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Luke 11:45-54

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 3, 2016


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular: 2900 words Communion: 2500 words Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

Last week … Jesus was invited over to the house of a Pharisee for dinner.

The Pharisees had many good points about them.

They believed the Scriptures were inspired by God.
They believed in miracles, angels, resurrection, and heaven.
They have a lot of similarities to us.

When the Pharisee expressed surprise that Jesus was not performing the traditional ceremonial handwashing before eating, Jesus launched into a pretty harsh critique of the Pharisees.

Jesus’s rebuked the Pharisees for being more concerned about their outer appearance rather than the state of their heart.

11:45-54 Lawyer Woes

:45 Then one of the lawyers answered and said to Him, “Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also.”

:45 one of the lawyers answered


A Mexican bandit made a specialty of crossing the Rio Grande from time to time and robbing banks in Texas. Finally, a reward was offered for his capture. An enterprising Texas Ranger decided to track him down. After a lengthy search, he traced the bandit to his favorite cantina, snuck up behind him, put his trusty six-shooter to the bandit’s head, and said, “You’re under arrest. Tell me where you hid the loot or I’ll blow your brains out.” But the bandit didn’t speak English and the Ranger didn’t speak Spanish! Fortunately, a bilingual lawyer was in the saloon and translated the Ranger’s message. The terrified bandit blurted out, in Spanish, that the loot was buried under the oak tree in back of the cantina. “What did he say?” asked the Ranger. The lawyer answered, “He said, ‘Get lost, you turkey. You wouldn’t dare shoot me.’”
Some lawyers can’t be trusted…

Not all lawyers are bad though…


Needing Proof
A man went to his lawyer and told him, “My neighbor owes me $500 and he doesn’t want to pay up. What should I do?” “Do you have any proof?” asked the lawyer. “Nope,” replied the man. “Okay, then write him a letter asking him for the $1000 he owed you,” said the lawyer. “But it’s only $500,” replied the man. “Precisely. That’s what he will reply and we will have him!

lawyersnomikos – one learned in the law

But it’s not just any old law they were learned in, it was the Law of Moses.
They were religious experts.
These men would take the Law of Moses and interpret it in order to teach people how to do it.


The Law vs. Legalism

Some Christians say that under the New Testament, there is nothing good in the Law of Moses.  Paul would argue against those folks.
(Romans 7:7 NKJV) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

The law shows us what the holiness of God looks like.  It gives us a clue as to God’s standards.

There is value in us learning and studying the Law.

The Law was not intended to produce salvation, but to convince man of his guilt and his need for a Savior.

Paul wrote,

(Galatians 3:24 NKJV) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

The law showed us our need for Jesus.

Jesus died in order to pay the penalty of our sins.

Legalism occurs when we take the Law further than God intended it to go.
In the early church, there were a group called the “Judaizers” who believed that you couldn’t be saved unless you were circumcised and kept the Law of Moses.
The early church got together and resolved the issue. 

It was Peter who spoke the winning argument when he said,

(Acts 15:10–11 NKJV) —10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Men aren’t saved by keeping of the Law.

Men are saved through trusting in God’s grace, God’s gift of Jesus’ death for our sins.

:45 You reproach us also

reproachhubrizo – showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect; one who injures another by speaking evil of him;

from hubris – insolence; pride, haughtiness

When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the lawyers realized they were guilty as well.

He had hurt their feelings.


Legal Pride

These lawyers are taking Jesus’ comments about the Pharisees as an insult to them.
They are even accusing Jesus of acting out of pride.
I’d like to suggest that the ones with pride are the lawyers.
There is a certain pride that comes when you live your life by strict rules.
You feel a sense of pride that you are able to accomplish such difficult things.

:46 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

:46 Woe to you also, lawyers!

Don’t mistake “woe” for a similar sounding word…

Video:  Bill and Ted’s “Woah”

Woeouai – alas, woe

In Hebrew the word is owy – woe! alas! oh!
Have heard the expression, “Oy vey”?

