By Martin Morrison

This is one of our top devotions of 2020 published on the 11th of June 2020. Find the full article here

In Jewish society at the time of Jesus, there was a common form of teaching called “haraz” or “a string of pearls”. Luke 12 would be a very good example of this teaching method, where pearls of teaching are strung together like a string of pearls. There are nine such “pearls” in Luke 12, and we will explore each pearl individually over the next two weeks, starting today with Luke 12:1 – 3. It will be most helpful if you can have that passage open in front of you.

You will notice in vs. 1, that Jesus is preaching to a crowd of many thousands. Perhaps the Orlando Pirates Stadium in Soweto comes to mind! What made it somewhat chaotic is that because there was no sound system or loudspeakers, everyone tried to get as close to Jesus as possible. In fact, there were so many that they were trampling on each other.

Jesus is teaching his disciples in the midst of this crowd. No doubt, what he says to his disciples, will be overheard by the outsiders. The dual purpose of Jesus’s teaching meant that many would hear and obey. Many outsiders in turn would become insiders.obvious purpose being that when they hear and obey, the outsiders in turn may become insiders. Which, incidentally, is a very good reason to invite your non-Christian friends to church or send them a Christian article, inviting their comments. Let’s never forget thatLike you and me, we were at one time outsiders who became insiders, when we were exposed to the words of Jesus, by a kind and patient friend.

Jesus starts this string of pearls with a stunning warning.
In vs. 1, he says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”. Most of us know that the Pharisees, were a strict religious movement within Judaism. They were regarded as the custodians or interpreters of the law of Moses. They would have been regarded as the most religious, most moral upstanding members of Jewish society. Perhaps today, many in our culture would consider priests and ministers and rabbis in this category. Perhaps, someone like myself. However, most unexpectedly, Jesus was very often in conflict with them. He very often used them and their teaching as a foil to his own teaching. Almost always they were at loggerheads…Keep Reading

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