Luke 11:45-54

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 9, 2001


Last week, we started a section where Jesus had been invited for dinner at the house of a Pharisee.  The Pharisees were the sect of Jews that believed in the inspiration of the Scriptures, they believed in miracles, they believed in a resurrection, they believed in angels.  They worked very, very hard to live lives that were pleasing to God, following every aspect of the Mosaic Law and their own traditions.

When the host noticed that Jesus had not washed His hands according to the extensive Pharisaical ceremonies, Jesus warned the Pharisees about their hearts.  He warned them that they were more concerned about the outward appearance of their lives and not about the condition of their hearts.  He warned them that they had become men who loved recognition.  He warned them that they had become spiritually unhealthy for anyone who hung around them.

:45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

lawyersnomikos – pertaining to the law, one learned in the law; These weren’t lawyers like our modern day lawyers, these were men who knew the Law of Moses.  They were experts in religious law.  These men would take the Law of Moses and interpret it, so people would know just how to apply it.

reproachesthubrizo – to be insolent, to behave insolently, wantonly, outrageously; to act insolently and shamefully towards one, to treat shamefully; of one who injures another by speaking evil of him; from hubris – insolence; pride, haughtiness

They are taking this as an insult.  They feel as if Jesus is humiliating them.  Jesus is hurting them in their “pride”.

This is why an insult hurts so much, it hurts our pride.


Beware of pride

I think that pride is behind much of what we do that is wrong.
This is going to be one of the great motivations of why Jesus’ enemies will want Him killed, because He has injured their pride.
Yet the things He has said about them are absolutely true.
Pride can blind you to the truth about yourself.
When Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency, by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn took him aside.
“From here on out, you’re going to have lots of people around you. They’ll try to put up a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They’ll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain’t.”

-- Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.

Can a person say something like that to you and not cause you to be hurt?
When a person’s criticism stings you so badly, sometimes its because our pride has been injured.
Executive consultant Richard Hagberg told this story:
The head of one large company recently told me about an incident that occurred as he and his wife waited in line to get his driver’s license renewed. He was frustrated at how long it was taking and grumbled to his wife, “Don’t they know who I am?”
She replied, “Yeah, you’re a plumber’s son who got lucky.”

-- Fortune (6/26/96).  Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.

:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

ladephortizo – to place a burden upon, to load; metaph. to load one with a burden (of rites and unwarranted precepts)

burdensphortion – a burden, load; of the freight or lading of a ship; metaph.  of burdensome rites

grievous to be borndusbastaktos (“hard” + “to carry”) – hard to be borne

touchprospsauo (“toward” + “touch”) – to touch; to touch with a view to remove.

The lawyers would weigh people down with huge burdens, and then do nothing to help them.


Be careful about adding to people’s problems.

I think that sometimes we are well meaning, but end up hurting people.
When a person is loaded down with guilt and condemnation, we don’t need to be harping on them about quitting smoking, wearing a suit and tie to church, start tithing, and to stop cussing.  What people need most is for Jesus to touch their heart.  Jesus will take care of the outer stuff.
One pastor prays, “Lord, help me today not to add to anybody’s problems.”

:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

ye buildoikodomeo – to build a house, erect a building; to build (up from the foundation); to restore by building, to rebuild, repair

sepulchresmnemeion – any visible object for preserving or recalling the memory of any person or thing; a memorial, monument, specifically, a sepulchral monument; a sepulchre, a tomb

It has been a tendency in history that God’s people don’t always like hearing what God has to say through His prophets.

Stephen said at his trial:

(Acts 7:51-52 KJV)  Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. {52} Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

:48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

ye allowsuneudokeo – to be pleased together with, to approve together (with others); to be pleased at the same time with, consent, agree to; to applaud

JFB:  Out of pretended respect and honor, they repaired and beautified the sepulchres of the prophets, and with whining hypocrisy said, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets,” while all the time they “were witnesses to themselves that they were the children of them that killed the prophets” (Mt 23:29,30);

Their very acts against Jesus would show that they were no different from their fathers.

:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

I think Jesus may be quoting from 2Chr. 24:19, which we’ll talk about when we get to verse 51.

