Deceptive Traps

Pharisees and Scribes set Traps for Jesus – Luke 11:53-54

Opening Thoughts: After several months in Luke 11 I am finally closing this chapter. The Bible is so packed with information that is so easily missed if we simply treat it like some type of daily duty, spending 30 minutes slamming through our four chapters, simply to make it through our “Bible in a Year” program. I’m not entirely dissin’ the Bible in a year idea, but if we are not stewardly with our time spent in God’s Word, we incur the risk of coming to false conclusions, getting caught in traps set for us, and ultimately we take the chance of misunderstanding the Gospel all together. Instead we can end up mistaking it for more of a self help guide for “your best life now road map, with a twist of  see you at the top because I’m a kingdom child” attitude, rather than a “first shall be last, cross bearing, self denying, suffering servant of all, who is grateful that God has delivered us from blindness, restored our sight and relinquished from giving us what we justly had coming to us” mind set. Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me….” In other words my end is His beginning. My number one goal for the remainder of this “life I now live in the flesh“, is to “live it by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me“. That means that since I am not my own anymore for the reason that I have been bought with a price, which also means that I will not be very well liked at times by the world, in fact Jesus says I’ll be hated! And that’s a promise we tend to overlook.

In tonight’s passage we see the haters of Jesus trying to set traps for him, but before I look at our text I want to recap on a story I recently heard of a young pastor in India who was seriously beaten after falling victim to a trap.

Pastor Falls Victim to a Vicious Trap: Hindu extremists entice preacher into house, beat him unconscious. NEW DELHI, October 21 — A group of Hindu extremists in Madhya Pradesh earlier this month beat a pastor unconscious and chewed off part of his ear, pelting him with stones after he fainted from the pain.

Paasu Ninama told Compass that the six attackers first lured him into a house in Malphalia village, Jhabua district with an offer of water on Oct. 4. The 35-year-old resident of Pipal Kutta village said he was on his way back from his regular Sunday service in Malphalia at 4 p.m. when six men sitting outside a house invited him in for a glass of water.

When he saw a photograph of Jesus Christ in the house, he knew they had set a trap for him – Pastor Ninama said he knew they would accuse him of providing the photo and trying to “forcibly” convert them. “I immediately turned to escape when they all jumped on me and started to beat me, accusing me of luring people to convert,” he said. They badly beat him with wood on his hands, legs and back. “I joined my hands and begged them not to beat me and let me go, but they mercilessly continued to hit me black and blue,” Pastor Ninama said. One of the Hindu extremists chewed off Pastor Ninama’s left ear, which bled heavily. Pastor Ninama fell unconscious. “A piece of my ear was in his mouth, and it went missing,” said Pastor Ninama, in tears. The attackers started pelting the unconscious pastor with stones until villagers intervened. There were two eyewitnesses who will testify in court of the attack, said Pastor Bahadur Baria, who lives in a nearby village.” source: compassdirect.org

Paasu Ninama’s story is just one of thousands of such events that are going on as we speak. There are men and women all over the world who have been so flabbergasted by God that when He saved them they could not help themselves from preaching the gospel, even if it means their lives. In North America, we are soft, Danae and I sat on the couch slightly stunned after reading about our dear brother Paasu. To think that he walks miles and miles to pastor a church every Sunday and on his way home in the heat of day he is lured into a trap by a glass of water. Paasu likely thought that this would be a great opportunity to share the gospel with the these men, only to be brutally attacked. We are called to preach to our haters regardless of what they intend to do to us. Brother Paasu serves as an example of what genuine faith looks like.

Luke 11:53-54 ESV .. As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

Craftiness of Lawyers: I used to really like watching legal movies where someone who’s as guilty as sin is on trial. They’ve done a good job so far of bold faced lying and no one has been able to nail them, that is until the hotshot lawyer starts to ambush him with a series of clever questions. The questions are crafted in a slightly inaccurate manner, and are dished out as quickly and aggressively as possible so the accused has very little time to respond. After several minutes of these questions and accusations the alleged criminal blurts out the truth of his felony without even realizing that he essentially just hung himself.

Like Paasu Ninama, Jesus was invited into the home of one of the Pharisees. Although Jesus wasn’t beaten on this occasion, He was invited over for one purpose and that was so that the Scribes (Lawyers) and Pharisees could catch Him saying something in which they would be able to condemn Him.  During the course of the dinner Jesus had rebuked them six times about their hypocrisy which infuriated them as He hit them with both barrels right between the eyes. On His way out the door, from this most relaxing meal, He was followed by a posse of lawyers and teachers who began to press Him hard in an effort to provoke Him. They asked Him question after question much like a trial and gave Him little to no time to respond. It was a tactic to build frustration so He would lash out in anger. However, Jesus was never out of control because His life was completely surrendered to the Fathers will and He was entirely led by the Holy Spirit.

1 John 2:6 .. Whoever says He abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.

Our Calling: A genuine believer is called to walk in the same footsteps as Jesus did, to skate on thin ice, to eat with enemies, to reveal Pharisaical type Christianity , to preach the gospel to the lost. All this is  to be done out of legitimate concern for their souls. We are called to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). My challenge to all of you who are reading this is to shoulder your cross today, and follow after Jesus. Remember brother Ninama? That wasn’t the first time he was beaten, but rather the 3rd time in just a few months! Can you imagine that? What kind of faith is that? I think that’s the kind of faith, as I mentioned earlier in this post, that Paul was referencing when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ”. So let me ask you, “Have you been crucified with Christ?” When you are verbally attacked the next time you get out there and share the gospel will you lash out in anger, or will you be wise and gentle with those who hate the gospel? Do you really even love the lost enough to share it with a stranger? Do you actually love Jesus enough to obey His command to do it? Have you really been crucified with Christ? If you haven’t you will not be raised up with Him, and that’s a fact. Now is the day of salvation, in the words of Peter ” Be diligent to Confirm your Calling & Election”.

2 Peter 1:3-10 ESV … “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”

Preparing The Way
~ Shane Martin

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