HE LEFT JUDAEA
John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
It was baptism which brought the Lord Jesus into Judaea, and it is baptism which now causes his departure. John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
But carefully notice just what the Lord knew. He knew that the religious Pharisees where focusing on the dispute between John’s disciples and the Jews over the matter of the effect of baptism’s purifying. John 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.
The Pharisees always ready to further their cause, even at the expense of trashing all other causes, whether good or bad, had been attracted to this confrontation. Therefore the Lord ‘defused’ the matter by leaving the area. And at a later date he returns to this isolated place to escape the persecution of these antagonistic leaders again. John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, 40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
And this would be his example for his instruction to his followers in the times to come. Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
He showed that he was in charge of the timing of his death and not the religious crowd! Matthew 12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. 15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; John 7:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
The time before appointed for his sacrifice was firmly established by himself and his Father. It is the most established appointment that has ever been. And he expressed this to both his disciples and to his Father. John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
He expressed this to his natural family. John 7:6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. For he knew from the foundation of the world that this was an appointed matter for him. 1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
There are two things which the believer is to understand from this, First, that there are those who have garbage cans for ears. They, like the Pharisees, come nosing around just to get the ‘dirt’ on the peoples of God in order to justify themselves for their own rejection of the gospel! Then the other thing is that God’s people are not to just voluntarily ‘give their back to the smiters.’ We are instructed regarding those who are ‘despisers of those that are good, from such (to) turn away! (2Timothy 3:3,5).
And just what did attract these Pharisees like buzzards to a dead carcass? It was a matter of who had the largest crowds. An argument as to whose baptism produced the greatest purification! John 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
Religion always thinks that one with large crowds must surely be approved by God! But what then about poor old Noah? He only had eight souls enter into the ark. And they were only said to be “saved by water,” and not by grace! 1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
And what about the Lord Jesus as he got nearer to the cross? He fed 5000. He sent 70 out two by two. He had 12 disciples. But only 3 on the mount when he was transfigured. And only the Apostle John at the cross! Is He a failure?
Do not the crowds go in the broad way which lead to destruction? And did He not say that there were few who entered into the strait gate which leads to eternal life? Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Its quality of soul, not quantity of numbers which the Lord seeks. Listen to the Prophet Isaiah concerning his group. He was first instructed not to combine with popular religion by becoming confederated with them. He was to focus his attention upon the Lord God! Isaiah 8:12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. 13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16 ¶ Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
And just who did this prophet finally come to identify as the true church of the Lord God? Just those birthed by the Spirit as ‘children,’ and himself! Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
We must understand that there is a vast difference in the purposes of God to chastise his people for their correction, and that of the Satanic and human afflicters, who delight in destruction for no good purpose. Here is a portion of scripture which lays this out:
The Lord God determined to use the Assyrians to afflict Israel due to Israel’s disobedience. Therefore God granted the Assyrians victory over Israel. But then the Assyrians thought that they were in charge of, not only Israel, but determined to conquer other nations as well! Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
Here is why God could punish Assyria for doing what He wanted them to do after Israel was justly punished. For they bragged on themselves and glorified their weapons of war, giving no glory to God! Isaiah 10:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
Therefore when once the purpose of God was satisfied, Israel did not have to continue to “give their backs to these smiters!”
Did not God require “wicked hands” to crucify his son? Yes! And it was so by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God! Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: How then is it just of God to send Judas to hell for betraying Christ Jesus? For Judas provided part of those wicked hands needed to identify the Lord Jesus to those determined to arrest him.
He could do so because Judas didn’t betray the Lord to fulfill God’s will. He did not do so for the glory of God! He did so for his greed and love of money! 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
God would have his true church to suffer persecution in order to purify them. But he would have it also that the wicked may be punished for their part in it! And the wicked shall be judged as soon as their cup of iniquity is full.
Israel could not be let out of Egyptian bondage until the Amorites full judgment could be exacted upon them by the armies of Israel. Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Consider also these verses. Daniel 8:23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. Matthew 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
Dear Reader, when the Lord God wants his people to be afflicted, thy will not be able to avoid it. When Ananias was sent to Saul of Tarsus he was instructed that the Lord had ordained the sufferings he must endure in his ministry as Paul, the Apostle. Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. But when Satanic persecution arises it is not God’s purpose that we voluntarily involve ourselves in that.
Sometimes persecution breaks out in order for the Great Shepherd to move his people to another pasture for the gospel to go forth! Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
In our text we see the Lord not willing for his little infant church to suffer persecution at that time. So he led them not into temptation, but delivered them from this evil. But there was another time when, although the Lord God also fully “knew” of the circumstances, he was pleased to take his church through afflictions, but for a specific period. Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Pastor Gene Breed
August 8, 2018