Luke 11

Introduction

‘One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:1-4

Jesus’ Teaching On Prayer

As Jesus finished praying in a certain place, one his disciples as Him to teach them how to pray, just as John had taught his disciples. There was obviously something about Jesus’ prayer life which caught His disciples attention. The Lord then proceeds to utter a prayer very similar to the one Matthew records, Matthew 6:9-14.

The fact that Jesus responds to His disciples’ request implies that we can learn how to pray. It isn’t a gift that is possessed by some and not by others but a talent in which we may grow and develop.

One of the greatest needs in growing as Christians is to learn to be more prayerful. To do such will teach greater dependence upon God and cause all to be more introspective. Our Father wants us to be prayerful people, He wants us to be sincere and feel secure in our prayers we offer to Him.

May we always be mindful of the beauty of simplicity when it comes to talking to Him, as well as the benefits of seclusion. Let’s strive to recognise God’s awesome nature in our prayers as well as His plan for our lives.

May we appreciate the providence of God which sustains us on a daily basis and utter prayers that reflect our reliance both physically and spiritually upon Him. Let’s strive to manifest a gracious disposition to others as we endeavour to more fully comprehend our own personal need for forgiveness.

When Jesus prayed, He always addressed the heavenly Father, and He did so in a reverent manner, Psalm 145:1. God’s Name should be considered holy, it is not common or something to be treated lightly.

When we address the Father in prayer, we should be as respectful as possible. After all, we’re not just speaking to anybody but to the Almighty, the only true and living God! If we give respect and honour to our earthly father, how much more should we give to God!

‘Your kingdom come’ is a petition of the past. It’s no longer appropriate to pray for the kingdom to come because this prayer was answered in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. The kingdom of God has come, and Christ is now reigning, Colossians 1:13 / 1 Corinthians 15:24-25. Instead, we should pray that the kingdom be enlarged.

The petition for ‘daily bread’ isn’t for milk and honey, the symbols of luxury, but for bread that will be sufficient for this day. And, as long as it is today, we don’t need tomorrow’s bread; instead, we should pray for our daily needs every day, Exodus 16:12-31.

God will supply all necessary daily needs if we seeks His kingdom first, Matthew 6:25-33 / Philippians 4:19. Of course, we must realise that there is a difference between our wants and our needs. We must be careful not to let prosperity interfere with thankfulness for daily needs, Proverbs 30:8-9.

Here are the terms and conditions for forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive others, as we received forgiveness from God at out baptism, Acts 2:38.

Having a forgiving spirit identifies us as possessing the nature of God who forgives. If we cannot forgive our people, then certainly we aren’t of the nature of God, and thus, not a candidate for heaven, Matthew 18:35 / James 2:13.

Jesus made this request of the Father, ‘do not lead us into temptation’. This request may seem somewhat troubling in light of James 1:13. Why would anyone pray that the Father not lead him or her into temptation if God does not tempt anyone in the first place?

The solution is that this phrase could be translated, ‘Do not lead us into trials’. There are plenty of trials to deal with in life without us praying for anymore! Of course, when trials are present, we learn to face them joyfully, James 1:2-4.

‘Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.’ Luke 11:5-8

Jesus now moves on to share a parable with His disciples concerning prayer.

We must remember that hospitality was very important in ancient near eastern society. The man has a friend who arrived on a journey and the man has no food to give him. It is the middle of the night and so, the friend says he won’t get up and give him anything because the door is shut and the children are in bed with them.

The man’s house is possibly a one room house, hence, the whole family would sleep together in one bed or it’s possible that it simply means that he and his wife were in one bed and the children were in another.

Whatever it means, Jesus says, if the man gets up to open the door, then the whole family will be disturbed and therefore, they too would have to get up.

The point of the parable is simply this, the friend will get up, not because they’re friends, but because of this man’s ‘shameless audacity’.

It’s not the man’s persistence of the request, it’s the timing of the request along with the persistence. This man had boldness and gall to make this request at such an hour. The friend in the house gives him the bread because he is such an irritant.

