The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 11 ~ Part 3: Luke 11:37-54

Luke 11 Part 3 vs 37-54

Outline of Luke Chapter 11:

F. Instruction on Prayer, Luke 11:1-13.

1. The Lord’s Prayer Template, vs. 1-4.
2. Instruction for Persistence in your Requests to God, vs. 4-13.

G. Rejection by the Nation, Luke 11:14-36.

1. The Divided Kingdom, vs 14-26.
2. Observers of the Word are the Blessed Ones, vs. 27-28.
3. Prophecy of Judgment against the Nation, vs. 29-36.

a. Jonah a sign of Jesus as the Messiah, vs. 29-30.
b. Various Judges against that Generation in the Judgment, vs. 31-32.
c. The Lamp Analogy; Encouragement to Believe, vs. 33-36.

H. Rejection by Pharisees and Lawyers, Luke 11:37-54.

1. Rebuke of the Pharisees Unbelief, vs. 37-44.
2. Rebuke of the Lawyers Unbelief, vs. 45-52.
3. The Plotted Revenge of the Pharisees and Lawyers, vs. 53-54.

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4 5 20-Luke11vs37-44-Inward heart of grace and love God desires-cleansed inside and out thru Christ sacrifice on Cross-throw off self-righteousness see Jesus clearly and serve others

  1. Rebuke of the Pharisees Unbelief, vs. 37-44.

In the previous section of Luke’s narrative, he draws an indelible line through the universe, dividing the kingdom of God from the dominion of darkness / evil; God’s side of the conflict from Satan’s. Having done so, Luke invites the reader to engage with each character in the narrative and then determine which side of the line to choose. With this cosmology established, Luke now turns to the conflict with the Pharisees.

Early in the narrative, the Pharisees and other religious authorities presented mild opposition to Jesus, yet these challenges foretold of greater conflict. For several chapters, they have fallen into the background of the story, as there has been no mention of the Pharisees since the end of Chapter 7. Nevertheless, the Lord’s ministry put Him on a collision course with the religious authorities in Jerusalem. Consequently, the remaining narrative will prominently feature His conflict with the Pharisees, begging the question of those involved, and of us, “Which side of this conflict have you chosen for yourself?”

Vs. 37

Luke 11:37, “Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch, (Verb, ARISTAO, John 21:12, 15), with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table.”

Even though the Pharisees have been antagonistic towards Jesus and his followers, Jesus, in grace, accepts the invitation to dine with them. As we will see below, even though Jesus was an invited guest, He did not hesitate to use the situation to reprove and rebuke the false general attitude of the Pharisees, in the hopes that they would repent.

Vs. 38

Luke 11:38, “When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised (THAUMAZO, cf. vs. 14) that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal.”

We do not know much of who this Pharisee was. He might have been an antagonist towards Jesus, or he might have been truly interested in what Jesus had to teach, like Nicodemus of John 3. We see here that “he was surprised,” THAUMAZO, which means, “to wonder, admire, be astonished, or be amazed.” It might mean he had positive volition towards Jesus, cf. vs. 14. Yet, he was marveling at what Jesus was not doing at this time, which was not “ceremonially washing,” BAPTIZO, “before the meal,” the Noun ARISTON, Mat 22:4; Luke 14:14.

Nevertheless, he was a Pharisee steeped in legalism, and previously we have noted some self-righteous Pharisees who had accused Him and His disciples of not washing first, which was in accordance with their man made traditions, and not the Law of God, cf. Mat 15:2; Mark 7:1-5.  This is where the Catholics get their “holy water” washing before entering the church from. So, clearly, he was on the wrong track and either was judging Jesus, or was just curious as to why he did not ceremonially wash.

“Legalism is the search for innocence—not forgiveness. It’s a systematic process of defending self, explaining self, exalting self, and justifying self. The obsession with legalism? Self. Not God. Legalism has no pity on people. Legalism makes my opinion your burden, makes my opinion your boundary, and makes my opinion your obligation.” (Max Lucado, Upwords.)

In general, the Pharisees were upset because Jesus did not wash his hands according to “their custom.” The issue was not Jesus’s cleanliness; the issue was the Pharisees’ traditions. They wanted Jesus to show respect for their religious customs even though their customs really had nothing to do with God’s commands.

Vs. 39

Luke 11:39, “But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.”

Vs. 39-40, are paralleled in Mat 23:25-26.

In either scenario of this Pharisees viewpoint regarding Jesus and His not washing, Jesus took this opportunity to unload on the Pharisees in general. He did not hold back in His reproving and rebuking of their general tenants and false religion. Having not obeyed the Pharisees tradition of washing, Jesus then used another tradition of the Pharisees in the ritual of cleansing, in His rebuke.

Jesus clearly intended the “cup” and the “platter” to be symbols of the Pharisees themselves, as they meticulously observed their man-made, outward symbols of piety while ignoring their internal corruption. They bandaged the symptoms of disease while ignoring the infection.

In these two passages, vs. 39-40, Jesus used two contrasting words EXOTHEN, “outside” and ESOTHEN, “inside,” where Jesus pointed out the folly of being so careful to keep material objects clean while the heart is polluted with self-righteous legalistic arrogance that amounts to human good, which is rejected by God.

Similarly, in Mat 23:27, which also correlates to vs. 44, below, Jesus spoke about the Pharisees who, like whitewashed tombs, appeared beautiful outwardly, EXOTHEN, but inwardly, ESOTHEN, they were full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.