It means “Woe! Woe!” or, “Woe is me!”

The “oy” is straight from the Hebrew.  The “vey” is a newer version of the same word from the Aramaic.

It’s found over 100 times in the Bible.
It’s a word that’s found 71 times in the Old Testament.
Isaiah alone uses it 23 times.
It’s found 41 times in the New Testament.
Luke uses it 15 times.
It’s even woven into the book of Revelation.

After Jesus’ initial criticism of the Pharisees, He pronounced three “woes” to the Pharisees.

The first because they were good at tithing down to the last tenth of their spice garden but they neglected the bigger things in life like justice and the love of God.
The second because they loved attention, wanting people to notice them.
The third because they were hidden IEDs of uncleanness, people walk by them and are polluted because of the condition of their hearts.

Jesus is now going to pronounce three “woes” on the lawyers as well.

I find it interesting that there is another group of three “woes” in the Bible, mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 8-12) concerning the Great Tribulation before Jesus comes back.

:46 you yourselves do not touch the burdens

loadphortizo – 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

hard to beardusbastaktos (“hard” + “to carry”) – hard to be borne

touchprospsauo (“toward” + “touch”) – to touch

It might carry the idea of touching something to remove it.
It was also used of physicians (like Dr. Luke) gently feeling a sore spot or the pulse.

As experts in the Law, the lawyers were good at telling other people what they needed to do according to the law, but they didn’t do so much of it themselves.

Their motto was “Do as I say and not as I do”.


Too many loopholes

This first “woe” is because the legalist is good at using all sorts of Scripture to condemn others, while conveniently excusing their own behavior.
The other day a friend asked my opinion about an article concerning Christians and the upcoming elections.
The article was called “Why Christians are Voting for Trump”.

The author is a pastor who made several points.

With all his points, he found Scriptures to support his ideas.

He believes that Christians have a responsibility to vote in the upcoming elections.

He said we should vote responsibly, that if the final two candidates are not truly Christian, the believer should still vote, but vote for the person who supports the policies that are closest to a Christian worldview.

He started off the article by talking about how important it is to vote for the right person because the next President will be appointing a replacement for Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court, and there are important issues facing the Supreme Court.

He talked about how horrible President Obama’s picks have been, especially since the Supreme Court has recently ruled that gay marriage is okay.

Here’s what made me chuckle.

When he talked about the previous election in 2012, when faced with the choice of voting for Obama or Romney, he himself chose not to vote at all because Obama was too liberal and Romney (though more conservative) was a Mormon.

He broke his own rules.

Though I would agree that a Christian has a responsibility to vote in the election, and though I would agree that when you can’t vote for a clear believer, you ought to vote for someone that at least is heading in the right direction, I would disagree with how he justified his own views with Scripture, sometimes even contradicting himself.

The legalist is acquainted with all the “loopholes”.
That’s how they can excuse their own bad behavior or attitudes while condemning others.
Some lawyers make it their goal to always find a loophole…

A young Ivy League lawyer was driving to a hearing in another town, which he was late for. While driving through back streets, the lawyer, in a rush, decided not to stop at a stop sign, but rather slow down. As he continued on his way, he saw a state trooper pull up behind him with lights on. After checking his speedometer, the young lawyer decided the officer must be wanting to pass him. Reluctantly, he slows down and allows the officer space to continue on. However, when he pulls over, the officer pulls up directly behind him. As the officer approaches the car, the lawyer rolls down his window and with a smug expression asks, “How can I help you?” The officer replies, “Do you recall pulling straight through a stop sign at the intersection about a mile back?” “Well, I slowed down.” “Well, in this state, stop signs mean stop, not slow down.” The young lawyer, feeling cocky, thought he could outwit the small town cop: “If you can prove to me what the difference between stopping and slowing down really is, I’ll pay the ticket, if not, you have to let me go.” The officer thought about it for a moment, then replied, “Okay. Sounds like a fair deal. Get out of your car.” The lawyer rolls his eyes, and proceeds to get out of his car. The officer unsheathes his nightstick, and begins to mercilessly beat the lawyer to the ground. He paused for a moment and smiled: “Now, would you like me to stop? Or should I just slow down?”