Jesus’ point is that disciples should pray boldly with shameless nerve. Prayer is the audaciously bold request for God to do what He has promised.

This shameless boldness isn’t for selfish requests, James 4:3, no, we’re revealing our complete dependence on God. We are telling God what is happening in our lives and the things that we need spiritually or physically, 1 John 5:14.

Dummelow, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The connection with what goes before is suitable and natural. Having given the disciples a form of intercessory prayer, Jesus encourages them to persevere in its use, and also in the use of other prayers formed on its model, by a homely parable, the lesson of which is, If a churlish man can be forced by importunity to give against his will, how much more can persevering prayer bring down from the bountiful Father in heaven all good things.’

When was the last time you went boldly to God in prayer? We are given the offer to make bold, audacious requests to our Lord. What have you been afraid to ask God to do in your life?

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

Our Lord is again teaching on the subject of prayer in this context. Asking is making a request with our voice, seeking is the act of pursuing someone or something, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through an obstacle.

All three of these verbs are continuous in the Greek, i.e., one must continue to ask, seek, and knock, and they seem to be communicating the same basic idea in a progressive manner.

When we pray to the heavenly Father, we must do so seriously, not vainly. Prayer is not to be an empty ritual. To pray correctly, we must not only ‘ask’ for a blessing, but we must also faithfully ‘knock’ and ‘seek’ for the fulfilment of our request, Luke 18:1-8.

Prayer isn’t an opportunity to make requests for things we aren’t willing to work for or too lazy to sincerely pray for again if the petition is not immediately answered in the affirmative!

Prayers that are pleasing to God are offered from the heart zealously. When a person puts little heart or passion into their prayers, should they really expect God to put much heart into answering them?

We must continue to ask, seek, and knock according to the Lord’s will, and He will bless us. This is a promise of God, and He is faithful to keep His word!

Let me hasten to state that although there are no explicit restrictions placed upon this teaching here, the rest of the New Testament does establish some parameters, Matthew 6:14-15 / James 1:6-7 / James 4:3 / 1 Peter 3:7 / 1 John 3:22 / 1 John 5:14.

I believe one proper application of this verse is that those who are genuinely seeking the truth are going to find it. I do not believe that there is anyone who has lived, or will live, who sincerely desired to know the truth, who did not have an opportunity to come in contact with it, Acts 10. No one can truly believe in this promise unless they have great faith in the providence of God.

Jesus speaks of ‘fish’ and ‘eggs.’ These were common foods for the peasants of Galilee. Human parents ‘give good gifts’ to their children to the best of their ability because they love them, that is, they wouldn’t give them a snake instead of fish or a scorpion instead of egg.

But, how much more will God the Creator, Matthew 7:11, whose love and ability to give are infinitely beyond any earthly parent, ‘give good things to those who ask Him!’.

Luke says that the Father gives the Holy Spirit, which emphasis on the good things that would come as a result of the Holy Spirit.

Childers, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This discourse in Luke comes later in Jesus’ ministry and nearer to Pentecost than does the Sermon on the Mount, in which the passage cited in Matthew occurs. Therefore, Jesus can be more specific with reference to the needs of his disciples.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is clear that God’s children should not hesitate to pray to the Father for the measure of the Holy Spirit which has been promised to baptized believers, Acts 2:38, and which is called ‘an earnest’ of our inheritance, Ephesians 1:13.’

Jesus is comparing human parents, who are ‘evil’, with God Almighty who is perfectly good and righteous in every way. Have you considered that God’s love for you is even greater than your parents’ love for you? This truth must be remembered when petitions are offered to the Lord and not answered as we think they should be.

Our prayers should always centre around the fact that God knows best and He has our best interests in mind, regardless of how He answers.

The Lord doesn’t just give good gifts, He gives the greatest gifts, James 1:17. As we ask, seek, and knock, let us never view prayer as striving to conquer God’s reluctance but rather as the act of laying hold of His willingness, Ephesians 3:20-21.

