Luke 11 - Jesus Teaches and Warns
a. Teaching on prayer.
1. (1) A request from the disciples: Lord, teach us to pray.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
a. As He was praying in a certain place: Jesus prayed as was His custom, but a request came when He ceased - the disciples allowed Jesus to finish praying. They stood there and watched Him, drinking in the power of His prayer, until He was finished.
b. Lord, teach us to pray: There was something about watching Jesus pray that made them want to learn how to pray like Him. Is there anything magnetic in your prayer, or in your relationship with God? How you pray shows how you think about God. Jesus’ prayer showed a lot about Him.
c. Just like the disciples, we need Jesus to teach us to pray. Prayer is so simple that the smallest child can pray, but it is so great that the mightiest man of God cannot be said to truly have mastered prayer.
i. "It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation . . . Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well. To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man. Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing." (Murray)
d. On a previous occasion, when teaching the multitudes, Jesus taught this same basic prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). The fact that He repeats it here shows how important it is. The fact that He does not repeat it the exact same way as in Matthew shows that it was not to be used as a precise ritual or magic formula for prayer.
2. (2-4) Pray after this pattern.
So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
a. Our Father: Our shows that prayer belongs among the people of God. Jesus assumed that His people would be praying together.
b. When we say Father we use a privileged title, demonstrating a privileged relationship. In the Old Testament, we don’t see great men and women of God pray to the Lord this way. Jesus opened up to us new and greater paths of intimacy with God.
c. Our Father in heaven: The right kind of prayer comes to God as a Father in heaven; it rightly recognizes whom we pray to. To say that God is in heaven says:
i. He is a God of majesty and dominion: O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? (2 Chronicles 20:6)
ii. He is a God of power and might: But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
iii. He sees everything: The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. (Psalm 11:4)
d. Hallowed be Your name: Hallowed means "set apart." It is a to say that there is no one like God, He is completely unique - not just a super person or a better person. Name means that God’s whole character, His whole person, is set apart.
i. "The name in antiquity stood for far more than it does with us. It summed up a person’s whole character, all that was known or revealed about him." (Morris)
e. Your kingdom come: We pray with a longing for God’s kingdom; we want to see Jesus rule and reign on this earth, and we want it to begin with us.
i. The ancient Jews used to say: "He prays not at all, in whose prayers there is no mention of the kingdom of God."
f. Your will be done: We should pray with a desire to see God’s will done, and put first. "In heaven God’s will is obeyed by all, spontaneously, with the deepest joy and in a perfect manner without a shadow of unfaithfulness. And the believer must pray that such a condition should also prevail on earth." (Geldenhuys)
i. This is prayer that puts God’s interests first; it is His name, His kingdom, and His will that are primary. Our needs are addressed secondarily. Prayer isn’t a tool to get what we want from God. It is a method to get God’s will accomplished in us and all around us.
ii. Some see the Trinity in these requests. The Father is the source of all holiness; Jesus brings the kingdom of God to us; and the Holy Spirit accomplishes God’s will in us and among us.
iii. Some see the three greatest things in these three requests. To pray Our Father requires faith, because he who comes to God must believe that He is. To pray Your kingdom come requires hope, because we trust it is to come in fullness. To pray Your will be done requires love, because love is the incentive to obey all of God’s will.
g. God also wants us to pray for our daily, practical needs - like our daily bread.
i. When Jesus says bread, He means real bread, as in the sense of daily provisions. Early theologians allegorized this; they couldn’t imagine a mundane thing like bread in such a majestic prayer like this.
ii. Calvin rightly said of interpretations that fail to see God’s interest in the mundane: "This is exceedingly absurd." God does care about everyday things.
h. Forgive us our sins: We also need forgiveness from God. "As bread is the first need of the body, so forgiveness for the soul." (Murray)
i. For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us: God forgives sins, we forgive debts. What we owe to God isn’t the same as what others owe to us.
i. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one: We constantly plead to God for strength and protection against temptation and the evil one. True prayer is always offered knowing how weak we are in our selves, and how much we need the power of God.
i. Temptation is literally a test, not always a solicitation to do evil. God has promised to keep us from any testing that is greater than what we can handle. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
j. This prayer is notable for its simplicity and brevity; it is a marvel of powerful prayer put in simple terms.
i. The Rabbis had sayings like: "Whoever is long in prayer is heard" and "Whenever the righteous make their prayer long, their prayer is heard." One famous Jewish prayer began: "Blessed, praised, and glorified, exalted, and honored, magnified and lauded be the name of the Holy One."
ii. But when we try to impress God with our many words, we deny who God is: a loving, yet holy Father. Instead, we should follow the counsel of Ecclesiastes 5:2: God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few.
3. (5-8) Pray with boldness and persistence.
And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs."
a. Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight: In the custom of that day, a whole family lived together in a one-room house. On one side of the house was a raised platform where they all slept; down on the ground were all their animals - a cow, perhaps some sheep and goats and so forth. There was no way the man could come to the door without disturbing the whole household.
i. Anyone who knows what it is like getting all the kids to bed and finally getting some rest knows what an imposition this would be!
b. Yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs: It took a lot of boldness for the man to so shamelessly ask his friend in the middle of the night - he really wanted the bread.
c. God often waits for our passionate persistence in prayer. It isn’t that God is reluctant and needs to be persuaded. Our persistence doesn’t change God; it changes us, developing in us a heart and passion for what God wants.
4. (9-13) Pray with a childlike confidence.
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
a. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you: We are told to keep on asking, seeking and knocking. "All three verbs are continuous: Jesus is not speaking of single activities, but of those that persist." (Morris)
i. These descriptions speak of an earnestness and intensity; all too often, our prayers are merely wishes cast up to heaven, and this is not real prayer.
b. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Any human father loves to bless his children, and would never answer a simple request for something good with something evil. If that is case with us, how much more will God answer us, though sometimes it doesn’t seem so!
c. God especially delights in giving the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. We never need doubt God’s desire to pour out His Spirit. The problem is in our receiving, not in God’s desire to give.
5. Are we ready to enroll with Jesus in His school of prayer? Andrew Murray, author of With Christ in the School of Prayer, has a great prayer for new students:
a. Blessed Lord! Who ever lives to pray, You can teach me to pray, me to ever live to pray. In this You love to make me share Your glory in heaven, that I should pray without ceasing, and ever stand as a priest in the presence of my God.
Lord Jesus! I ask You this day to enroll my name among those who confess that they do not know how to pray as they ought, and specially ask You for a course in teaching in prayer. Lord! Teach me to wait with You in the school and give You time to train me. May a deep sense of my ignorance, the wonderful privilege and power of prayer, of the need of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of prayer, lead me to cast away my thoughts of what I think I know, and make me kneel before You in true teachableness and poverty of spirit.
And fill me, Lord, with the confidence that with a teacher like You I shall learn to pray. In the assurance that I have as my teacher, Jesus, who is ever praying to the Father, and by His prayer rules the destinies of His Church and the world, I will not be afraid. As much as I need to know of the mysteries of the prayer-world, You will fold for me. And when I may not know, You will teach me to be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Blessed Lord! You will not put to shame Your student who trusts You, nor, by Your grace, would he put You to shame either. Amen.
b. Jesus answers controversy about demons and signs.
1. (14-16) The controversy arises: some accuse Jesus of being in league with Satan; others request a sign from Him.
