The Key to Knowledge ( by Carley Evans )

English: Pharisees in the Temple in the synagogue

I’ve pondered this verse many times: Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Woe to you experts in the law, because you take away the key to knowledge. You yourselves do not enter, and you hinder those who are entering.” (Luke 11: 52, NIV)

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees about “loading people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and not lifting one finger to help them.” (Luke 11:46) And He speaks to them of “building tombs for the prophets” even though their forefathers murdered those very same prophets.

I think Jesus tells the Pharisees that they have no knowledge of God at all. These “experts in the law” miss the whole show, so to speak. Worse yet, they parade around as if they know God and know the way to Him. And in their burdening of the people with rules and regulations, they hinder these same people from “the key to knowledge.”

In Jesus’ day, the “key to knowledge” is the Torah. Who takes it away from the people who are trying to enter into it? The very ones who ought to know it and teach it appropriately — the experts!

Jesus warns us not to hinder the children from coming to Him. Children are those who do not have any knowledge of Him except what they see and hear from those of us who claim to know and worship Him. Let us beware that we “experts in faith” do not hinder those who are “entering” the Word for the very first time!

The Kingdom is Near ( by Carley Evans )

John the Baptist preaches in the Desert of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2, NIV) He warns the Pharisees to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10)

Paul writes,

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Jesus says,

“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain — first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

Sovereign Lord, thank You for producing the fruits of Your Holy Spirit through us. Ready us for Your coming harvest. Let us be the full kernel of grain and not the dead root of a barren tree. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

The Key to Knowledge ( by Carley Evans )

I diverge a moment to ask you what is the key to knowledge, the key to which Jesus refers when He scolds “the Pharisees, the experts of the law?” Jesus tells us these experts in the law take away the key to knowledge, essentially hiding it from those who are desperately hoping to enter the kingdom of God. The Pharisees not only fail to enter the kingdom, they prevent others from doing so as well. They prevent this by “taking away the key to knowledge.” (Luke 11:52, NIV)

Jesus says, “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35) He says, “Give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything is clean for you.” (Luke 11:41) He says, “Hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) He says, “Acknowledge Me before men.” (Luke 12:8) He says, ‘Be “rich toward God.”‘ (Luke 12:21) He says, “Be dressed ready for service.” (Luke 12:35) He says, “Judge for yourselves what is right.” (Luke 12:57) He warns, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) He says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, try to enter and are not able to.” (Luke 13:24)

Jesus warns He often says, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me, you evildoers.” (Luke 13:27) He says, “Indeed there are those who are last who are first, and first who are last.” (Luke 13:30)

Father God, humble our hearts. Make Your face to shine on ours, and grant us Your Light. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

How Can We Know? ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus is asked when the kingdom of God will come. Jesus says,

“The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21, NIV)

Looking hard, you aren’t going to see the kingdom of heaven. No one is going to say to you, “Hey, here’s the kingdom.” No leader of any church is going to point to a date on a calendar and say, “This is the day of the Lord; His kingdom comes now.” Instead, says Jesus, I Am the kingdom of heaven and I Am within you. When? Now.

Thomas, who is confused, asks “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5) Jesus responds,

“I Am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and see Him.” (John 14:6-7)

Philip asks Jesus to show the Father and says, “That will be enough.” (Luke 14:8)

Jesus answers, “Don’t you know Me?” (Luke 14:9)

Father God, thank You for Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Fish for People? ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus walks along the Sea of Galilee, sees two brothers named Simon and Andrew. He sees them cast their net into the sea; of course, they do this because they are fishermen. Jesus stops momentarily, commands them to follow Him. He tells them something odd. He says, “I will make you fish for people!”

Fish for people? Hard to imagine that Simon and Andrew do not look at each other in bewilderment and wonder. Perhaps they are both aware of who Jesus is. Perhaps not. Perhaps a note of authority in His voice makes them drop their net immediately to follow Him. Certainly something more than curiosity causes them to leave the net behind.

Jesus, Simon and Andrew walk along the Sea of Galilee. Jesus sees two more brothers mending nets with their father, Zebedee. These brothers are James and John; and are also fishermen. Jesus stops. He calls out to the brothers, “Follow Me.” Immediately, the brothers climb out of the boat to leave their father behind.

Now there are five men walking along the Sea of Galilee. One carpenter; four fishermen. The four fishermen walk with little idea of what Jesus means when He tells them again they are fishing for people. As these five men walk throughout Galilee, Jesus preaches the good news about the kingdom of God in all the synagogues, heals every disease and illness among people, and begins to attract huge crowds.

The four fishermen discover a new Father and a new Net: a Father who loves them completely and a Net whose value has little to do with them, a net who needs no mending and is cast anywhere to catch anyone.

Fear Not ( by Carley Evans )

Even more encouraging than the Holy Spirit’s promise to dwell within us forever is Jesus’ declaration:

“I Am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I Am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hades and of death.” (Revelation 1:18, KJV)

And, His encouragement:

“Fear not, I Am the first and the last.” (Revelation 1:17)

Even more encouraging is His promise to love us and wash us free of sins to make us “a kingdom of priests unto God.” (Revelation 1:6)

Jesus announces He is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

The Lord Himself overcomes death and sin. We, who reside in His kingdom, are excited; our hearts uplifted.


With Us Forever ( by Carley Evans )

“For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.” (2 John 1:2, KJV)

I love this implied promise: first, that the truth dwells within us; second, that the truth is with us forever! Jesus confirms that He is the truth. (John 14:6)

Thanks be to You, God that You’ve given us Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. In Jesus’ Name, amen!


You Lift Me Up ( by Carley Evans )

Together, David and I sing of the wonders of God’s love:

My God heals me. He lifts me up. He brings my soul from the pit. He keeps me alive.

“For [Your] anger endures but a moment; in [Your] favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5, KJV)

I am never moved. I stand strong.

“You turn for me my mourning into dancing; You put off my sackcloth, and gird me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:11)

“O LORD, my God, I give thanks unto You forever.” (Psalm 30:12)

Heavenly Father, thank You for lifting me up above and beyond my petty problems. Thank You that pain and sorrow last but a moment while joy endures forever. In Jesus’ Name, I praise You. Amen.

Like a Little Child ( by Carley Evans )

Jesus says:

“Unless you change and become like little children, you never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4,NIV)

To Nicodemus, Jesus says:

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3,5)

First we see. We see by being born again. We are changed. We are changed by being born of water and the Spirit of God. We then enter the kingdom of heaven.

God the Holy Spirit says:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believe in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:1-2,10-13)

The world is incapable of seeing the kingdom of heaven. With God’s intervention we are given the right to become children of God, born not of human decision but of the will of God Himself.

Thank You, Lord for Your mercy. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Woe to You! (by Carley Evans)

Jesus cries, “Woe to you Pharisees!”

Pharisees keep the outside sparkling clean while remaining filthy inside. Pharisees give exactly a tenth and no more. Pharisees walk in pride, always in the most prominent places. Pharisees are experts in the law, but “load people with burdens that are hard to carry.” (Luke 11:46, HCSB)

Jesus accuses, “You take away the key of knowledge! You don’t go in yourselves, and you hinder those who are going in.” (Luke 11:52)

To the crowd, Jesus gives warning: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered, nothing hidden that won’t be made known. Therefore, whatever you say in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you whisper in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:1-3)

Woe to the hypocrite.

Dearest Father God, forgive me for my hypocrisies. In Jesus’ Name, amen.