- Luke 11:37-54; 12:1-59; 13:1-17
Jesus is very much a loving Person. He is GOD and GOD is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus demonstrated His great love and compassion every day He walked the earth, healing and teaching others, giving of Himself. It is equally important that we recognize that Jesus was very direct in confronting the religious leaders of the Jews—the Pharisees, scribes, lawyers, priests and rabbis. Jesus is in no way a weak, mild-mannered person incapable and unwilling to strongly and forcefully defend GOD's cause. Remember how we already read that Jesus cleaned out the merchants and moneychangers in the temple, with a whip no less!
Consider the following events from today's text:
37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 39 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. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “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. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” 46 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. 47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 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.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 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.
52 “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.”
53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
(Luke 11:37-54 NIV)
Ouch! These are very direct, painful truths that Jesus is convicting them of. The good and honest heart would be deeply wounded by these accusations from Jesus, yet we see the opposite reaction from these people. Instead of inwardly searching for truth in Jesus' accusations, these people got angry and asked Jesus a bunch of questions, just trying to catch Him so they had a reason to kill Him. When the word of GOD cuts us to our heart, we either respond by running to GOD or stopping up our ears and refusing to listen any more.