When I am honest with myself about the Law, I see God’s standard as being impossible to keep completely.
If I’m honest with myself, I realize that I need God’s grace.
The problem with the person caught in legalism is that they can’t admit how far short they fall.  They’re just good at the loopholes.

:47 Woe to you!

Here’s the second “Woe”

:47 For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

:48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs.

:47 you build the tombs of the prophets

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

tombsmnemeion – 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

The lawyers were among those who repaired and beautified the monuments for the prophets.

:47 your fathers killed them

The lawyers would have to admit that it was their own ancestors who killed the very prophets whose tombs they built.

:48 you approve the deeds of your fathers

you approvesuneudokeo – 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 sepulchers 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)

(Matthew 23:29–30 NKJV) —29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

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

tombsmnemeion – 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

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

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

wisdomsophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters

I will sendapostello – to order (one) to go to a place appointed

prophetsprophetes – in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things; one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation

apostlesapostolos – a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

persecuteedkioko – to drive out, banish; to pursue; to persecute, oppress with calamities

:49 some of them they will kill and persecute

Jesus is predicting that more prophets and apostles will continue to be raised up by God, persecuted, and killed.

When Stephen was on trial for preaching Jesus, he said at his trial:

(Acts 7:51–52 NKJV) —51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,
And after that they killed him.

: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

foundationkatabole – a throwing or laying down; a founding (laying down a foundation)

worldkosmos – the world, the universe

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

:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to 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

:51 from the blood of Abel

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 (Gen. 4)

(Genesis 4:3–5 NKJV) —3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel lso brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abel’s offering was accepted because he had offered it with faith. (Heb. 11:4)
(Hebrews 11:4 NKJV) —4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
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.
(Genesis 4:6–8 NKJV) —6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

:51 to the blood of Zechariah

Joash was only a little boy when he became king over Judah, but he had the help of Jehoiada 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.

Zechariah was the son of Jehoiada, and when Joash started doing wicked things, Zechariah rebuked Joash, and Joash responded by having Zechariah killed right there in the Temple (2Chr. 24:17-22)

(2 Chronicles 24:17–22 NKJV) —17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. 18 Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. 19 Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, but they would not listen. 20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’ ” 21 So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. 22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, “The Lord look on it, and repay!”

:51 from Abel …to Zechariah

It almost looks as if Jesus is saying that they will be guilty of killing the prophets from “A” to “Z”, but that’s just a coincidence with our English alphabet.

“a” and “Z” are the first and last letters of the English alphabet, but not that of Hebrew or Greek.

In the Hebrew Old Testament, the books are in a slightly different order, with 2Chronicles being the last book in the Bible.

Jesus is indeed talking about all the Old Testament prophets, but by talking about the first guy murdered in Genesis, to the last guy murdered in 2Chronicles.

Zachariah the son of Jehoiada was not the last historically of the prophets to be killed, but the last of the prophets killed that was recorded in Scripture.

Quite a few prophets died after Zachariah, including Isaiah.

:51 it shall be required of this generation

These lawyers were just like their fathers who killed the former prophets and would be held accountable before God because of their rejection of the One the prophets foretold – Jesus.

This second “woe” is about …


Hindering God’s work

Sometimes God decides to do a work that’s a little out of the ordinary.
It might not even fit our idea of how God should work.
In the late 60’s, God began to work in a little country church on the edge of town in Costa Mesa California, a little church called “Calvary Chapel”.  One of the craziest things was that hippies were getting saved, and God was using them…
Video:  Lonnie Frisbee

God used Lonnie in some amazing ways, even though he was actually quite a flawed individual.

Some churches were quite upset at what was happening because some of these long haired barefoot hippies would show up in their neat and clean Sunday services.

Some claimed that using rock music in church and speaking in tongues was all a work of the devil.