Mat 23:27, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Cup,” is the Noun POTERION, ποτήριον, “cup or drinking vessel.” It is used for a literal cup, but is also used for the Communion cup in Mat 26:27; Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17, 20; 1 Cor 10:16; 11:25-28. In that it represents the sacrifice Jesus would make on behalf of all mankind upon the Cross, which was the plan and will of God the Father for Jesus’ life. Therefore, it represents Jesus’s spiritual life that culminated in sacrifice for the sins of the entire world upon the Cross, cf. Mat 26:39, 42; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 22:42; John 18:11; 1 Cor 10:21. As such, and in its other figurative uses for either living the spiritual life or living the cosmic life, Rev 14:10; 16:19; 17:4; 18:6; 1 Cor 10:21. It speaks of making a decision to live unto God and Christ in the spiritual life of God’s will and plan, in and by grace, or living inside of Satan’s cosmic system by your own human good works, of which the latter includes self-righteous legalistic arrogance like that of the Pharisees, as a result of their humanistic religious viewpoint.

Platter,” is an interesting use, which is the noun PINAX, πίναξ that means, “platter, plate, or dish,” because its only other use in the NT, is in the narrative of when Herod beheaded John the Baptist at the request of his step daughter and had his head presented to her on a platter, Mat 14:8-11; Mark 6:25-28, which speaks of sin and evil; wickedness.

Then we see Jesus’ incensed frustration with the Pharisees, as He uttered this scathing denunciation of their hypocrisy and that of the Lawyers. In our verse, rather than saying they were like “dead men’s bones and unclean,” He used an actual category of sin and a catchall word for sin.

“Full of robbery,” is the Noun HARPAGE, ἁρπαγή “plunder, spoil, greed, or robbery.” Only used in Mat 23:25; Heb 10:34.

“Wickedness,” is the Noun PONERIA, πονηρία, “wickedness, depravity, and sinfulness.” In its ethical sense, it means opposition to God. It describes the Pharisees’ resistance to Jesus, Mat 22:18; Luke 11:39, the sinful state of human beings prior to redemption, Mark 7:22; Acts 3:26; Rom 1:29; 1 Cor 5:8, and the evil resolve of opposing spiritual forces, Eph 6:12.

Eph 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Here, Jesus called their self-righteous legalism “wickedness” in the face of their self-viewpoint of being holy and righteous. They observed their man-made rules and regulations of ceremonial cleanliness, yet with polluted hearts, a practice that God has always found repulsive, Isa 1:10-17; 58:4-8; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8. Furthermore, they mistakenly believed their outward deeds could cleanse their inner corruption.

Vs. 40

Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”

“You foolish ones,” uses the Adjective APHRON, ἄφρων that means, “foolish, inconsiderate, or rash.” In classical Greek, it has the idea of being “senseless.” In the NT, it means the person who acts in ignorance, the one who is opposed to God, or the one who does not understand God’s ways. Our Lord is recorded as only using it one other time in Luke 12:20. The other times it is used in the NT, is by Paul and once by Peter.

Luke 12:20, “But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?””

Jesus is saying that God made the entire essence of the person; body and soul. Therefore, they needed to treat the soul, (the inside, ESOTHEN, of a man), just as well as they treated the body, (the outside, EXOTHEN, of the man), because God made both, and both belong to Him. Therefore, both should be given to God for worship and service. We are to give Him both our inward heart and our outward deeds. Not just one or the other. Therefore, Jesus charged them with superficiality because of their legalistic conceit, and reminds them that God not only sees their outward acts, which appear pious, but He is also the Knower of their heart.

Vs. 41

Luke 11:41, “But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you.”

Jesus uses another misstep of the Pharisees in His rebuke, giving to the poor. This is an interesting saying. “Give that which is within charity.” “Charity,” is the Noun ELEEMOSUNE ἐλεημοσύνη that means, “kind act, merciful, or alms.” It is related to the Verb ELEEO, “to show mercy or sympathy.” It came to describe “gifts of mercy,” and in the LXX was used for “righteousness and mercy.” Righteous-ness, therefore, was the exercise or fulfillment of that religious obligation in accordance with Divine law. It had to do with loving your neighbor. So, this could be rendered “give from the inside / heart.”

Most usages in the NT, have to do with “giving of alms / charity” to the poor. There were basically two kinds of alms:

1) “Gifts of the chest,” which was money accrued on the Sabbath in the offering chest of the synagogue that was intended for the use of the poor.

2) “Gifts of the cup,” that were food and money gathered in begging cups by the poor, typically in the streets.

The Pharisees loved to make a big scene in their giving to the poor and many times did it with much pomp and circumstance. They would make a big outward expression of their giving that did not match what was truly in their heart. Therefore, Jesus demonstrated the importance of the attitude of the giver.

One should not give in order to be noticed by men, Mat 6:1-4; Luke 14:12-14. Against the prideful “charity” of the Pharisees, Jesus placed the widow’s small but heartfelt gift, Mark 12:41-44; cf. 1 Cor 13:3. The value of the gift itself has little significance; its value is considered in relation to the love and self-sacrifice which lie behind the gift. Therefore, it is when we give freely from a heart of love and compassion that we are truly made clean before the Lord. Such giving knows no boundaries of law and is free before the Lord.

Titus 1:13-16, “This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

“Then all things are clean for you,” uses the Adjective KATHROS that means, “clean or pure” and carries the connotation of “ritual cleanness,” and the opposite of that which is false.

“In the Various Versions Williams has an interesting paraphrase for the words “give alms of such things as you have”: “dedicate once for all your inner self.” If the inner problems of greed and general wickedness are removed, only then are acts of giving regarded by God as being pure. This is the idea behind the phrase “all things are clean to you.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)

James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” It is interesting how this passage keeps coming up in comparison to the word usage in Luke 11.

Heb 10:22, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

John 13:10, “Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed, (LUO), needs only to wash, (NIPTO), his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Because we have been “bathed,” (LUO, cleansed) of our sins positionally for salvation once and for all time through faith in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, we are “completely clean,” KATHROS. Now that we are positionally cleansed / sanctified, we need to wash, (NIPTO, clean) our feet for experiential sanctification. This means the cleansing of sins post salvation from our souls. This is accomplished by God when we apply 1 John 1:9, the confession our sins to God post salvation.

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse, (KATRIZO), us from all unrighteousness.”