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.
a. He was casting out a demon, and it was mute: The Jews in Jesus’ day had their own exorcists, who sought to cast demons out of people. But they believed that they had to have the demon reveal his name, or they could not cast the demon out.
b. When the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled: This is why the multitudes marveled when Jesus cast out a demon that caused muteness. According to the Jewish thinking of that day, the demon was impossible to cast out because he made the man unable to speak, and unable to reveal the name of the demon.
c. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons": When people see this great work, there are two reactions. Some attribute the working of Jesus to Satan (Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons), and some want to see more miracles before they will believe (testing Him, sought a sign from heaven).
i. Beelzebub is a difficult name to analyze. It may come from a similar sounding word that means, "Lord of the Flies."
2. (17-19) Jesus answers those who attribute His working to Satan.
But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges."
a. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation: Jesus shows that if He is an agent of Satan, and is working against Satan, then surely civil war has come Satan’s kingdom, and Satan’s kingdom will not stand. The point is that Satan won’t work against himself.
b. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? At the same time, Jesus observes that the Jewish leaders themselves have exorcists; are His accusers accusing them also?
3. (20-23) Jesus proclaims His strength over all demonic forces.
"But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters."
a. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you: Essentially, Jesus is answering the charge that He is in league with the Devil. He says, "I’m not under Satan, instead, I’m proving that I am stronger than he is."
b. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him: In the picture Jesus presents, Satan is the strong man, who guards what belongs to him. Jesus’ ministry, both in the case of casting the demon out of the man who was mute, and in the broader sense, is defeating this strong man.
c. Jesus is the one who is stronger than he (Satan, the strong man of Luke 11:21). Jesus speaks about His work in overcoming Satan on several different stages:
i. He comes upon him: Jesus engages Satan in battle, even on Satan’s "turf."
ii. And overcomes him: Jesus flat out defeats this strong man, showing all that He is stronger than he.
iii. He takes from him all his armor in which he trusted: Jesus not only defeats Satan on our behalf, He also disarms him. As Colossians 2:15 says, Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [the cross].
iv. And divides his spoils: Satan will never get to keep or enjoy the "fruit" of his temporary victory. Jesus’ victory over the strong man is complete.
d. If Jesus is stronger than Satan is, then we are confronted with the necessity of a decision: whose side will we be on? Will we be for Jesus or will we be against Him? Will we work for Jesus or will we work against Him?
i. "In the conflict against the powers of darkness there is no room for neutrality." (Geldenhuys)
ii. In this sense, to be undecided is to be decided. There is no neutral ground; we are either with Jesus or against Him. There is no luxury of guarded neutrality.
iii. If Satan is the strong man, and Jesus is stronger than Satan is, there are two strong forces at work, trying to win our allegiance. We will embrace one or the other, intentionally or unintentionally.
4. (24-26) Jesus tells more about the dynamics of demonic possession.
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
a. When an unclean spirit goes out of a man: The picture of a person delivered from a demon, but not yet filled with Jesus is a picture of a person who tries to be neutral. They say they are not for Satan, but they are also not for Jesus. Jesus shows us that this is impossible.
b. I will return to my house from which I came: Apparently, demons have a desire to inhabit bodies, but why? For the same reason why the vandal wants a spray can, or a violent man wants a gun - a body is a weapon that they can use in attacking God.
c. The last state of that man is worse than the first: Jesus points out the danger of delivering a person from demonic possession without filling their life with Jesus. They can end up worse than before.
i. The heart of man has a vacuum-like nature to it. It has to be filled. If we "empty" our heart with evil, without filling it with Jesus and His good, evil will rush in again to fill it.
d. Therefore, in answering those who accused Him or working by the power of Satan, Jesus tells them that He hasn’t merely come to fight against evil, but to bring God’s good into our hearts.
5. (27-32) Jesus answers those who seek for a sign.
