Luke 11:27-36

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 25, 2001


Jesus had cast a demon out of a person and found Himself accused of casting out demons through the power of Satan.  Jesus responded by saying that this was a pretty silly concept, that Satan would be working against himself.

The whole mood of the crowd around Jesus had been one that bordered on doubt and questioning.  Here was the Son of God, standing in their midst, and they were accusing Him of using the power of Satan.

Keep this in mind, it plays into the following passage.

:27-28 Family or obedience

:27  And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

blessedmakarios – blessed, happy

wombkoilia – the whole belly, the entire cavity; the womb, the place where the fetus is conceived and nourished until birth

that barebastazo – to take up with the hands; to take up in order to carry or bear, to put upon one’s self (something) to be carried; to bear, to carry

papsmastos – the breasts

suckedthelazo – to give the breast, give suck, to suckle

It looks like to me we have an early attempt by someone to worship Mary, Jesus’ mother.  Pay attention to how Jesus responds.

:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

yea rathermenounge – nay surely, nay rather

NAS – “on the contrary”, NKJV – “more than that”.

Jesus isn’t saying bad things about His mother, but He’s pointing out that there are more important things in God’s eyes than being Jesus’ mother, not exactly a Roman Catholic kind of viewpoint.

blessedmakarios – blessed, happy

hearakouo – to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to hear

keepphulasso – to guard; to watch, keep watch; to guard i.e. care for, take care not to violate; to observe


The real blessings are in obedience.

Sometimes I kind of wish I had an “in” with certain people.  You can get the idea that sometimes it’s important to know the right people, to have the right “connections”.
Jesus is saying that it’s not so important to have the right “connections”, but to be doing what God wants for you.
Our society has had a decade and a half of experimentation with random sexual freedom.  We have discovered that it is neither so very sexy nor so very free.  My generation is disillusioned with sex as a social panacea.  We look longingly at the marriages of our parents and grandparents and wonder how on earth they managed to stay best friends for so long--or even worst friends for so long!  But at least they had someone to read the newspaper with.

-- Erica Jong in Ms. magazine (May 1989). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 10.

There are great blessings in simply doing what God wants, like working on your marriage instead of abandoning it.

:29-32 Judgment lack of obedience

:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

the people ochlos – a crowd; a multitude of men who have flocked together in some place; a throng; a multitude

were gathered thick together epathroizo (“upon” + “to assemble) – to gather together (to others already present)

seekepizeteo – to enquire for, seek for, search for, seek diligently; to wish for, crave; to demand, clamour for

signsemeion – a sign, mark, token; that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known; a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature

Jesus had just cast out a demon, then had been involved in a discussion about where His power had come from.  He was beginning to draw quite a large crowd.

Earlier, when Jesus had been accused of casting out demons with the power of Satan, some people had been testing Jesus, asking for a sign:

(Luke 11:16 KJV)  And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.


Be careful about “signs”

If a person’s heart is in a good place, God can use signs.  But usually this isn’t the case.  Throughout the three year ministry of Jesus, He did MANY signs and wonders, yet the crowd still turned against Him in the end.
Jesus will tell a story about a guy who will ask for a sign –
(Luke 16:19-31 KJV)  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: {20} And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, {21} And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. {22} And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; {23} And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. {24} And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. {25} But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. {26} And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. {27} Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: {28} For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. {29} Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. {30} And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. {31} And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The Rich Man asked Abraham to send someone back from the dead, quite a sign, huh?  Abraham’s answer is correct, Jesus came back from the dead and people still have chosen not to believe.

When someone challenges you about signs, saying that they can’t believe in God unless God does a miracle, point out that Jesus did plenty of miracles, and many people still didn’t believe.
The issue is rarely one of the intellect.  It’s not because people don’t have enough proof that they can’t believe, it’s that they don’t WANT to believe.  This is a matter of a person’s will, not their intellect.

In Matthew, we get a little more clarification to the “sign of Jonah”:

(Mat 12:39-41 KJV)  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: {40} For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. {41} The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The sign people will get was that of Jesus being in the earth for three days and coming back from the dead.  That would be a big enough sign.

:30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

generationgenea – fathered, birth, nativity; that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family; the whole multitude of men living at the same time

Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh as he had come from the belly of the whale.  Jesus would be a sign to the people having come from the belly of the earth.

