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THE POWER OF THE WORD, #579

Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. (JOH 7:45-46)

It is a solemn reality to see the war that goes on between Christ and the devil. The war rages between Christ, His love, and the bitterness and the hatred of sin and sinners. Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died. See the unfathomable love of God in extending His love to those who have such bitterness and hatred against Him and His perfect will.

I want you to see the power and cruelty of jealousy and how that it far exceeds the power of all reason. Human rationale has to blush to see the hatred and the devilism that comes from jealousy. Look at SON 8:6. I want you to see the striking contrast between love and jealousy: "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death [The Lord Jesus Christ loved unto death, even the death of the cross. The love of Christ is manifested unto those who hung Him on the cross. If this were not true, there would be no hope for you and me, because it was you and I who hung Him on the cross.]; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame." Look at the coals of fire that come from jealousy, and yet love overshadows it all. The love of Christ is stronger yet, and the coals of His love far excel.

This word grave comes from the Hebrew word sheol (sheh-ole') which means "grave, hell, pit." Jealousy is as cruel as hell. That is an awesome thing. Now see the jealousy of the scribes and the Pharisees sending officers to take Him, while He spoke those gracious words, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." It was for such gracious words that they wanted to condemn Him unto death. He had not done them any wrong. But as the Lord Jesus told His own brothers in JOH 7:7, The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."

The light of such love shining into a heart that is so filled with envy, jealousy, and bitterness is an enraging fuel to the fire of their jealousy. The love of the Saviour was stronger than the fires of their jealousy.

What an exchange jealousy will pay for the unspeakable love of God, the unspeakable love of God being proclaimed, and jealousy will give an exchange of bitterness, of hatred. It is as cruel as hell, but our Saviour’s love is stronger than death, the grave, or hell. In His love, He comes to redeem sinners from the power of such sin. 1JO 3:8 says, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

Look at JOH 7:31-32: "And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? [What miracles were they talking about? He healed the lame. He healed the dumb. He was doing miracles of love and of kindness. And they said, ‘Will He do more miracles than these?’] The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him [and their response was] … the chief priests sent officers to take him." Why? They were going to put Him to death.

Why did the want to murder Him? He had done no wrong. They were jealous. The multitudes were beginning to gather around the Saviour of sinners, instead of coming and bowing at their feet. They were the authorities. They were the rulers. I want you to see verse 47 and 48: "Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" They saw their empire crumbling.

The officers of those murderous, bloodthirsty Pharisees and chief priests stood in His audience. The Lord Jesus knew why they were sent there. They were standing in His audience, and yet, our blessed Saviour revealed the power of His love as He stood and cried. He lifted up His voice, and He screamed, He yelled, He cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." Even in such a time when these people were standing there for the sole purpose of taking Him to murder Him, to that audience, He said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (V: 37 and 38).

There was such power and there was such unction of the Holy Spirit in these gracious words of our Saviour that it restrained the power of those officers who were sent to take Him. Their consciences testified that He was right. "Never spake man like this man." The power of such a loving declaration of the gospel was a restraint against their ability and their authority from the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees, to take Him.

There was also confusion, and oftentimes the Lord uses confusion to deliver His people. The confusion that resulted in the audience from our Saviour's gracious words proved to work as a deterrent against the officers' ability to arrest Jesus. I want you to see what we find in JOH 7:40. "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying [verse 39 is talking about that fountain of living waters, which He spoke concerning the Holy Spirit.], said, Of a truth this is the Prophet."

Now, we have a mixed multitude. We have some who are crying support and others who are coming to destroy, and among the confusion, He stood untouched. It is important that we see how the confusion the Lord sent among them was a deterrent against their planned destruction of Christ.

"The Prophet," spoken of here is that which was prophesied of in DEU 18:15: "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." What they are confessing is: "We must listen to what He is saying. We must hear it. We must adhere to it." "Unto him shall ye hearken"-they understood this. They saw through it.

This is the same prophecy Philip spoke of in JOH 1:45. It is speaking of the prophecies of Moses: "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." They are recognizing the prophecies of Moses being fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Pharisees were looking for one who would come and rule in an earthly kingdom, with pomp and with glory that they could usher in. They were not looking for one who was despised and rejected of men. They were not looking for one who was coming to be the Lamb of God. They did not understand the prophecies.

These leaders were blind leaders of the blind. When they ask such silly questions, "Look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." It was their blindness. The very prophecies prophesied that very thing. They were such authorities in their own opinion. Their authority blinded them, and they did not understand the Word of God. They could not understand the pure, simple, black letter of the Word. It didn’t take any interpreting.