(2 Chr 24:19 KJV)  Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.

:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

may be requiredekzeteo – to seek out, search for; to demand back, require

which was shedekcheo – to pour out, shed forth; metaph. to bestow or distribute largely

Jesus is saying that because the generation standing before Him was going to be killing the Messiah Himself, they would be held liable for all the prophets that were killed by all the previous generations.

:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

perishedapollumi – to destroy; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

altarthusiasterion – the altar for slaying and burning of victims used of

templeoikos – a house; the house of God, the tabernacle

requiredekzeteo – to seek out, search for; to demand back, require


Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve.  When Abel and his older brother Cain brought offerings to the Lord, the Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abel’s offering was accepted because he had offered it with faith.

Abel was right with the Lord, and Cain wasn’t.  Cain became jealous of his brother and killed him, the first to kill one of God’s people.


Joash was only a little boy when he became king over Judah, but he had the help of Jehoida the priest, who raised him and taught him the ways of the Lord.  As long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash was a good king.  But the day came when Jehoiada died, and Joash began to do wicked things.  Zecharias (or, Zechariah), was the son of Jehoiada …

(2 Chr 24:17-22 KJV)  Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. {18} And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. {19} Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. {20} And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. {21} And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. {22} Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.

Zacharias was not the last of the prophets to be killed, but the last recorded prophet to be killed.  The order of the Hebrew Old Testament is different than the order in our Bible, with the book of 2Chronicles being the last book.  Abel was the first, Jesus is using Zacharias as the “last”. 
Don’t think of this as killing prophets from “A” TO “z”.  “a” and “Z” are the first and last letters of the English alphabet, not that of Hebrew or Greek.

:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

taken awayairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to bear away what has been raised, carry off; to move from its place

the keykleis – a key since the keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut; metaph. in the NT to denote power and authority of various kinds

knowledgegnosis – knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding

hinderedkoluo – to hinder, prevent forbid; to withhold a thing from anyone; to deny or refuse one a thing


Don’t hinder others from finding Jesus

There was an example in the Old Testament of religious people who acted to only drive people away from the Lord.  Eli was the high priest at the time –
(1 Sam 2:12-17 KJV)  Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. {13} And the priests' custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; {14} And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh, unto all the Israelites that came thither. {15} Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. {16} And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. {17} Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.
(1 Sam 2:22-24 KJV)  Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. {23} And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. {24} Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress.

These sons of Eli were in a position to influence others, yet they abused their position and caused people to hate coming to church.  The people felt they were getting ripped off.  The people were being abused.

Sometimes we can become so self-centered that our motives and actions are all about “us”.

:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

vehemently deinos – terribly, grievously

to urge enecho – to have within, to hold in; to be held, entangled, be held ensnared; to be engaged with, set one’s self against, hold a grudge against someone

to provoke … to speak apostomatizo (“from” + “the mouth”) – to recite from memory; to repeat to a pupil (anything) for him to commit to memory; to ply with questions, to catechise, and so to entice to answers

many thingspleion – greater in quantity; the more part, very many

:54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

laying wait forenedreuo – to lie in wait for, to lay wait for, prepare a trap for

to catchthereuo – to go a hunting, to hunt, to catch in hunting; metaph. to lay wait for, strive to ensnare, catch artfully

mouthstoma – the mouth, as part of the body: of man, of animals, of fish, etc.

might accusekategoreo – to accuse; before a judge: to make an accusation; to accuse formally before a tribunal, bring a charge against publicly

Their questions weren’t intended to learn more about Jesus.  They were looking for something to hang Him with.


Are you here to receive?

Sometimes we can find ourselves coming to church for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes we are just waiting for the guy up front to stop speaking so we can talk to our friends.
I’ve had people sit through service after service waiting for me to say something wrong.
I hope you’re here to receive something from Jesus.


Taking criticism

Can you take criticism without dishing it back?
Jesus has hurt the pride of these men, and they aren’t going to take it.
If someone has been criticizing you lately, could they actually be correct?  They may not have the best reasons for criticizing you, but have you stopped to ask yourself if they’re right?
(Prov 9:8-9 KJV)  Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. {9} Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.