Jesus And Beelzebul

‘Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’ Luke 11:14-23

This man who was demon possessed and mute, was delivered by Jesus who drove the spirit out of him and the man was able to speak, Matthew 9:32-34.

The crowd were amazed because they had never seen anything like this before, but others, who couldn’t deny what had just happened, accredited the miracle to ‘Beelzebul, the prince of demons’.

Beelzebul was the Philistine god who was called the lord of flies, 2 Kings 1:2-3, ‘Beelzebub’ was a combination of two ancient words, ‘Baal’, the name of the old god of the Canaanites, and ‘zebul’, meaning ‘dunghill’, 2 Kings 1:2 / 2 Kings 1:16.

In the New Testament, the prince of demons is the devil, Matthew 12:24-32, and so they were saying that Jesus was working on behalf of the devil, Matthew 12:24 / Mark 3:22 / Luke 11:15 / John 7:20ff / Acts 5:39. How shameful it was that they linked the name of the Saviour with that false god.

Other tested Jesus and asked Him for a sign from heaven, Matthew 16:1 / Mark 8:11 / John 2:18. After everything which Jesus has said and all the evidence of the miracles He has already perform up to this point should have been sign enough that He is the Christ, John 2:18 / John 3:2 / John 4:6 / Mark 8:11 / Luke 11:16 / John 2:18 / John 6:30.

Once again we read that Jesus knows the thoughts and hearts of people, Matthew 9:4 / John 2:25 / Revelation 2:23. Jesus responded to the accusation by telling them if Satan was really driving out Satan, then Satan’s kingdom was being destroyed. In other words, Satan can’t work against himself by driving out his own demons.

1. He said that it would be unreasonable and even disastrous for the devil to begin attacking himself. Civil wars don’t produce strong kingdoms.

Josephus, says the following.

‘I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazer, releasing people that were demoniacal, in the presence of Vespasian and his sons and captains. He put a ring to the nostrils of the demoniac, and drew the demon out through his nostrils, making mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Christ was not satisfied by showing them the intrinsic absurdity of their argument. He showed them that it might as well be applied to them as to him. your disciples, taught by you and encouraged by you, pretend to cast out devils. If your argument be true that a man who casts out devils must be in league with the devil, then ‘your disciples’ have made a covenant with him also. You must therefore either give up this argument, or admit that the working of miracles is proof of the assistance of God.’

2. Christ explained that He had come to rob the strong man, the devil, taking from him the souls that had been under his control. Logically, He would need to disarm Satan to accomplish this goal, so expelling demons was a predictable facet of His strategy.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A man could not break into the house of a strong man and take his property unless he had rendered the man himself helpless. If he had taken his goods, it would therefore be sufficient proof that he had bound the man. So I, says he, have taken this ‘property, this possessed person’, from the dominion of Satan. It is clear proof that I have subdued ‘Satan himself’, the ‘strong’ being that had him in possession. The words ‘or else’ mean ‘or how’, ‘how, or in what way, can one, etc’.’

3. He warned of the serious consequences of hardening one’s heart to the point of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. These scribes were demonstrating a malicious and possibly fatal attitude toward the work of God.

Jesus tells them that it’s through the power of the Holy Spirit that He was driving our demons. Luke records that Jesus did this by ‘the finger of God’, Luke 11:20.

Because Jesus was demonstrating God’s power, Exodus 8:19 / Psalms 8:3, they should recognise that the kingdom of God has come upon them, Matthew 3:2, that is, the King has arrived and about to establish His kingdom, Daniel 2:44 / Daniel 7:24 / Luke 1:22 / Luke 11:20 / Luke 17:20-21.

Jesus tells the people it’s time to decide for themselves, they are either with Him or against Him, they either gather or scatter. They are either with God or with Satan. They couldn’t sit of the fence with this, Matthew 6:24 / Matthew 12:30 / Matthew 16:24-26 / Mark 9:40, they had to decide one or the other.