Private interpretations of the Word were the downfall of the church from the beginning. When they try to interpret it, they don’t even read just the black letter of the Word. "Does there arrive any prophet out of Galilee?" Certainly. This is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

I want you to see what Nathanael's first response was in JOH 1:46: "And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip [didn’t stand and argue with him. He] saith unto him, Come and see." It is interesting to note that Nathanael's response was very similar to that of the unbelieving multitude spoken of in the chapter before us for consideration.

Now look at JOH 7:40-43: "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"

See the terrible, terrible danger of taking a part of Scripture out of context and making a whole religion of it. They read about Christ being of the seed of David, but they didn’t read the rest. The Scriptures also speak of Christ coming out of Galilee, and it also speaks of Him being a Nazarene, of Him coming out of Nazareth.

 MAT 2:23 says, "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." They overlooked that. They were making a whole religion out of, "Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David." Yes, but that is only part of the truth, and thereby they condemned the Messiah, because they did not rightly understand the Word of God, because they never took time to study it correctly. "So there was a division among the people because of him." (JOH 7:43)

That division among the people and the power of His word is what the Lord used to restrain their ability, because there were still some who would have taken Him. They were not able because of the confusion and the turmoil among the people. The state of confusion caused by this division among the people, together with the power in those gracious words of our Saviour, rendered the officers who were sent by the Pharisees and chief priests powerless to move a finger, even though some were willing to.

Look at JOH 7:44: "And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him." The Lord has many ways in which He brings about His purpose. The Lord Jesus was not to be taken until it was the Lord’s time. The Lord used the confusion; He used the unction of the Spirit, and the power of His Word. He used many things to bring about His purpose. Verse 44 says, "and some of these would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him." The Lord’s restraint was irresistible.

They were not able. I have used that illustration before about the magnet. When the magnet is turned the right direction, it is a restraint that cannot be overcome. When the Spirit stands between, whether He uses the confusion or His word, or both, there was nothing that they could do to put a hand on Jesus.

The preaching of Jesus’ meek and loving doctrine caused division among the people. Do you know why? It separates the sheep from the goats. That is why it brings division. It brings schism about His person. See His blessed invitation to come unto Him in MAT 11:28-30: "Come unto me [the same invitation that we see in JOH 7:37-38], all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

I want you to see how He distinguishes who will come. In JOH 7:37: If any man thirst, let him come unto me. Do you see who it is? It is those who have the grace of God, those who have the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts. They have the invitation. Do you know why? Only they will come. That is why. Now, He says, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden"-that is what divides the sheep from the goats. That is where we have to examine our hearts. Are we able to come unto Christ? There is only one thing that stands between us. The only qualification is our desire to come. Do we hunger and thirst for Him? Is there something in Him that catches our affection? Or are we filled with animosity against Him because the light of the gospel shining in our hearts is a condemnation that drives us away from Him?

Now look at verse 29: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [The simplicity of the gospel offends the Pharisaical religion.] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." This verse invites us to come into and under His kingship.

Now, the division among this mixed multitude revealed that there was a historical knowledge of the promised Messiah. We can have an intellectual knowledge. We can have a historical knowledge, and it can still be based on our perverted understanding of it. We can have the highest theological training. The scribes and the Pharisees not only had the highest training, but they were the teachers, and their perverted understanding brought them to murder the very Messiah who was sent to save. They had only historical and intellectual knowledge.

Look at JOH 7:40-42: "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. [Now, who were they? They were the common people. But, now we get those who have this historical knowledge.] But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"

They seemed to understand the letter of the Word, but they understood it in a historical sense, and they so pitifully overlooked those three little words, where Christ says: "Then ye shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God." Those three little words, they overlooked. And what were they? Will (or willing), do and will (or delighting to do the pleasure of). Those three words. They overlooked in the doctrine of Jesus those three very simple words.

We see it in JOH 7:17: "If any man will [in other words, if any man is willing, if it is your desire to do the will or the pleasure of the Father] he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." That is where their blindness came from. Their wills, their affections, were centered on self-exaltation. They were so proud of their knowledge and of their wisdom of the Word and their doctor in the law that they didn’t understand simple, plain Hebrew. You could take the very Word of God and show it to them, "This is what it says," and when they get done interpreting it, they made God out for a liar. The same thing happens today.

They could quote prophecies as they understood them in line with their own commandments of men, but they rejected the true Messiah who came to fulfill those very prophecies. See what Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah coming out of Galilee. They are saying: "Ariseth any prophet out of Galilee?" That made it that this was not the Christ in their estimation. Look what Isaiah says as quoted in MAT 4:14-16. I want you to see their blindness. The Lord Jesus Christ took Isaiah to show that very principle: "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles [that is where Jesus would come forth. That is where His ministry would begin]; The people which sat in darkness saw great light [Isaiah prophesied that the ministry of the Messiah would begin in Galilee]; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

That was a prophecy of Isaiah. And they are saying: "Does any prophet come out of Galilee?" The scribes, Pharisees and chief priests seemed to understand that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but overlooked that He would be taken into Egypt to fulfill Scripture. MAT 2:15 says, "And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." This is important to understand. They didn’t follow up and see what would be necessary for Jesus in the way of fulfilling the Scriptures. They were silent on parts of the prophesy.

Now for reference you can look at HOS 11:1. That is the Scripture that prophesied this, and they overlooked it. They didn’t understand that this is what brought Him to Nazareth. They also overlooked that it was prophesied that Jesus would be called a Nazarene. Look at MAT 2:23. This chain of events they had never followed in their study of the Scriptures: "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." And they are saying, "Does any prophet come out of Galilee?" I want you to see their blindness, and you look at JUD 13:5, and you will see that prophecy, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

These blind leaders of the blind derided Nicodemus for asking in JOH 7:51-52: "Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." See how they revealed their own ignorance of the prophecies of the Scriptures.

These proud leaders and rulers of God's heritage boasted of how familiar they were with Scripture, but see how empty and vain an intellectual knowledge is without the grace of God in the heart. You can have such an intellectual knowledge of the Scriptures without reading them in context.

I was reading a passage of Scripture to a man and showing him just black on white what it said. "Well, let me show you what John Gill says." I don’t care what John Gill says; I don’t need John Gill to make the Word of God a lie. It is the Pharisaical atmosphere of making the Word of God a lie. The Lord Jesus Christ said He was the Son of God, and they are going to make Him a liar by their perverted, twisted handling of the prophecies, when in fact the prophecies prophesied the very thing for which they came against Him. These very things were done for the fulfilling of those prophecies, and those scribes and Pharisees contended they were the ones with so much knowledge.

Studying and meditating in the Scriptures is very profitable. I do not mean to slight the wealth that is gained by studying and meditating on the Scriptures. We should not be discouraged by any means, but mere head knowledge is insufficient. The Lord wants heart religion, and He so clearly tells us what precedes a saving knowledge of the doctrine of eternal salvation. It all centers in three small words. I am not saying this. The Lord Jesus Christ is saying this. Look at JOH 7:17: "If any man will." If you are willing to do the pleasure of God, then you will understand His doctrine.

Now I want you to see how greatly important this is. I want you to see that this is the very foundation upon which the church of Christ is built. It is so important that we understand this. The simplicity of such doctrine was so offensive to the proud that they could not refrain revealing their malicious desire to kill Jesus for proclaiming it.

You can see that in JOH 7:20: "The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil." He was teaching them the simplicity of the gospel. If you understand those three words, you understand the doctrines of Christ, and they answered and said, "Thou hast a devil."

The simplicity of the gospel is the greatest offense to the proud who esteem themselves as such authorities of God's Word. Look at JOH 9:32-33. Here we have a case of a man born blind. The man was unlearned, and he was teaching the proud Pharisees a lesson that they refused to receive: "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing." That is the testimony of an unlearned man whose eyes were opened. And in verse 34: "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?" [Oh that was so humiliating to them that this man who was unlearned was teaching them.] And they cast him out." Was it not the simple logic of this unlearned man that infuriated the wise?

Look at JOH 9:24-25: "Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not [he wasn’t going to pass judgment on the man]: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." They were blind and thought they saw. See what Jesus said to these blind hypocrites. "Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (JOH 9:41)

The man that was born blind said: "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind." That is when the gospel enters the soul. Then we acknowledge that we are blind. He said: "I was blind, but now I see." You and I, every human being, by nature, are born spiritually blind. Now, this man says: "One thing I know, I was blind, but now I see."

The blindness of these empty professors who were such authorities in themselves was not only revealed, but also denied by this miracle. Look at JOH 9:39-41. I want you to see how the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and applies this very principle: "And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." He is telling them if you understood and realized that you were spiritually blind, there would be forgiveness, but where you say you see and you are blind, "therefore your sin remains." This man who was born blind said, "One thing I know. I was blind, but now I see."

The most terrible part of the blindness of such Pharisaical religion is that the blindness is deliberate. It is a deliberate blindness. They could see that this is what the Word of God says, but what they believe stands above the Word of God. They thereby make God a liar, and thereby their blindness is sin, because it is deliberate.

Look at JOH 7:45-48: "Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." [They heard it. They understood it. They understood the logic of what He said, and they rejected it. Their spiritual blindness was such a curse because it was deliberate. They didn’t want the truth.] Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" They were concerned about the crumbling of their own empire.

When they (as they supposed), had succeeded by having Jesus nailed to the cross, see how they railed on Him. This is that same group, that same hateful, spiteful, jealous group who had seen and understood and who were deliberately blind to the truth. Look at MAT 27:41-42: "Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. [There was more truth in what they said than you and I understand. The Lord Jesus was not able to save Himself and save others because it was by His death as our substitute that He saved us. These people did not understand what they were saying.] If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him."