Based on our positional bathing / sanctification, we can have experiential washing / sanctification. Therefore, when we apply 1 John 1:9 post salvation, we can fulfill the grace plan of God by being clean on the inside and outside by the “blood of Jesus,” which was His spiritual death upon the Cross when He suffered and paid for our sins.

When we receive “washing” by God post salvation, “cleansed of all unrighteousness,” we have experiential sanctification and thereby walk in the light of Jesus and have fellowship with God, 1 John 1:7.

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses, (KATRIZO), us from all sin.”

Therefore, to have true cleansing on the inside and outside, we first need to believe in Jesus as our Savior, at one time in our lives, and then confess to God the Father any sins we have committed post salvation. This inward cleansing leads to walking in the light and fellowship with God, as well as the filling of the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:7-18. With the filling of the Holy Spirit, we apply the Word of God to our lives and therefore have charity in all that we do; until we sin again. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are clean on the inside and outside and all that we do gives glory to God in demonstrating His holiness, mercy, grace, and love to those in darkness.

The pure in heart, (those with integrity and moral uprightness, charged with God’s love), typify Christian behavior, 1 Tim 1:5, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, believers can stand with pure hearts before God, 2 Tim 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

Therefore, with the positional cleansing at salvation and the experiential cleansing through 1 John 1:9, we can fulfill God’s will and plan to Luke 11:41, “…give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you,” where both our inside and outside are sanctified unto God.

Now, we turn to the “woe,” (the Interjection OUAI that denotes pain  or displeasure as a result of punitive disciple or judgment), warnings, as also used by our Lord in Luke 6:24-26; 10:13. The following six warnings to the Pharisees and Lawyers/Scribes are paralleled with the eight “woes” in Mat 23:13-29.

Vs. 42

Luke 11:42, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

The first woe in Luke, is paralleled in Mat 23:33. It condemns the Pharisees for their self-righteous arrogance when paying their “tithes,” APODEKATOO, ἀποδεκατόω, “tithe, collect a tithe from, or pay the tenth of,” from APO, “from,” and DEKATOS, “tenth.” It is only used here and in Luke 18:12; Mat 23:23, Heb 7:5.

In Luke 18, it was the parable of the self-righteous man who relied on his deeds for his righteousness, as noted in his arrogant prayer in vs. 12, “I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.” Jesus’ response to that type of attitude is in vs. 14b, “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

A tithe was ten percent of Jewish income tax where both the unbeliever and the believer paid. Tithing is not spiritual giving in the OT. Spiritual giving is limited to believers only and tithing was a ten percent income tax under the Mosaic Law, Codex number three, which deals with the laws of Divine establishment.

Actually, there were three ten percent taxes under the ten percent rule of income tax in the Mosaic Law for all Jewish citizens to give, believers and unbelievers. The categories of tithing in Israel included:

1) To the Levites went ten percent for the maintenance and sustenance of the Levitical priesthood, Num 18:20-21, 24; Heb 7:5, 9. This may seem to authorize a national church. It does not. You must remember that in the previous dispensation it was the Levitical priesthood who handled all of the national holidays. They offered all the sacrifices at every one of the special feasts, as well as the feast of the trumpets, and on the first day of each month.

2) A tenth was to be used for the sacred feasts and sacrifices, Deut 12:17-19; 14:22-27.

3) Every third year, there was a third ten percent taxation. This was for a charity tax for the poor of the land, this was not welfare, it was charity, Deut 14:28-29. This correlates to our Lord’s rebuke in vs. 40-41.

Remember that the tithe is defined in the Scripture as a ten percent income tax for the citizens of Israel only, both believers and unbelievers. Because it included unbelievers, and because it was a tax, it is not regarded as spiritual giving. It is regarded as an obligation called income tax. Spiritual giving is presented in the Mosaic Law under one word, “offerings.” Offerings were for believers only.

In fact, tithe predates the Law, as Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek, Gen 14:17-20; Heb 7:1-10.

Mat 23:23; Luke 11:42, are illustrative of references to tithing in the Gospels. Whenever you find a reference to tithing in the Gospels, it illustrates the distortion of the Law through legalism. The references there all have to do with the condemnation of legalism. The Talmud extension of the Mosaic Law distorted the entire concept of tithing. The Pharisees at the time of our Lord extended it to the minutest details of life not required by the Mosaic Law.

Tithing is not a part of NT giving; it has nothing to do with the Church Age. In 1 Cor 16:1-2, tithing has never been spiritual giving at all in the Church Age. The amount that you give to the local church is strictly between you and the Lord. It does not have to be ten percent; it can be more or less. Giving is the expression of worship of the Royal Priesthood and therefore is not related with tithing, and never can be. Why? Because, while the priesthood can receive ten percent, it can never give ten percent to anyone. The Royal Priesthood is the highest of all priesthoods and as such it never deals in ten percent. 2 Cor 8 – 9, is a detailed dissertation on giving for the Royal Priesthood. Tithing is never mentioned as related to giving in this dispensation.

The types of tithing mentioned here were first “mint,” HEDOUSMOS, only here and Mat 23:23, that refers to a small scented plant which was cultivated and grown in Palestine. It also grew wild in various varieties, and Pharisees paid tithe on it, even though the Law did not require this.

Next is “rue,” PEGANON, only used here in the NT, which is an aromatic plant widely used as a condiment, in medicines, and as a charm. This might be a word that was changed over the years in this passage, and most likely should read, “dill,” or ANETHON, because, the reading of p45 (Third Century A.D.) favors ANETHON; and the parallel passage of Mat 23:23, has ANETHON instead of PEGANON. In addition, according to the Mishnah, it was not necessary to tithe rue. Interestingly, these first two speak of aromatic scents that smell good, yet the Pharisees’ tithes stunk badly.

And thirdly, “every kind of garden herb,” uses PAS with the Noun LACHANON, that means, “vegetable or herb,” Mat 13:32; Mark 4:32; Rom 14:2. These are not wild but domesticated plants. This one speaks of food for sustenance, yet the Pharisees kept their congregants from receiving the spiritual substance they needed in Jesus Christ.

So, we see tithes according to the Law and those not prescribed by the Law, yet Jesus uses them all because it was their mental attitude in giving that need correction, as noted in the next phrase, “And yet disregard justice and the love of God.” Literally it says they “pass by,” PARERCHOMAI, “judgment,” KRISIS and “love,” AGAPE, “of God,” THEOS. They did not have justice, mercy, or love in their souls for others; only for themselves.

In Jesus’ rebuke He states, “But these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” The Pharisees went beyond the Law’s requirements in their man-made ritualistic details of their religion, yet they completely ignored the Law’s moral principles of having justice and love in their hearts based on God’s Word being resident within their souls, when they entered into their giving. Instead, they made their giving a ritualistic process for acceptance by God, which God does not accept, Isa 1:10-17; 58:4-8; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8.

Isa 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Therefore, we cannot neglect the love of God and love of neighbor when the whole Law is summed up in those two points.

Vs. 43

Luke 11:43, “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the market places.”

The second woe is also seen as a warning Mat 23:6f; Mark 12:38f; Luke 20:46.

Here, the rebuke has to do with the approbation lust of the Pharisees. They “loved,” AGAPAO, the “first seat” PROTOKATHEDRIA, “place of honor or best seat,” Mat 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 20:46, from PROTO and KATHEDRA. They liked being in the “front row.” These seats were designated in the “synagogues,” SUNAGOGE, and at banquets for honored or distinguished guests. In the Synagogues, these seats were places of honor where they could be seen and see best. The seats were arranged in a semicircle around the pulpit. Those seated there could be seen by the entire congregation. These “chief seats” facing the congregation gave the elders a sense of authority over the congregation and putting them in the religious limelight.

Jesus observed and strongly condemned the practice of the Pharisees who competed with one another for these places of honor at public gatherings, and their arrogance and lust regarding them. This was a private acknowledgement of their honor that they arrogantly loved to receive, and many times demanded.

They also loved to receive, “respectful greetings,” ASPASMOS, “in the market places,” AGORAThis was a public acknowledgement of their honor that they arrogantly loved to receive, and many times demanded. Extrabiblical Jewish literature, such as the Talmud, prescribed profuse greetings for teachers of the Law. As such, they considered themselves as the source of life for the Jewish community and expected to be treated as such. They did not devote themselves to religious life to serve others; they expected everyone to serve them.

Therefore, they desire applause and popularity, not God. They want to be worshiped, not offer worship. They think little of God but much of themselves. A Pharisees is one who uses religion for popularity and privilege.

Vs. 44

Luke 11:44, “Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.”

The third woe to the Pharisees is reiterated in Mat 23:27, in a slightly different manner.

Mat 23:27, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Some ancient texts have added, “Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,” to Luke’s account, most likely to align with Matthew’s that led translations like the KJV to include it, but the more reliable texts do not have it.

Our Lord does not condemn an action they are taking this time, instead He just gives a rebuke, “you are like concealed tombs,” using the noun MNEMEION that means, “monument, memorial, grave, tomb, record, or remembrance. Thayer notes that it means, “Any visible object for preserving or recalling the memory of any person or thing; a sepulchral monument.” (Greek-English Lexicon.)

It also uses ADELOS that means, “unseen, uncertain, or not manifest.” It is only used here and 1 Cor 14:8. So, it comes to mean here “unknown grave.” The meaning of this is significant because this meant that someone could come into contact with that grave “without knowing it,” i.e., “The people who walk over them are unaware of it,” OUK OIDA, “without knowledge, knowing fully, understanding, or recognizing it.” If so, according the Law, Num 19:11-22, especially vs. 16, that person would be unclean for seven days, because they were not to touch a dead body or else they would be unclean. The Pharisees considered nothing more potentially defiling than a corpse, which they avoided at all cost. They believed that one became defiled even when one’s shadow crossed a dead body or a grave. That is some of the reason why in the parable to the “Good Samaritan,” the Pharisees bypassed the injured man for fear he was dead and they would be defiled. Because of the fear of defilement, each spring, tombs were coated with a limestone-and-water mixture, (i.e., whitewashed tombs), to make them highly visible to passersby.

Therefore, Jesus is saying, if men came in contact with the Pharisees, they would thus become unclean, not as a result of touching a dead body, but in this case, because of their dead works. Matthew’s account said this clearly at the end of the passage with, “all uncleanness.” Interestingly, during festival times, the Jews would whitewash the graves so visitors to Jerusalem would not step on them and thereby become ceremonially unclean. Such uncleanness would keep the impure from God. So, this strong denunciation from Jesus was quite an insult to the Pharisees.

Jesus called the Pharisees hidden whitewashed tombs, meaning that they, like unrecognizable graves, were hiding their true nature (i.e., death and uncleanliness), because of the self-righteous legalistic arrogance seen in their human good works. Jesus rebuked them with such severity because He recognized the potential danger they held for those who became their followers. Unwittingly, these followers would also be defiled for placing trust in their religious leaders. As Swindoll puts it, “They became agents of defilement rather than mediators of redemption,” (Swindoll’s Living Insights).

Therefore, Jesus was rebuking these Pharisees because of their falsification of the Law and arrogance within their souls. He desired to reprove their way of thinking so that they would come to know the truth and receive the Savior / Messiah / King that was right before them. To do so, they first had to take their eyes off of self and then clearly see Jesus for who He is. As such, we need to remove any legalistic arrogance from our souls so that we too can see Jesus more clearly as we serve one another.

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4 12 20-Luke 11 vs 45-54H. Rejection by Pharisees and Lawyers, Luke 11:37-54.