‘When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘If there had been no reality in demoniacal possessions, our Lord would have scarcely appealed to a case of this kind here, to point out the real state of the Jewish people, and the desolation which was coming upon them. Had this been only a vulgar error, of the nonsense of which the learned scribes and the wise Pharisees must have been convinced, the case not being one in point, because not true, must have been treated by that very people with contempt for whose conviction it was alone designed.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The ‘general sentiment’ which our Saviour here teaches is much more easily understood than the illustration which he uses. The Jews had asked a sign from heaven that should decisively prove that he was the Messiah, and satisfy their unbelief. He replies that, though he should give them such a sign a proof conclusive and satisfactory, and though for a time they should profess to believe and apparently reform, yet such was the obstinacy of their unbelief and wickedness, that they would soon return to their former course. and become worse and worse. Infidelity and wickedness, like an evil spirit in a possessed man, were appropriately at ‘home’ in them. If driven out, they would find no other place so comfortable and undisturbed as their bosoms. Everywhere they would be, comparatively, like an evil spirit going through deserts and lonely places, and finding no place of rest. They would return, therefore, and dwell with them.’

The ‘arid places’, appear to be the figurative places where demons lived, Isaiah 13:21 / Isaiah 34:14. The impure spirit decided to go back to its house only to find it unoccupied swept clean and in order.

Dummelow, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Though the evil has been temporarily expelled, nothing good has been put in its place, so that the demon can return. If our Lord had been admitted, the return would have been impossible. The ‘sweeping’ and ’garnishing’ is that empty show of faith and repentance and good works, which only invites a more terrible fall.’

The number seven speaks of completeness, in other words, as many as the house will hold, we see this with Mary Magdalene who had seven demons, Mark 16:9 / Luke 8:2.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These words were doubtless spoken in sorrow. They were a firm, dogmatic prophecy of Israel’s rejection of Christ, reminding one of 2 Peter 2:20. What state is worse than being unsaved? It is the apostasy from which it is impossible to be renewed, Hebrews 6:4-6.’

‘As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:27-28

As Jesus was speaking an unknown woman declares that Jesus’ mother Mary was blessed because she gave birth to Him, Luke 1:28 / Luke 1:48.

However, Jesus declares it is those who hear and obey God’s Word are the one who are blessed, Psalm 1:1-2 / Psalm 112:1 / Psalm 119:1-2 / Isaiah 48:17-18 / Matthew 7:21 / James 1:25.

The Sign Of Jonah

‘As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.’ Luke 11:29-32

Jesus says they were a wicked and adulterous generation.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The relation of the Jews to God was represented as a marriage contract with God as the husband and the Jewish people as his wife, Isaiah 57:3 / Hosea 3:1 / Ezekiel 16:15. Hence, their apostasy and idolatry are often represented as adultery.’

The only sign which Jesus would show was the sign of Jonah, John 1:17, who was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and night, Matthew 12:40, which is a clear reference to Jesus being buried in the tomb for three days and nights, Matthew 16:21 / Ephesians 4:9, and rise from the grave, Psalms 16:10.

The Queen of the south is Sheba, who came to from a most distant land, to admire wealth and listen to his wisdom, 1 Kings 10:1-13 / 2 Chronicles 9:1. Sheba was probably a city of Arabia, situated to the south of Judea, Isaiah 60:6.

Childress, in his commentary, says the following, someone greater than Solomon.

1. Christ was greater in his birth. 2. His wisdom. 3. His temple. 4. His throne. 5. His prayers. 6. In his mansions, and 7. In the sacrifice Christ offered. As one example, Solomon offered at the dedication of the temple ‘twenty-two thousand oxen, and a hundred twenty thousand sheep’, 2 Chronicles 7:5. Christ offered his own blood within the holiest place of all for the sins of all men, Hebrews 9:14.’

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, Genesis 10:11 / Nehemiah 2:8 / Zephaniah 2:13-15, and the men of Nineveh would stand up at the judgment and condemn this generation is because at the time preaching of Jonah, the city repented, Jonah 3:5, whereas, the generation in which Jesus lived refused to repent, Matthew 12:41.

The Lamp Of The Body

‘No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” Luke 11:33-36

The purpose of light is to enable people to see.

