The Six Woes (Luke 11:37-53)

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 greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men 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 forefathers who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.  (Luke 11:37-48)

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 left there, 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.  (Luke 11:52-53)

Learn it:

            Jesus gets done teaching crowds of people and enters into the house of a Pharisee.  Upon entering the house, the Pharisee’s notice that Jesus does not wash his feet and they wonder why he is not fulling the Jewish customs.  Jesus perceives these questions within the Pharisees, and it leads him into these six “woes”.  He warns them against being so legalistic about their tithing, loving pride, and do not set a good example for their followers.  They are so focused on following the rules and being loved that they forgot to love others.

            Then an expert in the law speaks up saying that Jesus is being mean, so Jesus focuses his attention to them.  These experts in the law keep creating new laws and customs for people to follow.  This is becoming burdensome to the people.  He also says that they have the keys to knowing God’s will, but they are actually hindering people coming to know God!  People see them and think, “Why would I follow their God when his followers are so mean?”  After Jesus gives them these warnings, they are very upset.  They want Jesus to say something wrong and find a way to stop him. 

Live it:

            We as Christian’s must learn a lesson from the Pharisee’s and experts in the law.  We have to be careful that we are not so focused on the rules we read in Scripture that we neglect pursuing justice and loving people.  An example that we read in Scripture is about remembering the Sabbath.  Yes, it’s a good thing to find rest during the week.  Some people choose to have a day of rest on Sunday or on Saturday.  We should not let our day of rest stop us from helping someone if they reach out to us.  We should be willing to sacrifice our rest in order to help them. 

            This is where our actions and speak volumes.  If the world sees Christians seeking justice and loving the world, it will open them up to talking about God.  But the opposite is true as well.  If Christian’s are so focused on following all of God’s rules and trying to be right, it will push people away.  It’s a difficult thing we as Christians have to find balance in.  Being in the world but not of the world.  

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