2. Rebuke of the Lawyers’ Unbelief, vs. 45-52.

In Matthew’s parallel account, Mat 23, Jesus addressed the woe judgments to both the Pharisees and Lawyers/Scribes. Luke chose to break them out between them. So, here we have the woes against the Lawyers/Scribes because of their unbelief that led to false teaching, which led the people away from a true relationship with God as well. The Scribes were concerned with understanding the legal side of the Law as it related to God’s will. While their original purpose had merit, they had become so engrossed with the letter of the Law that they were blind to its spirit or intent. Thus, in their teachings, they too led the people to be engrossed with the details where they could not see the portrait of Jesus Christ.

Vs. 45

Luke 11:45, “One of the lawyers said to Him in reply, “Teacher, when You say this, You insult us too.”

Teacher,” DIDASKALOS, tells us something here. As I have pointed out previously in Luke’s Gospel, calling Jesus “teacher,” while in some instances is a respectful term, was in this instance showing how they truly thought about Him. They did not call Him Lord, as His disciples typically did, because they did not believe that He was their King / Messiah / Savior. They had a humanistic respect for His knowledge and wisdom in teaching, but they never saw Him as God incarnate, their Savior, and therefore, their Lord. Using this term is a subtle indication of their unbelief.

Because of Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees above, these Lawyers were also offended by Jesus’ remarks because they had the same false beliefs and religious structure as the Pharisees. “Insult,” is the Greek Verb in the Present, Active, Indicative of HUBRIZO, ὑβρίζω that means, “treat disgracefully, be insolent to, mistreat, abuse, scoff or insult.” It was used passively to mean, “to be arrogant or rude,” and had the connotation of severity and harshness. The passive meaning is in view here, as Jesus did not physically harm them. Therefore, this comment was a rebuke of Jesus by the Scribes in calling Him arrogant and insulting.

Its other usages in the NT are more of the physical type of mistreatment.

It is used five times in the NT. In addition to Luke’s usage here, it is used in Mat 22:6, for the mistreatment of a slave, in Luke 18:32 for the mistreatment of Jesus leading up to His crucifixion, and in Acts 14:5; 1 Thes 2:2 for the mistreatment of Paul and his companions on their missionary journeys.

Therefore, the Lawyers were in like kind offended / insulted by Jesus’ woe judgments to the Pharisees. This behavior is not surprising; the Pharisees always considered themselves to be correct in their actions and motives. Any rebuke would seem to come from someone whose motives were not correct. In essence, the Lawyer was saying, “You attack one of us, You attack all of us. If You crush this stone, the entire temple is likely to come down on You!” (Swindoll’s Living Insights.)

Nevertheless, even though they were offended at Jesus’s remarks to the Pharisees, Jesus is about to give them their own woe judgments that are even more severe than what He gave to the Pharisees. Remember, the Pharisees led the people, which intensified their accountability before God, yet the Lawyers led the Pharisees, teaching them everything they knew. Therefore, the Scribes could be called “super-Pharisees,” with even more accountability before God; “To whom much is given, much is required,” Luke 12:48.

Next, we have three woe judgments against the Lawyers/Scribes, just as there were three against the Pharisees. Even though the Lawyers revealed the offense they took at Jesus’ previous judgments, Jesus does not placate them or apologize. Instead, He rightly brings rebuke and judgment against their unbelief and subsequent legalism.

Vs. 46

Luke 11:46, “But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

This first woe is paralleled in Mat 23:4.

Jesus was unyielding by the lawyer’s attempt to shut Him up. He understood the nature of their wickedness and that niceties would not penetrate their veneer of self-righteous arrogance.  Therefore, He rightly rebukes the false teaching of legalism that they were peddling.

Jesus’ judgment reads in the Greek, “For you burden the men with burdens heavy to bear.” “Burden” is the verb PHORTIZO, φορτίζω that comes from the shipping industry that means, “to load, burden, or lade.” Therefore, Jesus is rebuking the Lawyers who loaded people with detailed interpretations of the Law that rendered their religion false.

This word is only used here and in Mat 11:28, where in contrast Jesus takes our burdens from us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our verse also twice uses the Noun PHORTION that means, “load, burden, cargo, obligation, or duty.” It is also used in Mat 11:30; 23:4; Gal 6:5. It is intensified with the Adjective, DUSBASTAKTOS, δυσβάστακτος that is only used here in this narrative in Matthew and Luke that means, “difficult or burdensome to carry, or hard to bear (burdens).” Its root, BASTAZO, means, “intolerable or grievous to be borne.” Therefore, the application of the Law that these Scribes were laying down on the shoulders of the people were too much for anyone to bear.

These burdens placed upon the people by the Pharisees and Lawyers were precise stipulations that enslaved them. The Mosaic Law, given by God, was meant to enhance life in Israel, not to restrict it. But through the centuries the “traditions of the elders” had developed to spell out the meaning of the laws. By the time of Jesus, these had accumulated until they were oppressive, managing the smallest detail of family and social life, as well as religious ritual. Interestingly, the history of those days reveals that those who developed these burdensome restrictions many times did not obey them themselves. They imposed the full load of the Law and its guilt on people, binding them without grace while not abiding by it themselves.

That is why Jesus says, “While you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”

Touch,” is the Verb PROSPSAUO. It is only used here in the NT. “Finger” is the noun DAKTULOS. Luke previously used it in vs. 20, in the context of the power of God to cast out demons. In this we have the comparison. The finger / power of God casts out demons from those afflicted, thereby lighting their burden, while the Lawyers, who lay down heavy burdens on the people with their system of human good works, do not participate in them themselves, nor alleviate the people from the true burden of sin, which they claimed the works would do.

The implication is that they purposely made the laws difficult to follow in order to bring about moral failure in others. The Jews labored under a man-made burden of religiosity, an endless list of rules that governed virtually every aspect of life, all based on laws handed down by God, but twisted and inflated to serve the desire of one group of people to dominate another. Because the people could not completely abide by their laws, they would have to go to the Pharisees and Lawyers to seek absolution. As a result, earnest Jews were spiritually demoralized and incapable of meeting their demands. In the end, the scribes remained kings of the moral hill by keeping down earnest Jews. Our Lord tells us in Jer 23:25-40, that He is against the false teacher of false doctrines.

Jer 23:30-32, “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other. 31Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares.’  32Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the LORD, “and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the LORD.”

Therefore, Jesus characterizes them as sadistic hypocrites because of their false teachings. The people were burdened with removing their own sin through their human good works found in the ritualistic and legalistic worship they prescribed, yet the lawyers did not hold themselves to the same laws that they mandated the people to keep. Man cannot remove his own sin. Yet, God can remove our sins because of the Cross of Jesus Christ. As such, Jesus condemned the legal experts for not even being willing to lift a “finger” to help God’s people live righteously, because they were not leading people to the Christ / Messiah / Savior; the only One who could remove their sins and lead them to live righteously before God.

The main point here goes back to vs. 41, “Give your soul to the Lord if you want to be clean.” Self-righteous legalistic types think their works will make them clean and overcome their sin. Yet, our Lord offers His gospel to those who know that their lives are messed up because of sin and that they need a Savior. They know their need for repentance, and they turn to Jesus for His salvation. Sinners who turn to Jesus and trust in Him are cleansed by Christ.  The Christ-Centered Exposition commentary puts it like this:

  • If you accept Christ as your Savior, and follow Him, He will cleanse you both positionally and experientially.
  • If you feel dirty, soiled, and unclean, He will make you anew through the washing of regeneration at salvation, Titus 3:5, and the cleansing of all unrighteousness post-salvation, through the confession of your sins, 1 John 1:9.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

  • If you feel broken and torn apart, come to the one who washes souls, heals, and mends you, who will take the pieces of your life and make you whole. Come to Christ!

Paul explains the proper use of the Law in Gal 3:24: “The law was our schoolmaster / tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”

As for Preachers, be sure your souls are secure in the salvation of Christ. The Puritan pastor Richard Baxter offers sober words for preachers of God’s Word: “Take heed to yourselves lest you should be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach; and lest, while you proclaim the necessity of a Savior to the world, your hearts should neglect Him, and you should miss of an interest in Him and His saving benefits. Take heed to yourselves, lest you perish while you call upon others to take heed of perishing, and lest you famish yourselves while you prepare their food. . . . Many men have warned others that they come not to the place of torment, which yet they hasted to themselves; many a preacher is now in hell, that hath an hundred times called upon his hearers to use the utmost care and diligence to escape it.” (Reformed Pastor, 53)

As for the Church, be careful how you hear the Word of God. You can tell what you prefer by whether or not you accept the hard truth gladly or become an enemy of the truth teller. When a hard truth hits a hard heart, you get sparks and resistance. You cannot soften the truth or it ceases to be the truth. A hard heart must be broken. What breaks it is the truth of God’s Word, Jer 23:29. “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” God expects His word to fall like a hammer and break up the rocky heart. A good preacher never shades or softens the truth. He never preaches the truth unlovingly, but he does preach it unflinchingly. That is how our Lord preached in this passage.

It is the hearer’s responsibility to keep a soft heart. A soft heart is like a fluffy pillow. When the word falls into a soft heart it rests gently and comfortably in that heart. That is the hearer’s responsibility. How do you keep a soft heart toward God and his word?

  • Pray for a soft heart. If ever you notice hardness in the heart, pray for a fresh softening.
  • Read and meditate on God’s Word daily. It is by the Word our hearts are changed and made glad before God.
  • Receive God’s Word in faith. Do not receive it as cold and dead. The Word is alive and active, Heb 4:12, so take it into your heart.
  • Apply God’s Word and obey it. If we read the Bible, God will speak to us; but we will receive more from His voice in the Bible if we commit ourselves to obeying it.
  • Expect God’s blessings in righteousness and growth.

Vs. 47-51

Luke 11:47-51, “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. 48So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs.49For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, 50so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’”

This second woe is paralleled in Mat 23:29, 34-36, cf. Neh 9:26.

Neh 9:26, “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You, and cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets who had admonished them so that they might return to You, and they committed great blasphemies.”

Vs. 47,

The Lord tells them that the fruit does not fall far from the tree. They are just like their “fathers,” PATER, before them. “Building the tombs of the prophets,” OIKODOMEO HO MNEMEION HO PROPHETES, is analogous for destroying and “killing,” APOKTEINO, them, which He says outright is what their forefathers did. This is also foretelling what they would do to Jesus.

In fact, the Pharisees used to honor the ancient prophets who were slain by their fathers by renovating their tombs! Yet, true honor would have included obedience and repentance. By their actions, the Pharisees implied their approval of the actions of previous Jews in killing the prophets. They also implied that they would be willing to follow in that tradition and kill any prophet who spoke rightly of God, including Jesus.

“The Jews had indeed erected magnificent structures to commemorate the Old Testament prophets. In the Kidron Valley today, to be seen from the walled “Old City,” are several large edifices, reported to be the “tombs of the prophets.” Even in their state of disrepair they have a rugged beauty. It is believed their origin may be traced back to the First Century of the Christian Era. If so, they are the tombs Jesus was describing as He indicted His opponents.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary).

Vs. 48,

To show their guilt, Jesus equates the current generation of Pharisees and Scribes with their unbelieving or reversionistic forefather, in saying, “you bear witness,” MARTUS, where we get the word martyr from. So, in this case, the Scribes and Pharisees are witnesses and observers to the killings, as they give their “consent,” SUNEUDOKEO, “to approve, be pleased with, consent, agree with, etc.,” to the killings. This word is first used here in the NT, and then in Acts 8:1; 22:20, regarding Saul / Paul consenting with the crowd that stoned Stephen to death; the first martyr.

With the consenting, Jesus doubles down on the “killing and building of the tombs” of the OT prophets, who were killed by the self-righteous legalistic forefathers. He tells them that this generation of religious leaders is no different; they are “accessories,” to the crime!

Speaking of the “tombs,” also plays off of the “whitewashed tombs” analogy that Matthew adds to this narrative, showing their hypocrisy.

Vs. 49,

Here, Jesus tells them of the “wisdom of God,” SOPHIA HO THEOS, in “sending,” APOSTELLO, to the people of His generation “prophets,” PROPHETES, and “apostles,” APOSTOLOS. In other words, God will give them every opportunity to hear and know the truth of salvation, as He sends them messengers, even though they will “kill and persecute them,” APOKTEINO KAI DIOKO, in the Future, Active, Indicative. They will kill off the ones who are bringing them the only hope of salvation, beginning with Jesus Himself.

Matthew’s account, Mat 23:34-36, includes Jesus saying that they will crucify some of them, as Jesus and Peter were. They would also scourge and persecute others from city to city. As such, prophets and apostles both suffered death and persecution, Acts 12:1, 2; 13:45; 14:2; 17:5; Rev 1:9. Yet, the Gospel increased even in their deaths.

Vs. 50,

The Greek begins with the “charged against” idea, using the Verb EKZETEO, ἐκζητέω that means, “seek out, seek diligently, or require.” It is first used in the NT here and in vs. 51, and has the meaning of “to require, demand, exact severely or charge with a crime,” meaning they would be held accountable / judged for their actions of killing and persecuting the prophets and apostles, (i.e., “pour out their blood,” EKCHUNO, “pour, shed, or spill,” HAIMA, “blood”).

Jesus triples down on their guilt saying, “from the foundation of the world,” APO KATABOLE KOSMOS. In other words, because of their rejection of Jesus and the apostles’ message of salvation, they will be held accountable for all the martyred witnesses from the beginning of human history, as specified in the next passage. The reason for this is because they had the information about all the prior witnesses of righteousness recorded in their Bible, starting with the children of Adam and Eve.

Therefore, it is not just the current prophets, apostles, and evangelists that they have rejected, (including Jesus Christ), but all the witnesses throughout their history, as record in their own Scriptures. Because of their rejection of this mass of witnesses and evidence, they will be held accountable for their unbelief and antagonism. Each generation is given an opportunity to repent and change the course of evil. Jesus’ words offered no hope other than radical repentance.

Vs. 51,

Here we have two very famous OT saints who were martyred for their faith and true righteousness, Abel and Zachariah. The death of Abel was the first in the OT, Gen 4:8. The reason Zachariah (Zechariah) is mentioned last is because the book of 2 Chronicles is the final book in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, Jesus argued that from beginning to end, the death of God’s prophets had been the trademark of God’s people.

The shedding of Abel’s blood is noted in Gen 4:8, when his brother Cain murdered him out of jealousy. Able sacrificed according to God’s Word from his flock of sheep. As you know, that type of sacrifice typified Jesus’ sacrifice upon the Cross. Cain, on the other hand, sacrificed fruits and vegetables that he tilled from the ground. His sacrifice typified human good works, similar to that of the Pharisees and Scribes, the self-righteous. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because it was according to His Word, which spoke of God’s grace provision of the sacrifice, while He rejected Cain’s that spoke of man’s work that is tainted with sin. As a result, Cain became jealous of his brother and killed him. Therefore, Abel’s death speaks to the truly righteous person who is killed / martyred because of their faith. The Scribes did not miss the point of the murder over a religious issue.

In addition, Gen 4:10, notes that Abel’s “blood was crying from the ground,” for justice. Jesus is saying that as that justice was exacted on Cain in his curse, so will justice be exacted on this generation.

The shedding of Zachariah’s blood is noted in 2 Chron 24:20-22, where he was stoned to death by the people at the command of the king, Joash, for teaching the truth of God’s Word, rebuking the King and the people for not following the commandments of God, and their idolatry.

Interestingly, in vs. 22, Zachariah’s last words were, “May the LORD see and avenge!”, are fulfilled in Jesus’ woe judgment against these Scribes. “Avenge,” is the Hebrew word DARASH that means, “to seek, inquire, or require,” that correlates to vs. 50 above, where Luke records our Lord using the Greek word EKZETEO translated, “charged against” that means, “seek out, seek diligently, or require.” They both mean that the blood someone has spilled, will come back to them in judgment. This is the same as saying, “Abel’s blood is crying out.”

In using this same woe judgment, our Lord was drawing their attention to the details of the Scriptures in Genesis 4 and 2 Chronicles that the Scribes should have noted and understood. As such, they should have understood that the “woe judgment” Zachariah proclaimed against those who stoned him to death, was the same as what Jesus was proclaiming against them. Zachariah’s prophecy would be fulfilled regarding those who killed him, just as the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day would be judged and condemned for their unbelief and evil, especially because they killed the greatest Prophet and Apostle of all time; Jesus himself. I love how our Lord uses Scriptures when dealing with the quote, “experts of the Law.”

Not only was this a rebuke and judgment against the Scribes, but it was against “this generation,” meaning all the unbelievers of Jesus’ time. Therefore, Jesus reminded His listeners that the blood of the prophets would be required of any generation that heard the call to repentance, but refused to acknowledge their evil ways and turn to God.

Vs. 52,

Luke 11:52, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”

This third woe is paralleled in Mat 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

In this woe judgment, Jesus rebukes them for withholding the truth of the knowledge of salvation from the people. The “woes” now reach their climax as Jesus clarified the real effect of their self-righteous systems. By their legalism, the Pharisees locked the door of the knowledge of salvation that could set people free.

Key,” is the Noun KLEIS that means, “that instrument or tool that unlocks.” It was frequently used as a symbol or metaphor for various kinds of power or authority to open or to close. Four times in Revelation and once in Matthew the word “key” is used with regard to releasing the power of the Kingdom, Mat 16:19; Rev 1:18; 3:7; 9:1; 20:1. Here, it suggests the grace and power of God in freeing people from the Law and granting access to the truth ultimately found in Jesus Christ. Comparing the parallel in Mat 23:13 that does not use the word key, we see it refers specifically to the kingdom of heaven which the Scribes and Pharisees did not enter and which they also denied to others by their legalism. The only time Matthew uses this word is in Mat 16:19, when our Lord said He would give “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” to him. Meaning, Peter would have the necessary authority to give the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.