Light provides, 1. Illumination. 2. Guidance, and 3. Warning.

Physical lights shine to dispel darkness, and in so doing serve as guides and warnings, e.g., headlights and lighthouses. Spiritual lights should function in the same manner, Psalm 119:105 / Proverbs 4:18-19.

God wants the world to see the truth, and our lights, our lives should reveal His truth, John 8:12 /  Philippians 2:15. His truth should be clearly seen in our lives just as a city set on a hill is seen from all directions, Matthew 5:14-16.

Think of the foolishness in lighting a lamp and then hiding its light. The purpose of lighting a lamp is to provide light for people to see. A major purpose in following Christ is to provide spiritual light for others to see. We mustn’t hide under a ‘bowl’ for any reason, whether it is fear, indifference, love of the world, misplaced priorities, etc.

Truly, we cannot be a secret disciple of Christ, either the secrecy will destroy the discipleship or the discipleship will destroy the secrecy.  If we light a lamp and put it under a bowl, either the bowl will smother the flame and the light will go out, Matthew 13:22, or the lamp will ignite the bowl, burning it away for the light to be seen by all, Jeremiah 20:9. We must let out lights shine.

The eye allows images, that is light inside the body. Our body will be ‘full of light’ if our eye is ‘healthy’, and allows us to see things clearly and in proper perspective.

The person with such good spiritual ‘eyesight’ sees money as a tool to help further the Lord’s work and not as something to lavish upon themselves.

But, if our eye is ‘unhealthy’, then our body will be ‘full of darkness’. We will not see things clearly or in a proper perspective, physically or spiritually.

It’s entirely possible for us to start out with a healthy ‘eye,’ but it can become dimmer and dimmer until it is full of the evils of materialism and immorality, Matthew 6:23-24.

Woes On The Pharisees

‘When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.’ Luke 11:37-41

Jesus received and accepted an invitation to eat in a Pharisees house, however, the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed Jesus didn’t wash before the meal. This was the tradition of the Jews at the time.

I think it would be useful to define what we mean when we speak about ‘tradition’ and ‘God’s Word’. Simply put, a command is a law of God and is sometimes described as the Word of God, Matthew 15:6 / Mark 7:13 / Luke 23:56 / 1 John 3:4.

A tradition doesn’t come from God but is something which has been passed down buy men from generation to generation, Matthew 15:3 / Colossians 2:8.

We must also note that traditions can be used in a positive sense, 1 Corinthians 11:2 / 2 Thessalonians 2:15 / 2 Thessalonians 3:6. The problem comes when traditions become as important or more important than God’s Word, Matthew 23:4.

Jesus continually referred to the oral law as the ‘tradition of the elders’ or the ‘tradition of men’, Matthew 15:1-9 / Mark 7:1-23. Some examples in the New Testament alluding to the scrupulous concern of the Pharisees with the fine detail of their legalism are.

The tithing of herbs, Matthew 23:23 / Luke 11:42.

The wearing of conspicuous phylacteries and tassels, Matthew 23:5.

The careful observance of ritual purity, Mark 7:1ff.

Frequent fasting’s, Matthew 9:14.

Distinctions in oaths, Matthew 23:16ff.

Hand Washing

So what was this tradition and what was the spirit behind it? They had a hand washing tradition and we know that the priests had to wash their hands and feet prior to entering the Tabernacle, Exodus 30:19 / Exodus 40:12, and it appears it was from this command that the wide-spread practice of ritual washings was practiced, Mark 7:3-4. They added to this the washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles, which they suspected had been made use of by anyone who was unclean.

It was regarding these earth ware items that the oral law said, ‘a hollow container made of pottery could contract uncleanness inside but not on the outside’.

In other words it doesn’t matter whom or what touched the outside, but it does become a problem when the inside is involved. ‘If it became unclean, it must be broken and no unbroken piece must remain in your house, which was big enough to hold enough oil to anoint the little toe.’

It was these ceremonial washings which were commanded by tradition, not by Scripture. The religious leaders knew this, but still, they criticized Jesus for not obeying these traditions.