In Acts 5, Peter and John were on trial before the Sanhedrin. 
They were simple, uneducated fishermen, but they had been with Jesus.
They had been causing much grief to the religious leaders by continuing to preach about Jesus.  God was also doing amazing things like healing people, and even sending an angel to miraculously release them from prison.
During this trial before the religious leaders, a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up to speak:

(Acts 5:38–39 NKJV) —38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

When God chooses to use someone, even if it’s a little unorthodox, do you want to stop them because they don’t dot all their “I’s” and cross all their “T’s”?
Legalism hinders God’s work.

:52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

:52 taken away the key of knowledge

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

fromkleio – to shut, shut up
The keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut
In the NT it is used 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

The “key” of knowledge is the thing that the lawyers know the most.

It’s the Scriptures.


Just read it

The lawyers were considered the “experts” in the Scriptures, in the Law of Moses.
The problem was that some of their ideas about the Scriptures were totally off and not only were they keeping themselves from understanding the truth about Jesus, they were keeping others from understanding the truth about Jesus.
Some religions will give you the idea that the Scriptures are too hard to understand and too complicated unless you listen to them and their interpretations.
God doesn’t seem to agree with this idea.  John wrote,
(1 John 2:27 NLT) But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

Don’t misunderstand.  God uses teachers in the church. 

The point is that God can teach you all by Himself.

Even Moses, the author of the Law, wrote,
(Deuteronomy 30:11–14 NLT) —11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
Do you have trouble understanding your Bible?  Here are some tips:
You must be born again.

The Bible says that an unbeliever will struggle to understand the Bible.

(1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT) But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

Until you’ve given your life to Jesus, until the Holy Spirit is in you, you will have a hard time understanding.

You might need an easier translation.

Maybe you’re not that good at reading.  You might find it beneficial to simply get an easier to understand translation, like the New Living Translation.

You just need to read.

Learn to develop a “waiting for further information” file in your head.

If you read something and don’t understand it, file it away for later.  It may simply mean that you haven’t read enough of your Bible yet.

I’ve had a lot of my questions answered over the years simply by reading the Bible over and over again.

:53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things,

vehemently deinos – terribly, grievously

to assail 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 cross-examine 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 catechize, and so to entice to answers

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

:53 the scribes and Pharisees

The “lawyers” were also known as “scribes”. They were the ones responsible for making careful copies of the Scriptures.

:53 began to assail Him vehemently

They have “unfriended” Jesus

He has hurt their feelings.

:54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.

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

fromenedra – a lying in wait, an ambush

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

He might saystoma – the mouth, as part of the body: of man, of animals, of fish, etc.

They’re trying to “catch something out of His mouth”

:54 that they might accuse Him

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

fromkategoros – an accuser; a name given to the devil by the rabbis
From this point on they are going to start writing down everything He says in order to gather evidence and accuse Him before the court.


Looking for faults or truth?

There are some ministries whose sole purpose is to find things wrong with others.
They often call themselves “discernment” ministries.
There is value in discerning truth from error.  John wrote,
(1 John 4:1 NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(Galatians 1:8 NKJV) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
The problem comes when you start to find “error” in every little thing.
In 1992 a Los Angeles county parking control officer came upon a brown El Dorado Cadillac illegally parked next to the curb on street-sweeping day.
The officer dutifully wrote out a ticket. Ignoring the man seated at the driver's wheel, the officer reached inside the open car window and placed the $30 citation on the dashboard.
The driver of the car made no excuses. No argument ensued - and with good reason. The driver of the car had been shot in the head ten to twelve hours before but was sitting up, stiff as a board, slumped slightly forward, with blood on his face. He was dead.
The officer, preoccupied with ticket-writing, was unaware of anything out of the ordinary. He got back in his car and drove away.
That’s the mindset of legalism – Don’t pay any real attention to the person in front of you, just write a lot of tickets.
Many people around us are “dead in transgressions and sins.” What should catch our attention most is their need, not their offenses.
They need a Savior, not a citation.