:31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Queen of the south – the Queen of Sheba

shall rise upegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life

utmostperas – extremity, bound, end

Jesus is referring to the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon:

(1 Ki 10:1-8 KJV)  And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. {2} And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. {3} And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. {4} And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, {5} And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. {6} And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. {7} Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. {8} Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

This woman had heard great things about King Solomon, so she made a point of going to see him.  She found out how wonderful he really was.
Jesus is saying that if this woman went to such great lengths to see Solomon, how much more should the people of His generation be coming to listen to Him, since He is Solomon’s Creator?

Jesus gives us an interesting picture of the judgment, as if witnesses will be called in to testify against us.  When the people of Jesus’ generation are being judged, the Queen of Sheba will be called to the stand to testify concerning how she visited Solomon, and how these people should have followed Jesus.

Note:  The Queen of Sheba won’t be reincarnated as some other person, or a worm, she will be raised from the dead as the Queen of Sheba.

:32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

shall rise upanistemi – to cause to rise up, raise up; to raise up from the dead; to rise, stand up; of persons lying down, of persons lying on the ground; of the dead

they repentedmetanoeo – to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

preachingkerugma – that which is proclaimed by a herald or public crier, a proclamation by herald

Jonah was the fellow who God had told to go to Nineveh and preach.  Nineveh was the capital of the ancient Assyrians, who were a wicked, hated people.  Jonah wanted God to judge Nineveh, not be merciful to it.  So Jonah ran, and was swallowed by a whale.  When Jonah came to his senses and agreed to do what God had said, God had the whale vomit Jonah onto a beach, and off Jonah went to Nineveh and preach.

(Jonah 3:4 KJV)  And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

That’s all Jonah said.  He didn’t have a fancy message.  He didn’t even care for the people he preached to.  Yet they paid attention to him and they repented.
As far as we know, Jonah didn’t make a big deal about the whale with the Ninevites.  All he did was warn of judgment.  Some have suggested that Jonah might have looked pretty weird, being half-digested, probably discolored.  But keep in mind, Nineveh is three hundred miles from the coast of Israel.  I’m not sure Jonah would have looked that weird once he arrived at Nineveh.
Jesus’ point is that if the people of Nineveh paid attention to Jonah, certainly these people ought to pay attention to Jesus.



We will be held accountable for what we’ve been exposed to.
Now we haven’t had Jesus Himself teaching us, but in a way we have something pretty heavy we’ve been exposed to – God’s Word.
Living in the Information Age we have little excuse about what we’ve had access to when it comes to the things of God.
Nowadays, you can have twenty Bible translations, even look up Greek and Hebrew words, all from your computer.  You can listen to messages from good Bible teaching pastors on the radio and the Internet.

:33-36  Obeying the Light

:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

candle luchnos – a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick

hath lightedhapto – to fasten to, adhere to; to fasten fire to a thing, kindle, set of fire

secret placekruptos – hidden, concealed, secret

bushelmodios – a dry measure holding 16 sextarii (or 1/6 of the Attic medimnus), about a peck (9 litres)

candlestickluchnia – a (candlestick) lamp stand, candelabrum

the lightpheggos – light; of a candle or lamp; the bright sunshine, the beam of light

The purpose of lighting a lamp is to make light.  The whole purpose of light is so that you can see things.

Don’t confuse this teaching with other things Jesus has said like, “You are the light of the world”.

Here the idea is going to be that the truth about Jesus is the light, but these people haven’t been letting the Light do its work.  Instead, they have been trying to cover up the light.

:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

light of the body luchnos – a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick.  KJV is a little off in the translation, this isn’t the word for “light”, but the word for “lamp”.

The eye is a way for light to come into your life, into your “body”.

the eyeophthalmos – the eye; metaph. the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing

single haplous – simple, single; whole; good fulfilling its office, sound; of the eye

If you have a healthy physical eye, then you get a lot of light.  If spiritually, you are in a healthy place, then you will get a lot of light in your life.

full of lightphoteinos – light; composed of light; of a bright character; full of light; well lit

evilponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in a physical sense: diseased or blind; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

darknessskoteinos – full of darkness, covered with darkness

I think that Jesus is addressing the issue of these people not paying attention to Him like they should, like the people of Nineveh paid attention to Jonah.

They are like people whose eyes are not in good shape, who are not allowing their lives to be filled with light.  Because of their lack of attention, they are not letting God’s light into their lives.

:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

lightphos – light; metaph. of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it

darknessskotos – darkness; metaph. of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell

They need to be careful because they think they are okay and in a safe place, but really they are in darkness.

:36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

full of lightphoteinos – light; composed of light; of a bright character; full of light; well lit

partmeros – a part; one of the constituent parts of a whole

There is no part of the body in darkness

candleluchnos – a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick

bright shiningastrape – lightning; of the gleam of a lamp

doth give … lightphotizo – to give light, to shine; to enlighten, light up, illumine; to bring to light, render evident


Be careful of overconfidence

There are times when we need to be confident of the things of God.
God doesn’t want us wishy-washy when it comes to the assurance of our salvation, or the decision to follow Him with all of our heart.
But there can be times when we can be overconfident and we become blind to things we need to pay attention to.
The people in Jesus’ day felt that they didn’t need Jesus telling them what to do.  The problem was, He was their God.
I belong to an e-mail group composed of two hundred Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors.  From time to time, somebody will dare to share how he is having problems with some of the people in his church.  He will talk about how these people don’t like the things that are going on in the church, and especially how they don’t like him.
Often, a common response from some of the pastors will be something like, “dump and rejoice”.  They basically tell the other guy to dump the “trouble makers” and be glad that they’re gone.  Don’t let the door hit them on the way out.
Though I have to admit that sometimes this is probably exactly what needs to take place, I can’t help wonder sometimes if there aren’t some lessons that we’re all supposed to be learning here, including the pastors.
I had a teacher in school who taught us to ask this question in marital counseling:  “What are some things that you could be doing that could help the other person change?”
We tend to think that when we are having a problem with someone else that it’s the other person who needs to change.  But sometimes I’m doing things that are helping the other person continue in their behavior.  Sometimes the change needs to start with me.
I think that sometimes I’m so insecure that I don’t want to hear that I may actually be part of the problem.  So I’d rather blame the other person and be done with it.
But I think that if I’m going to keep growing as a Christian, that I need to be open to hearing from time to time that there are areas in my life that need to change.


Be open to the truth.

We may not always want to hear the truth about ourselves, but that is how we grow.
Tell me in plain English
The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around the house that he used to do.  When the examination was complete, he said, “Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me.”  “Well, in plain English,” the doctor replied, “you’re just lazy.”  “Okay,” said the man. “Now give me the medical term so I can tell my wife.”
During the days that Knute Rockne was coaching Notre Dame, a sports columnist in a South Bend newspaper earned the reputation of being the meanest, most cutting writer in the country.  The anonymous writer, who knew Notre Dame well, wrote about the team's weaknesses.  He pointed out the mistakes of individual players.  He told about those who were lazy, about those who broke training and didn't discipline themselves.  Of course, this column made the players roaring mad.  The truth hurt and players complained to Rockne.  He listened with sympathy but said he could not stop the writer.  He advised that the only way the players could do so was to go out and play the game so well that they would prove him wrong. 
Later it became known that the writer of the column was Knute Rockne himself.  As coach of the team he was best acquainted with their weaknesses.  The critical column was his ingenuous device to develop a better team. Sometimes the Scriptures speak so sharply about us it is uncomfortable.  But God tells the truth because He loves us and wants to make us winners.  He knows that we cannot win unless we discipline ourselves to obey His rules of life.
Paul wrote,
(Eph 4:14-15 KJV)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

The key to growing up is learning to speak truth to each other, in love.


Watch out for falling logs

Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we are God’s “Truth Agents”, and that it is our calling in life to point out everyone’s problems, rebuke them, and tell them to repent.
Though that may at times be the case, there are some things we need to watch out for.
(Mat 7:1-5 NLT)  "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. {2} For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. {3} And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? {4} How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? {5} Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
We can fall into the trap of thinking we’re doing everyone a favor by pointing out the splinters in their eyes, when we ourselves have some pretty hefty problems.
We need humility.  We need love.  We need compassion.