No man :: can serve two masters


When we used to live in the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas, one of our responsibilities as a shark researcher in the Bimini Biological Field Station was to take care of the skiffs (small boats). And once when trying to clean our skiff, I had one foot on the dock and the other in the boat that was tethered to the dock. However, I soon realized that this was not a good position to be in. One foot in the boat (not on solid ground) and the other foot on the dock (on solid ground) could mean only one thing. It was time to get wet. I found myself done a nearly 180 split and then I in the water, all wet.

The Bible records in the gospel of Matthew that ‘no man can serve two masters‘ (Matthew 6:24), wherein the masters referred here are God and mammon (money). These were the very words of Jesus. In fact, Jesus goes on to expand on this to the extreme, that we cannot serve both God (the savior) and money (our selfish desires), because we will end up hating one and loving the other or holding on to one and despising the other. The Bible counsels us that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). The Bible also warns us that He who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4) and I wrote about this earlier in the post entitled ‘ The law of reciprocal relations‘, but felt that it is appropriate to revisit this under the context of the ‘No man’ series we have been doing.

What does ‘no man can serve two masters’ mean? What follows after Jesus expressed this gives us the answer. To try to appease God and self, we would end up hating one and loving the other or holding on to one and despising the other. This means that while we feel that we can have one foot on solid ground (God) and one on our selfish desires i.e., love for money (not solid ground), we will find ourselves drowning in worldly desires, erring from our faith (1 Timothy 6:10). To be lukewarm in our walk with God, warrants a response on His part and that is, He will vomit us out of His mouth for we will be a distaste to Him (Revelation 3:16). Let our yeses be yeses and our nos be nos and yes, no man can serve two masters. Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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No man :: to condemn


The Bible in the gospel accordingly to John in chapter 8 records an ironic question Jesus asked of anyone. When the scribes and the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery and tried to trick (tempt) Him into condemning her, keeping in line with the law according to Moses or into Him overlooking her sin, thereby giving them a chance to accuse the Lawgiver Himself as a law breaker. Jesus knowing the intent in their hearts, intelligently dismisses them by convicting them of their own sins. He then poses a question to the woman –  Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? to which she responds ‘No Man, Lord’. What is ironic, is that the only man who had any right to accuse her, was standing right there, and He did not condemn. Instead he gave her a second chance, forgiving his sinfulness and commanding her to be no longer a slave to sin; to sin no more. Also, note how the woman responds – She responds saying, no man, Lord. To the scribes and the Pharisees (the so called saints), Jesus the Lord was seen as a man. To the sinful woman, Jesus the man, was seen as Lord.

And now, there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2). No matter what our state is today or how sinful you and I are, when we come to Jesus and we recognize Him as Lord, you can expect Him, the righteous and just God-man to give you and me a second chance. No man can condemn them that have been redeemed by Jesus Christ.

John 8:1-11(KJV)
1
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2
And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

No man :: laid hands on Him


When Jesus declared that He was indeed the Messiah, who had come from God the Father (John7:27-29), the people sought to take (arrest and kill) Him but no man laid hands on Him. Why? Because the Scripture states that His hour had not yet come. Just a few moments earlier, we have Jesus telling his brothers twice in Galilee, that His time had not yet come (John 7:6); that his time had not yet full come (John 7:8). It was not until the appointed time of God, that the sons of men could lay their hands on the son of God, but when that time came later, in the garden of Gethsamene, we see that Jesus who could pray and receive twelve legions of angels for his protection (Matthew 26:53) falls into the hands of men. Like a lamb led to slaughter, he totally surrendered (Isaiah 53). But it is important for us to recognize that this is not a testament to the power of man, but to the provision of God. Jesus did not fall into the hands of man, because they had any power over him, unless granted to them by God the Father (John 19:11). Furthermore, Jesus fell into the hands of men, because He willingly submitted to the will of God the Father (Isaiah 53:10), so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled (Matthew 26:54).

What can we learn from this? We must be like Jesus, totaling surrendering our will to the will of God. And if the world (man) comes against us, we can be assured that no man can lay their hands on anyone and divert the course of God’s plan, unless God allows them to do so. God’s calendar cannot be changed by anyone except God.

John 7:25-30 (KJV)
25
Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
26
But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
27
Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
28
Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
29
But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
30
Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

No man :: seeks to be not known openly


We see in the Scriptures that the brothers of Jesus were shortsighted who failed to recognize two vital facts. First, they did not recognize who he was and second, they did not recognize what He had come for. His brothers told him to leave to Judaea where the feast of the Tabernacles was to be, since even they did not believe in Him, failing to recognize that the host of the feast was already tabernacling with them. Secondly, they thought that Jesus came to display his works and gain some fame. In fact, they mistook him to be one who sought popularity (John 7:4) stating that no man seeks to be not known openly and does things in secret. Jesus’ work was not to win opinion polls but to win the hearts and souls of all men. Jesus tells them twice that His time had not yet come (John 7:6), that His time had not yet full come (John 7:8). He sends them earlier to the feast and later joins them in the feast in secret, not openly (John 7:10).

What can we learn from this? Jesus’ modus operandi was in exact opposite to that of the world. We do things that we want people to observe and praise us. The extent of our works are often directly related to the praise and popularity that it gains us. We try to do things according to our own schedules and time. We like to be branded as prosperous with power, position, and popularity. Let us pray that we are no longer shortsighted and let us emulate the most popular God who sought not to be popular. The only thing that matters is if we are operating according to God’s calendar, and not our own. Let us seek His kingdom first, for all other things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). Let us stop working to be known by men, but by God and if God wants your works to be known by men, He will.

John 7:1-10 (KJV)
1
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2
Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.
3
His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
4
For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
5
For neither did his brethren believe in him.
6
Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
7
The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
8
Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come.
9
When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
10
But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

No man :: knows whence He is


The Bible asserts in John 7:27 that when the Christ (Messiah) comes, no man knows whence He is. In other words, no one will know where the Messiah comes from. The argument that those who did not believe in Jesus then was that since the Scriptures state that no man knows where the Messiah will be from, Jesus, a prophet from Nazareth out of Galilee could not possibly be the Messiah.

Jesus’ clarifies this objection by loudly proclaiming (the Scripture actually renders this as Jesus cried) that though you may think that my origin is from Galilee (for Nicodemus later discounts that nothing good can come out of Galilee), my origin in reality is from God Himself, THE ONE who sent Him. (John 7:28-29)

Why is this significant? There are a few reasons why it is vital to understand the origin of Jesus.

  1. If one knows where Jesus came from, they would know who sent Him as well. In other words, acknowledging that Jesus is God made manifest in the flesh sent by God the Father, would require one to know who God the Father is as well.  The Jews took pride in their Abrahamic heritage but failed to recognize the God the Father of father Abraham,  who sent His Son, in the persona of Jesus Christ.
  2. By knowing where Jesus is from, will provide insight into who He really is. Jesus’ origin was from God, the Father. The word for God in the book of Genesis during the creation of the world is Elohim, which interestingly is plural. Jesus has no origin for He exists from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2). He had His birth in Bethlehem but not His beginning. Jesus was in the beginning, with God (the Father and Spirit), and was God (John 1:1). It was God the Father who had sent Him (John 7:29).

The first time, Jesus the Messiah came, men failed to recognize where He was from. My  prayer is that when He returns the second time, people don’t continue to fail to recognize where Jesus is from. For when one knows where He is from, they will know who He really is. The ONE God from everlasting to everlasting.

John 7:27-29 (KJV)
27
Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
28
Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
29
But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.