How To Wash Your Hands

Before every meal, and between every course of the meal, the hands had to be washed. To begin with, your hands had to be free from any sand or dirt, or gravel or any kind of substance.

The water for washing had to be kept in a special large stone jar so that the water itself was clean in the ceremonial sense, and to make sure that it wasn’t used for anything else and that nothing else had fallen into it or had been mixed in it.

So to start with your hands were held with your fingertips pointing upwards and then the water was poured over them. But the water must run at least down to your wrist.

Now while you’re hands were still wet, each hand had to be cleaned with the fist of the other. Now this meant at this stage your hands were wet with water but that water was now itself unclean because it touched unclean hands.

Next you’re hands had to be held with your fingertips pointing downwards and the water had to be poured over them in such a way that it began at the wrists and ran off the fingertips. And after all that had been done, your hands were now classed as being clean. And remember you had to do that between every course of every meal.

Now if you failed to do this, in Jewish eyes, you wouldn’t be guilty of bad manners. You wouldn’t be guilty of being dirty in the hygiene sense but you were seen as unclean in the sight of God. If you were to eat bread with unclean hands and pardon the expression that was no better than excrement.

If the Romans put a Jewish rabbi in jail, he would use the water given to him for hand washing purposes rather than for drinking and there have been reports of some of these Jews almost dying of thirst.

It was ritual, ceremonial, rules and regulations like that which they considered to be the essence of their service to God. Jesus says that their religion consisted of a mass of taboos, rules and regulations, Matthew 23:23.

On the outside they professed religiosity by the performance of religious codes and ceremonies. However, their performance of their religious works did not change their hearts. It was God made man whole, He made man in a way that the outward behavior of the individual should naturally manifest his inward character, Genesis 1:26-27.

Spence, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Are you not fools to lay down such rules to avoid outward defilement, while within, in the soul, you allow all manner of wickedness? Surely God who created the things we see and touch, created the soul also!’ I will tell you how really to purify, in the eyes of God, these cups and dishes of yours. Share their contents with your poorer neighbour.’

Jones, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Let the Pharisee do one single, loving, unselfish act, not for the sake of the action nor for any merit inherent in it, but out of pure good will toward others, and their whole inward condition would be different.’

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.’ Luke 11:42

Notice that Jesus says that giving a tenth of their spices was right, the problem was these religious leaders were only emphasising on the giving because they were living off the contributions of the people. And so, in doing so, they totally neglected the more important matters of the law like justice, mercy and faithfulness, Mathew 23:23-24.

This was all about the outward appearance of religion and nothing to do with being holy within our hearts. I guess if they focused so much on their outward appearance, they wouldn’t have to deal with the conditions of their own hearts.

Jesus is basically saying that there are some aspects of the law which are more important than others, justice, mercy and faithfulness are more important in the law than tithing mint, dill and cumin, Mathew 23:23-24.

They shouldn’t have emphasised the lesser principles of the law in order to neglect the more important principles of the law, remember David! Matthew 12:1-8 / 1 Samuel 21:1-6 / Leviticus 24:5-9.

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.’ Luke 11:43

Everything they did was only form public show, 3 John 9-10. They loved their authority, as they loved to sit in places of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogue. This was all about the show, ‘look how important we are!’

We can almost imagine them becoming upset with people if no one greeted them at the market place or even took the time to call them ‘Rabbi’, which means teacher, Matthew 23:5-7. Oh how they loved to be seen by people, sit in positions of authority and liked to have a title.

“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” Luke 11:44

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In Numbers 19:16, the rule appears which makes every person who touches a grave unclean for a week, that is, ceremonially unclean. Jesus here compared the Pharisees to an unmarked grave which could cause a man to become unclean inadvertently. In a similar manner, but far more seriously, the people who were following the Pharisees, who supposedly were righteous, could be spiritually contaminated through contact with those evil enemies of Jesus. The lawyers were close associates with the Pharisees; and when they saw the drift of Jesus’ teachings, it suddenly appeared to them that they, the lawyers, were being condemned, no less than the Pharisees. Up to that point, the lawyers had apparently been enjoying the strong preaching of Jesus against the Pharisees, whose conduct, actually, was the scandal of the whole nation. Pricked in conscience at last, a lawyer responded.’