Did they believe Him when He came forth out of grave? They paid the soldiers to lie. They deliberately blinded their whole nation to the truth because they did not love the truth. They had absolutely no desire for the truth.

Not only were they blinded by their own furry against Him, but also they were under the curse of God spoken of in 2TH 2:10-12. They were perverting the truth. They had no love for the truth. They revealed the very spirit of the Antichrist. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish [they were deceivers; they were liars; they were willfully, deliberately perverting the truth]; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Do you see what is the obstacle to salvation? Let him that is athirst come. On the other side of that same principle, they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. Jesus proclaimed the truth with such power, crying out, restrained them: Never spake man like this man. They saw the truth of what He spoke. They understood it, but rejected it. They did not love the truth.

These are such solemn realities for those who willfully and deliberately reject the truth. God will send a strong delusion that they will believe a lie, so they can rest on something short of Christ to the end that they might all be damned, who believe not the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness.

What a blessed consolation there is for the living church of Christ in the case scenario we have for our study. See what we read in MAT 16:16-18: "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of His enemies, stood there with officers and soldiers coming to take Him and to murder Him. He didn’t run, He didn’t alter what He was saying. The gates of hell could not prevail against Him. What a consolation this is for you and me.

"That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." It is important now that we understand what that means. This is such a blessed confirmation of the doctrine of Jesus, i.e., "If any man will do His will." When you study some of these common words, then we start to understand the true meaning of the gospel.

Peter's name Simon comes from the root word Shama (Shaw-mah) in the Hebrew which means, "obedience" and Barjona, or son of Jona, comes from the root word Yownah (yo-nah)" in the Hebrew which means "dove." The dove is a symbol of holiness.

Look at SON 6:9a: "My dove, my undefiled is but one." So, now Simon Barjona means "obedience, the offspring of holiness." This is the foundation on which Christ’s church is built. What a blessed consolation it is to see the perfect harmony of what Christ says: "If you will do his will, you shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God." Do you see how this Scripture is being perverted today as though the apostle Peter was one to whom we bow down? No. Simon Barjona, "upon this rock," the name Peter in the original, and the word rock in the original are the same word in the Greek. That was a surname that was given to him by Christ. In other words, it is the foundation upon which He will build His church. What is it that we build on that foundation? "Obedience, which is the offspring of holiness." There is the foundation of our salvation.

When our Saviour said, "thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," He was saying that "obedience" and "holiness" are the foundation stones of the church against which "the gates of hell shall not prevail." When you and I learn to understand what it is to love to do His will, when we learn to understand what it is to love the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will understand what it is to build on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we start building on the rock.

I want you to see this confirmed in LUK 6:47-48. I want you to see the harmony in Scripture on these principles. "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." Obedience, the offspring of holiness is building on the rock.

Now I want you to see in HEB 12:14: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Without obedience, without holiness, there is no salvation because these are the fruits and these are the evidences of the work of grace. When the Holy Spirit works grace in the heart - when the divine influence of the Holy Spirit comes upon the heart the fruit of it is, We love God. See what Jesus said in JOH 14:15-16 "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." Did you ever notice that word And in there? That means Christ’s intercessory prayer for us depends upon keeping His commandments!

The simplicity of such a doctrine is so powerful it cannot be gainsaid--yet it was such a stumbling block to the self-wise rulers of the church. Our text says in JOH 7:45-46: "Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." The simplicity of such a gospel is so powerful and is so forceful, there is no answer to it.

What was it that Jesus said that they found so powerful? Look at JOH 7:37-38: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst [do you have your affections set on things above? Do you have a thirst after that holiness, after righteousness?], let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

How is the believer satisfied? By "coming" to Christ, and "drinking," i.e., by receiving from Him. When you drink you are receiving from Christ, having our emptiness filled out of Christ's fullness. This does not refer to a single act, but to a way of life! It is not just a given time that a certain thing happened, and then I am saved only to go on living as usual. This is speaking about a way of life. It is a complete change of the inner man. It is the renewing of the mind. It is the renewal of the complete attitude toward God. It is a renewal of a complete attitude toward sin. The believer grows in grace. Where do you find peace and rest? It is in Christ!

How do we obtain this? It begins with a conscious need (or thirsting). It all begins with a consciousness that we need Christ, that we have a need of a change of attitude, that we have a need of being converted to be a different person. Only Christ can satisfy this when He is appropriated to us personally. Until Christ is appropriated to my soul, I’ll never have satisfaction of that craving desire.

To every thirsting soul there is an irresistible power in those words--"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The power in these words restrained the most hellish enemies of our Saviour. Our text says in JOH 7:45-46: "Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." Even the unbelieving; even those who loved not the truth, found those words so powerful a restraint that they were not able to put forth their hands and put a finger on Him. Amen.


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