beware of the New Age of Pharisees

At the beginning of the first century, two types of religious leaders emerged.  The lesser known Sadducees were members of the ruling class of Jewish priests.  Meanwhile, the Pharisees were a strict sect of law abiding individuals who stringently observed rites and ceremonies of the Torah.  This group’s legalistic mentality added rules and regulations not mentioned in the Bible.  Thus, it wasn’t uncommon for these elite members to play a gotcha style religion.

“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation,” Luke 20:46-47.

Two thousand years later, a new type of Pharisee have arrived on to the scene.  Fueled by the gospel of political correctness, new talking points are introduced daily.  Controlling the airways, anyone who attempts to challenge, deviate or question progressive views are reprimanded.  Anyone who does not apologize by retracting previous statements are attacked, defamed and smeared by the media.  Those who cave to these threats become enslaved by this manmade religion.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction, 2 Peter 2:1.

One of Jesus’ disciples receives a vision about the end of days.  According to Peter, false prophets will introduce various heresies.  A heresy is defined as any belief or opinion which is contrary to biblical doctrine.  Unfortunately. if the media controls and defines the narrative, absolute truth is suppressed.  This is the danger of these times as the influence of this new age of Pharisee intensifies.  In view of this cultural climate, follow the advice of 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 by testing everything you hear with the Word of God; then cling to that which is good.  May you endure these trying times as a New Age of Pharisees emerges.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Real Smooth Operator

During the summer of 1984, the English group Sade released the song Smooth Operator, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 2 weeks.  The distinct voice of Sade Adu has etched a place in history for this song, a classic which highlights the unique sounds of the 1980’s.  While modern commercial studs, movie stars and players try to claim this crown, there is only one Smooth Operator, Jesus of Nazareth.

According to Mark 12:13-15, the religious police came after Jesus, pulling out all their stunts to find a way to arrest him.  In Act I, found in Mark 12:15-17, Jesus faces off with the Pharisees and Herodians, thirsty for blood ever since Mark 3:6.  These two religious groups attempt to force Jesus into a corner where he either breaks Roman law, not paying taxes to Caesar or refuses to respect the proper temple tax.  Celebrating too earlier, Jesus asks for a coin, answers both questions, leaving a jaw dropping response in Mark 12:17.

Act II begins in Mark 12:18-27 with a group known as the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Thus, one of their zealots poses a hypothetical question, hoping to stump and or trick Jesus into giving an unbiblical reply.  Likely yawning, thinking, “is that the best you’ve got,” Jesus quickly disposes these morons.  Toying with their minds, Jesus clarifies their flawed logic by explaining there is no marriage in heaven and Oh by the way, Moses served the God of the living, not the dead.

On fire now, burning through his competition, Act III rolls out one final expert to duel Jesus, a teacher of the law, Mark 12:28-39.  Playing pin the tail on the donkey, this teacher thinks he can get Jesus to de-emphasize one of the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-17.  Instead, Jesus divides the commandments God gave to Moses in 2 classifications: 1-4 focus on loving God, 6-10 require loving your neighbor as yourself.  By loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and following the golden rule, individuals can insure that they will keep all 10 commandments.  Astonished by his wisdom, this teacher of the law is nearly converted by Jesus in Mark 12:34.  After this, no one else dared to ask Jesus another question, proving once and for all, He is the real smooth operator!

by Jay Mankus

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