Woes On The Experts In The Law

‘One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Luke 11:45

After addressing the Pharisees, it appears that one of the experts in the law, wasn’t very happy about what Jesus was saying, to the Pharisees, in fact, he saw it as an insult. this tells us that that experts in the law were just as bad as the Pharisees.

However, the man’s feelings meant nothing to Jesus and so, Jesus goes on to describe them.

‘Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.’ Luke 11:46

They added so much more rules and regulation to God’s law, they couldn’t keep them themselves, Acts 15:10. They loaded people down with so much extra traditions, they themselves couldn’t carry them and they wouldn’t even help others in the process. They went way beyond what was written, 1 Corinthians 4:6.

“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Luke 11:47-49

Here Jesus says they were building beautiful tombs for the prophets. The problem was they were doing all this as if they were showing a lot of respect for the righteous prophets of God but at the same time they were claiming to be superior to those dead prophets, this is shown because they murdered them, Matthew 21:33-41.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The hypocritical conduct of lawyers in building impressive tombs to the honour of God’s prophets whose words they themselves despised and were in the process of violating, through their opposition to Jesus, was one and the same quality of action as that of killing the prophets.’

It’s clear that Jesus includes Himself here as a prophet whom the religious leaders would kill, and it’s also a clear reference to His apostles, whom later will either be killed and persecuted, John 16:2 / Matthew 23:34 / Acts 7:52 / Acts 7:59 / Acts 12:2 / Acts 22:19 / 2 Corinthians 11:24-47.

‘Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.’ Luke 11:50-51

We know all about the account of Cain murdering his brother Abel, Genesis 4:8 and we have an account on the death of Zechariah the son of Jehoiada in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21 but we have no record on the murdering of ‘Zechariah the son of Berekiah’.

Whatever and whosever Jesus is referring to here, seems to indicate that they themselves, that is, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were responsible for murdering him.

Just because we have no record of this event doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, Matthew 26:1-4, Jesus said it did and He openly said it happened when they were around, in their life time and openly blamed them for it.

It’s as though Jesus started from the first murder, Abel and went straight to last murder, Zechariah, before He Himself was to be murdered by them.

Like I mentioned earlier the teachers of the law and the Pharisees outwardly showed great respect for God’s prophets who stood up for righteousness, but inwardly they were murderers.

In fact, even as they were listening to Jesus they were plotting to murder Him. Remember it wasn’t the Romans who were against Jesus, it was these self-righteous leaders.

There’s no mistaking what Jesus is saying here, concerning ‘this generation’, the whole Jewish nation was going to be held accountable, and as we know destruction came upon Jerusalem and the temple was destroyed and so the Jewish nation along with its religion, came to an end in A.D. 70, Matthew 24:1-35.

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:52

Because of their own opinions and interpretations of God’s Word, they had lost sight of what God had actually written concerning the Messiah and the kingdom of God. As a result, they had taken away the key to knowledge from others, they themselves haven’t entered the kingdom of God and hindered others from doing so too.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘A key is made to open a lock or door. By their false interpretation of the Old Testament they had taken away the true key or method of understanding it. They had hindered the people from understanding it aright. ‘You endeavour to prevent the people also from understanding the Scriptures respecting the Messiah, and those who were coming to ‘me’ ye hindered.’ If there is any sin of special magnitude, it is that of keeping the people in ignorance and few people are so guilty as they who by false instructions prevent them from coming to a knowledge of the truth, and embracing it as it is in Jesus.’

‘When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.’ Luke 11:53-54

When Jesus went outside, He now finds Himself being fiercely opposed and facing an onslaught of questions from both the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

They did this in an effort to try and catch Jesus out, to try and get Him to say something they could uses against Him. In other words, they were looking for any excuse to Kill Him.

Go To Luke 12

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