False teachers and prophets manipulate and charm, just like Satan. They mislead and deceive, even deny Jesus was the Son of God. Such a man was Muhammad, who claimed the Word of God was distorted, and denied Jesus was the Son of God. Millions are mislead by this falsification. Today, false teachers and prophets deny there is eternal punishment, deny that there are sins, and deny a need for a savior. Many practice hate under the guise of Christianity- this is nothing new. Emperor Nero blamed the devastating fires of Rome on Christians. God will hold such people in judgment, but He will rescue the godly from this destruction. They are liars, charmers, sinners, and hate the Way of truth, promising “freedom” but only giving slavery to sin. Self-proclaimed modern “civil rights activists” promote sexual sin in homosexuality, and even create their own churches which ignore the Word of God! This is no new venture. Peter’s words are evidence that churches were being corrupted 2000 years ago. The enemies of Jesus continue to come and go, but true freedom is in Christ, where we are free from sin! They lead people back to the sinful ways of the world, away from Jesus, and these people would have been better had they not know the truth. But in knowing the truth and turning from it, they have clearly renounced grace. But God is merciful! We must pray for all the false teachers and prophets, and those who have followed them, that they find Jesus.
Jericho was a city given to the Israelites by God. God had Joshua’s army surround the city and blow their trumpets, shout to God, and the walls of Jericho crashed down. Jesus was passing through this city on his way to Jerusalem, where he would be crucified. Yet he took notice of a man in a tree. He called him by name, although they had never met. The Lord was his shepherd, claiming his flock. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and took great effort to meet him. He ran ahead of the crowd, and climbed a tree. He had to rise above the crowds of the world catch a glimpse. He demonstrated a willingness to receive Christ. He opened his house and his heart, and he was transformed. If you have welcomed Jesus, you have welcomed salvation. Zacchaeus repented, gave half his wealth to the poor, and he swore to payback all who he had wronged- a public testimony of his new life. What a difference Christ can make in the life of a sinner! We should rejoice whenever any sinner partakes in supper with the Lord, and not grumble as the crowd did. We are all sinners in need of Jesus, but we must humble ourselves as Zacchaeus. The world was much taller then he was, yet he found a way to redemption. What heights will you climb to catch sight of Jesus?
We know the commandment, but how often do we avoid our Christian duty by asking Who is our neighbor? Can we justify stepping back from someone in need? Do we have to love everyone as ourselves? The Levite and Priest, men of God, certainly thought there was exception to this rule. They had studied the law of God, and yet ignored it, even when a man of there own country lies dying. It is a foreigner who takes care of the man. Go and do likewise- Christ commands it! There is no shortcut, no restriction, and no discrimination among people. You will be challenged in this walk! We were shown mercy by our God, therefore we give mercy. The Samaritan showed great kindness in his actions. Can we do the same?