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here."
a. More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it: Hearts set on signs need to know the greatness of God’s word. What really makes a person blessed is hearing the word of the God and keeping that word.
i. About fifteen years after Jesus’ time on earth, a man named Theudas arose among the Jews and claimed to be the Messiah. He persuaded people to follow him with the promise that he would part the Jordan River in two. He tried; needless to say, he failed, and the Romans dealt severely with him. But he knew what kind of sign the people wanted to see. Jesus says hearing and keeping the word is more important than signs.
b. This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign: In addition, the generation that seeks for a sign (instead of God’s word) is evil, and ripe for judgment.
c. No sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet: How did Jesus become a sign like Jonah was a sign? Jonah gave his life to appease the wrath of God coming upon others. But death did not hold him; after three days and nights of imprisonment, he was alive and free (Jonah 1-2).
i. And Jesus is that sign, both to His present generation and to ours. Jesus Himself is the sign; we are to believe in Him, not a sign.
d. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them: The queen of the South came to Solomon in 1 Kings 10. When she saw the great works that God did for and through Solomon, she praised the God of Israel. She didn’t say, "show me more and maybe I’ll believe."
i. The queen of the South came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. She sought after God’s word with a tenacity that shames us. The people who asked Jesus for a sign saw His work right there in their own neighborhood, and didn’t believe.
e. The point is clear: the queen of the South and the men of Nineveh were both Gentiles, but they had a more open heart to the things of God than the religious people of Jesus’ day, who would not believe and receive the work of God right before their eyes.
c. Jesus’ warnings to hypocrites.
1. (33-36) Jesus warns about inner darkness.
"No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light."
a. This section has application to both what went before it (Jesus answers those who thought His miracles were the work of Satan and those who wanted to see more) and what comes after it (Jesus deals with hypocrisy).
b. No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand: Just as a lamp should be displayed out in the open, so all can benefit from its light, so the word and work of God should be displayed. But when Jesus displays His word and works, the religious people of His day won’t accept them!
c. The lamp of the body is the eye: Even as a bad eye will make a person blind, so their bad hearts will make them spiritually blind. You have to be spiritually blind to attribute Jesus’ miracles to Satan, to ignore the works of Jesus that are right before your eyes, or to live as a hypocrite.
i. When you are in darkness, there are two possible reasons why. There may be no light source, or the darkness may be within yourself. Jesus says they know that the darkness is within themselves.
d. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light: When we have the light of God’s word shining in us, when we see and understand the work of Jesus around us, we won’t walk in the darkness of spiritual blindness.
2. (37-41) Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their concern for only external matters.
And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you."
a. He marveled that He had not first washed before dinner: Jesus was not being unhygenic when He had not first washed before dinner. He did not follow the extremely technical and rigid requirements of ceremonial washing practiced by many pious Jews.
b. For these ceremonial washings, special stone vessels of water were kept, because ordinary water might be unclean. In performing the ceremonial washing, you had to take at least enough of this water to fill one and one-half eggshells. You started by pouring the water over your hands starting at the fingers and running down towards your wrist. Then you cleansed each palm by rubbing the fist of the other hand into it. Then you poured water over your hands again, this time from the wrist towards the fingers.
i. A really strict Jew would do this not only before the meal, but also between each course! The rabbis were deadly serious about this. They said that bread eaten with unwashed hands was no better than excrement. A rabbi who once failed to do this was considered excommunicated. Another rabbi was imprisoned by the Romans and used his ration of water for ceremonial cleansing instead of drinking, nearly died of thirst, and so was regarded as a great hero.
ii. If they were as concerned about cleansing their hearts as they were about their hands, they would be more godly men! But we always want to think there is something we can do to cleanse ourselves.
c. Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness: These Pharisees were careful to maintain the appearance of righteousness, but not the inner reality of it. They are foolish ones because they could be outwardly clean but inwardly dirty.
3. (42-44) Woes to the scribes and Pharisees.