Therefore, our Lord is saying that these Scribes where the roadblock to people entering the Kingdom of Heaven, when they thought they were the key, and told the people that they were. This is a direct renunciation of their authority as spiritual leaders of Israel. He told them they themselves are not part of the Kingdom, have never entered it, and they are stopping or preventing others from entering it too.

What a devastating condemnation of these religious leaders. Perhaps the hottest parts of hell are reserved for such religious leaders, who knowing the gospel will not preach it, who knowing the entrance to heaven will not point it out, who will not enter that blessed kingdom themselves and forbid others also. The agony of their condemnation will be terrible. Therefore, the Lord tells them that their guilt remains on their hands. They are not saved and keep others from being saved. They are not the kind of preachers you want for your soul.

Luke ch 11 Part 3 vs 54-543. The Plotted Revenge of the Pharisees and Lawyers, vs. 53-54.

Luke 11:53-54, “When He left there, the Scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, 54plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.”

In this passage we see the two groups, Pharisees and Scribes, working together to destroy our Lord and His ministry.

“Be very hostile,” is the Adverb DEINOS, δεινῶς that means, “terribly, excessively, or vehemently.” It is only used here and Mat 8:6, to describe the fear in a paralyzed servant of the Centurion who was “viciously tormented,” which Jesus healed and took away his torment.

In regard to these Scribes and Pharisees, the idea is not simply that they urged our Lord a great deal or continuously, but it conveys that their actions were vicious, mean, and hostile in intent and method. Louw-Nida describes it as “an extreme point on a scale involving negative values,” (Greek-English Lexicon).

With the Adverb is the Verb ENECHO, ἐνέχω, in the Present, Active, Infinitive that means, “be angry, hold a grudge, or be ensnared.” It is only used here and Mark 6:19; Gal 5:1. It conveyed the meaning of “having a grudge against” Jesus and acting upon Him with hostility, connoting being at enmity with or attacking Him.

“To question Him closely,” uses the Verb APO-STOMATIZO, ἀποστοματίζω that means, “provoke to speak or interrogate.” As such, the Pharisees and Scribes were trying to provoke Him to say something that they might catch Him in saying something wrong or not according to the Scriptures. As you know, in the OT, they could stone to death false prophets, Deut 13:6-10. So, they were hoping to catch Jesus as a false prophet.

Luke records other incidents were the Scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if they could catch Him and get rid of Him.

Luke 6:7, “The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him.”  Cf. Mark 3:2.

Luke 14:1, “It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.”

Luke 20:20, “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor.” Cf. Mat 22:13-17; Mark 12:13-17.

Vs. 54,

Luke 11:54, “Plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.”

Plotting” is the Verb ENEDREUO, ἐνεδρεύω that means, “wait to ambush, lie in wait, plot, or lurk,” is used here and Acts 23:31. This kind of “ambushing” someone, pre-supposes a plot made beforehand. In this case, as noted above, they were trying to “catch,” Him in some false statement. “Catch,” is the Verb THEREUO, θηρεύω that means, “to hunt or catch,” and is only used here in the NT. Its figurative meaning is “to lay wait for, strive to ensnare, or to catch artfully.”  Here, the Pharisees and Scribes were plotting against Jesus so they could discredit Him before the people, and turn Him over to the authorities to destroy Him. Some translations, like the KJV, add that context with “that they might accuse Him.” But that phrase is not in the most reliable Greek texts.

In these two passages, we have strong language that indicates a radical break in the relationship between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. They saw Him as a young preacher from Nazareth who was now their number one religious enemy. After Jesus’ strong rebuke, they understood what His message was and they were fearful of its implications. They were locked in to their self-righteous legalism steeped in their traditions, and apparently did not obey the voice of God. As such, they were aggressive in their attacks and sought to provoke Him to make verbal mistakes. It is a picture of unyielding harassment. Wherever He went, they were there, trying to catch Him off guard so they could accuse Him to the people and the authorities. “Deceit was the order of the day, and they were determined to find a way to end His witness. They had become like men on the hunt. Jesus had become an animal to be pursued and caught so He might be finished.” (Complete Biblical Library)

Therefore, because of Jesus’ reproving and rebuking, these self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes plotted to ensnare Jesus in some kind of falsehood, so that they could condemn Him before the people and the authorities, hoping to end His ministry and influence over the people.

This ends our study of Luke Chapter 11 that began with our Lord teaching His disciples how to pray, (remember this is not what to pray). Then after healing the possessed man, He was accused by the Pharisees of being in league with Satan, by which He performed His miracles. Jesus then gave them sound reasoning as to why He could not be working with Satan. Next, He gave them the only sign He would give regarding who He was, which was the sign of the Prophet Jonah and his great missionary work in Nineveh that was preceded by being the belly of the great fish for three day and three nights that spoke of His death upon the Cross and resurrection. After that, because He was antagonized again by the Pharisees for not honoring their legalistic traditions, Jesus rebuked first the Pharisees and then the Scribes, each receiving three “Woe Judgments,” that condemned their self-righteous religiosity. And finally, we see the Pharisees and Scribes joining together to seek revenge against Him by plotting to entrap Him in some falsehood, so that they could destroy Him and His ministry.

Given that this is the week in which we celebrate our Lord’s death upon the Cross and Resurrection, we will read Luke’s story line of the “Passion Week” of our Lord, Luke 19:28-24:53. As we approach the day of our Lord’s death and resurrection, the attached chart shows the timeline of the events that occurred.

4 9 20 - Luke 11 vx 53-54 - The plotted revenge against our Lord led to His Passion Week - 1

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