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February 25, 2011 – Luke 11

Click here to read Luke 11 on BibleGateway.com

Have you ever noticed that Jesus rarely answers the way people want? It’s one of the characteristics of Jesus that he speaks to people and not about people. One of the more famous examples is when Peter asks what will happen to John (at the end of the book of John, if you’re wondering), and Jesus answers “what is that to you? Follow me.” Jesus is always more concerned with the people He is talking to than talking about other people.

That said, sometimes He reminds us it’s better to mind our own business than to worry about others. In today’s little vignette, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees, and he chastises them for being so concerned with outward appearances of holiness without actually understanding God’s heart. He tells them essentially that they are prideful hypocrites, which I’m sure was a fun message for them to hear.

BUT NO ME, RIGHT?

As he’s saying this, another group is standing there, the so-called “experts in the law.” These were not Pharisees, at least not entirely. They may have been a sub-set of the Pharisees, but it seems more likely that they were more like Bible teachers or scribes. A modern comparison might be that the Pharisees were like pastors or priests, and the scribes were more like seminary professors. A person could be both, but they were separate organizations.

In any case, one of these tweed-toga-wearers comes to Jesus during his speech about the Pharisees and says “But Jesus, you are casting a bad light on all of us righteous people when you talk like this.” Ok, lesson one, don’t interrupt Jesus when He’s talking to someone else, especially when he’s in a rebuking mood.

This expert probably hoped Jesus would say “Oh, sorry about that. I’m not talking about you, of course. Your theology is right on, you have an accurate understanding of the Trinity and God’s sovereignty, and the world would be alright if everybody just listened to your wisdom. Carry on, good and faithful one.” Instead, Jesus turns and says “Oh hi. Didn’t see you there. I have a few things for you, too.” The experts in the law get 3 “woes” as well, just like the Pharisees.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

The truth is, neither our self-imposed piety nor our theology and education is a guarantee that we are serving God. It’s all about our hearts, and that is a challenge no matter how high or how low you are in society. God knows all of our deepest desiresand motivations, and there’s no degree or position or award that will blind Him to who we really are. Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart; there’s no hiding from Him.

Just ask Adam.

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