"But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them."
a. For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God: The Pharisees were so meticulous in their outward obedience that they would literally tithe from their herb gardens, counting out seeds and leaves, and giving a tenth to God.
i. Legalism of this sort assumes that people will only know we follow God if we do all these things associated with rules and regulations. Instead, Jesus said that the real mark of a believer is the love they have for others in God’s family.
ii. But the Jewish leaders saw it differently. "The Mishna lays it down that it is more important to observe the scribal interpretations than the Law itself (Sanhedrin 11:13)." (Morris)
iii. It is as if a solider did great in marching drills and put all their emphasis there, but wasn’t any good in battle. This would not be a good soldier. Being good at all the outward things of Christianity doesn’t mean you are a good Christian.
b. Jesus does not say that their tithing was wrong. Instead, He says, "these you out to have done." What was wrong was what they were not doing - leaving the others undone.
c. The best seats in the synagogues were the seats up front facing the congregation. This is where the leaders and prominent people sat. These people thought it was no good to be walking right with God if others didn’t know they were walking right with God.
d. For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them: These religious leaders loved giving the impression that they were so spiritual, but they actually were defiling everyone they came in contact with. It was just as walking over a grave ceremonially defiled a Jewish person, even if they didn’t know it was there.
i. According to Numbers 19:16, everyone who touched a grave was ceremonially unclean for seven days. For this reason, the Jews sought to mark graves clearly, usually using whitewash, so everyone would know where they were and would avoid them.
4. (45-46) Jesus rebukes the lawyers for their oppressive religious system.
Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, "Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also." And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers."
a. Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also: The lawyer would have done better to keep quiet, but since he drew attention to himself, Jesus will address him also.
i. Remember what lawyers were in that culture. They were not so much those who would represent a client, but they represented the Mosaic Law. Lawyers were the experts on the Old Testament law and how it applied.
b. For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers: Because of the way that they interpreted the law, these experts in the Mosaic law laid heavy burdens on people.
i. For example, they taught that on the Sabbath, a man could not carry something in his right hand or in his left hand, across his chest or on his shoulder. But you could carry something with the back of your hand, with your foot, with your elbow, or in your ear, your hair, or in the hem of your shirt, or in your shoe or sandal.
ii. Or, on the Sabbath, you were forbidden to tie a knot - except, a woman could tie a knot in her girdle. So, if a bucket of water had to be raised from a well, you could tie a rope to the bucket, but a woman could tie her girdle to the bucket!
iii. Another example is how ancient Rabbis took the command to respect proper sanitation in the army camp of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:12-14) and applied it to Jerusalem, considering it the "camp of the Lord." When this interpretation was combined with Sabbath travel restrictions, it resulted in a prohibition against going to the bathroom on the Sabbath.
c. Sadly, today many Bible "experts" do the same thing - use the Scriptures wrongly as a tool of control and oppression.
5. (47-51) These lawyers only admire dead prophets.
"Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation."
a. For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them: Jesus observes that the leaders of His day would honor dead prophets while persecuting living ones like Himself.
6. (52) Their most terrible crime - keeping others from God.
"Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered."
a. For you have taken away the key of knowledge: Their legalistic approach has taken away understanding and knowledge. When you give people a list of rules by which they will save themselves, you aren’t helping them at all.
b. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered: Those who lead God’s people in a legalistic way are guilty of a terrible crime before God - they keep others out of the kingdom.
7. (53-54) The reaction of Jesus’ enemies.
And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
a. The scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently: They could not receive Jesus’ correction. They preferred to stay in their own sinful thinking and habits rather than repent, and learn from Jesus’ rebuke.
b. That they might accuse Him: This is a common reaction when someone corrects us. Instead of receiving the correction, we counter-attack.
i. Proverbs tells us what those who refuse correction do. First, they hate those who correct them (Proverbs 9:8; Proverbs 15:12). Second, they do not listen to the one correcting them (Proverbs 13:1). Third, they despise their own soul (Proverbs 15:32).
ii. Proverbs also tells us the character of those who refuse correction. They are stupid (Proverbs 12:1) and they are foolish (Proverbs 15:5).
©2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission.