Thursday, January 14, 2021

2021.01.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 11:37–54

Read Luke 11:37–54

Questions from the Scripture text: Who asks Jesus to do what in Luke 11:37? What does Jesus do? At what does the Pharisee marvel (Luke 11:38)? What does Jesus say Pharisees clean (Luke 11:39a)? But with what does Jesus say the inside is filthy (verse 39b)? What does Jesus then call them (Luke 11:40)? About Whom does He now ask them? What does He give as a sample symptom of inner cleanliness (Luke 11:41)? What does He now pronounce upon the Pharisees (Luke 11:42)? What do they do? What do they pass by? Which of these ought they have done? For what second reason does He pronounce a woe upon them (Luke 11:43)? Whom does Jesus add to the third woe (Luke 11:44)? What does He say they are like? What happens to someone who touches a grave (cf. Numbers 19:16)? Who complains about what in Luke 11:45? Upon whom does Jesus respond by pronouncing a woe (Luke 11:46)? For their doing what? But not doing what? For what does he pronounce a second woe (Luke 11:47)? Of what does Jesus say the lawyers approve (Luke 11:48)? What had God’s wisdom said (Luke 11:49)? So that what would happen (Luke 11:50-51)? For what does Jesus pronounce the third woe upon the lawyers—what did they take away (Luke 11:52)? What did they not do? What did the scribes and Pharisees begin to do (Luke 11:53)? What did they then do (Luke 11:54)?

Jesus has been talking about how we respond to His Word (Luke 11:29–36), and a Pharisee invites Him over for dinner (Luke 11:37) but is astonished that Jesus doesn’t perform the intricate ritual washing that the Pharisee expected (Luke 11:38). 

The text doesn’t even record for us that the Pharisee said anything. But Jesus launches into a scathing denouncement of the Pharisees, lumping the scribes (writing-guys) into the third pronouncement of woe (Luke 11:44). The lawyers (law-guys) take offense which gets us three more woes—all six having ultimately to do with how we respond to the Lord Jesus’s Word. What six things must we watch against in relation to God’s Word?

Ignoring that the God Who spoke it sees right to the innermost parts of our hearts (Luke 11:39-41). There are really seven things to watch for, because Jesus declares this one first of all, as a reason for the six woes. When we read or hear the Bible, we are interacting personally with Him Who created all things, including us, and especially our eternal souls. To expose that they did not respond to the living God from the heart, Jesus picks the one thing that the self-righteous of His day seemed most unable to bring themselves to do (Luke 11:41, cf. Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22). 

Selective obedience to some of the Bible but not all (Luke 11:42). Notice that they’re not criticized for caring about the minutiae. “These you ought to have done.”

Using Word/worship gatherings to satisfy desire for recognition that saturates our lives (Luke 11:43). Their priority in the synagogue was the same as in the marketplace: honor from men.

Attempting to appear better than we are, and so endangering everyone around us (Luke 11:44). Jesus lumps the scribes into this one, implying that He is still emphasizing response to the Word. The hypocrite had two faces—a real one, and the one that he put on for everyone else to see. But this makes him very dangerous. 

Stepping on a grave made you unclean for a week (cf. Numbers 29:16), so it was very important that they be well-marked. Hypocrisy does more than just lie before God and man. We are to have fellowship with one another in the light, but hypocrisy endangers those around us of missing that the hypocrite is spiritually dead and harmful.

Being noisy about what others should do, but not actually doing anything to help them (Luke 11:46). This isn’t just something that we should be doing with our actions, coming alongside one another in the various works of the six days, and in keeping the Lord’s Day together. But also, in our conversation—and for those of us in preaching and teaching offices—we need to be making much of Christ, as it is out of our union with Him by faith that the life and strength for genuine godliness comes. If there is little of Him in our talk, then we will be guilty of that unhelpfulness for which Jesus here condemns the lawyers.

Tolerance and/or cooperation with those who resist God’s Word and God’s servants (Luke 11:47-51). When we forget that these are personal attacks upon God, we go down the same path that for the generation in Luke 11 ended with their executing the Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus pointed to their love for the Scripture-twisting rabbinic tradition that went back even to those who opposed the clear and bold preaching of the prophets in the Old Testament. We need to be able to renounce, upon the Word of God, even that which has long-standing tradition.

Not only misusing God’s Word, but resisting its proper use by others (Luke 11:52). Those who do not like to emphasize the worship of God characterize godly piety as “pietism.” Those who do not like to emphasize obedience to God characterize joyous and zealous obedience as “legalism.” Such shaming caricatures hinder others from part or all of a proper knowing of God and His Word. 

And of course, those whom Jesus accused of doing these things immediately vindicated what He had said by responding not with repentance but by attacking Him for saying it (Luke 11:53-54)!

Of these seven, which might you more need to watch against? Why? How will you?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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