I was reading Luke 11:37-54 this morning and God reminded me to really check my life seriously. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees over a list of things when one of the experts of the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Jesus replied harshly, “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.” And Jesus continued his rebuke on the experts in the law.
Sometimes, we think that we are unlike the Pharisees and experts in the law. But the truth is that many times we are exactly like them. I am so grateful and experience so much of God’s grace when I realise that God still uses me despite my weaknesses. God spoke to me 6 areas I need to seriously check my life with these 6 woes he spoke to the Pharisees and experts in the law:
1) Neglecting justice and the love of God. v42 “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.” Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of following law and keeping up with the appearance, instead of doing right because of justice and the love of God in our heart. I have to check that I am obeying and serving God NOT for show, but because of justice and the love of God in my heart.
2) Love of public recognition v43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.” Many people love positions and power, including Christians. I have to check that I do not seek for recognition but to desire the praises of God.
3) A corrupted influence v44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” Graves were usually identified in some way because according to the Law of Moses contact with a grave made a person ceremonially unclean. See Numbers 19:16. An unmarked grave would make a Jew unclean without his or her knowing it! Jesus was referring to the negative influence of the Pharisees who seemed pious. They appeared to revere God’s law and honour his name. But Jesus knew that the Pharisees had no real love for God and no heartfelt desire to please Him. Most of them lacked humility, compassion and generosity. Their influence on the Jewish people was bad because they promoted legalism and fostered pride. Do I have that kind of influence on my people?
4) Burden people and not helping them v46 “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.” In Christ’s day, the lawyers had added many regulations to God’s law supposedly to make it clearer. The additions to, and so called clarifications of, God’s law did not help the Jews to please God or enjoy fellowship with Him. Am I adding more regulations to the Bible in my sermons and giving more burden to my people? Am I at least lifting a finger to help my people?
5) Self deception v47-48 “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.” The experts in the law deceived themselves because they thought they were more enlightened than their forefathers. They followed in the footsteps of their forefathers and would bring the awful tendency to reject God’s spokesmen to a terrible conclusion. Do I think I am smarter than my forefathers? If they did not walk the correct way, am I still following their footsteps?
6) Being blind guides v42 “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.” The experts in the law thought that they were very good in teaching people how to know God and please Him. However, they made godly conduct so complicated, confusing and inaccessible that people gave up in despair. Am I giving my people real knowledge? Am I pointing my people to the Jesus in the Bible?