Faithful God, I come to you today with thanksgiving for your work of grace in me.
Read LUKE 11:37-54
Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law
37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8).
Lunch with a Pharisee—lovely! A perfect mission opportunity for Jesus, or so you’d think! But it doesn’t turn out that way. Instead, it all kicks off when Jesus doesn’t wash his hands (v 38)—a religious ritual for supposedly getting rid of any stains guests might have picked up from the sinful world outside. And right there is the problem. The Pharisees are all about how things look on the outside, no matter how rotten things are inside.
Now of course, we’re not Pharisees or law teachers opposing Jesus—we’re his followers—but we need to be sure there’s no hint in us of what Jesus accuses them of. If it’s wrong for them, it’s got to be wrong for us. Let’s be prayerful and careful about this. The sense of what Jesus says is devastating. For instance, it’s like:
- cups and dishes (vs 39-41) that look nice and clean on the outside but are filthy inside where it really matters;
- measuring out pinches of herbs (v 42) while you ignore the weight of the world’s injustices;
- everyone looking admiringly your way, except God (v 43);
- thinking you’re walking the way of life, when actually you’re treading the pathway to death (v 44) and taking plenty of others with you.
Discipleship often involves self-examination, though we often forget. Take time to evaluate your walk with God. Are there places where you need to be in better step with him?
Jesus, help me to see myself as you see me, help me to will for change where I need to be more like you. I want to please you in all that I am and do.
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