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JESUS EXPOSES THE PHARISEES
By Diana Gray - Evangelist
Copyright (c) 2001, All Rights Reserved

     Jesus knew just how to use object lessons to bring home a point with people using their sins and negative life styles.  Looking at the book of Luke 11:37-54 we will see a good example of this method of teaching that is still leaving a profound message today.
     Luke 11:37-38 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.  And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
     The Pharisees were looking for a way to entrap Jesus.  They figured the best way was to invite Him for dinner and in a moment of  weakness catch Him in some area of wrong doing in order to expose Jesus before the people.  Jesus being the Son of God knew fully what they were up to and promptly sat down to dine with them without washing his hands. 
     Jewish religious laws and customs were very strict about the ceremonial washing of ones hands.  Anyone who didnít was considered an evil sinner and judged harshly.  Jesus didnít wash His hands Ďon purposeí in order to expose the truth about them.  He knew just how to strike back at their own game turning the tables upon them before they had a chance to attack Him.  Jesus being full of Godly wisdom and knowledge would know just what to say to expose the Phariseesí hypocritical rituals and ours today!
     Luke 11:39-41 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.  Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?  But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
     Jesus righteously criticized the Pharisees harshly because they put more stock upon the outside appearance of oneís body rather concentrating upon their inner hearts and desires.  The Pharisees needed to clean up their hearts and actions so that the inside of them would be cleaned up.  How sad to think that here were men raised up from childhood to know the Old Testament and scrolls yet they didnít truly know the Lordís Word at all.  What good would cleaning up of their fleshly bodies when their eternal soul was far more important.
     Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
     Jesus wanted the Pharisees to understand that it was good to tithe but if that is all a person does forgetting  to help the poor and downtrodden what good did it do.  They needed to come to understand that paying tithe for greedy reasons to be seen of men was the only reward that they would ever get.  Man may see our actions but the Lord knows our motives and reasons behind what we do.  It their hearts were impure, tithing would help the church but not them.  In the long run they were the ones that would be looked down upon for their un-repented sin.
     Luke 11:43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
     Jesus knew that the Pharisees strived to get the best seats in the synagogues and the most important positions wherever they went.  Holding their noses up and announcing to the world that they were someone great, yet what good would it do for them in the long run.  They strived to get people to look at them for Ďgreedy and selfish reasonsí and didnít understand that it is far better to get honored because one earned it through humility of a servantís heart. 
     Luke 11:44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.
      By saying this, Jesus was referring to the decay of death because the Pharisees were spiritually dead in their hearts and they didnít even know it.  Everyone who came into contact with them could be spiritually brought down without even realizing what was happening to them.  Moral and spiritual corruption can happen to anyone if they are spiritually weak.  People who are caught up in repetitious  religious  activities out of custom and not Holy Spiritual prompting can soon become spiritually dead inside.  Over time they may not realize it, because the spiritual fire inside of them cools off until things of God no longer seem very important.  Church becomes a family fellowship club to attend once a week.
     Luke 11:45-46 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.  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.
     Jesus knows menís hearts and nothing is hidden from Him.  So all of the extra laws and rules that the Pharisees added, made them into hypocritical religion loves rather than humble servants of the Lord. Their real job was to serve the people not their own self interests.  The religious leaders created these long lists of rules intending to show all of the common people how important they were with their great knowledge.  The really sad thing was that even though these leaders in spiritual laws created them, they only pretended to fallow them themselves making great hypocritical shows in public.
     Luke 11:47-51 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.  Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 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.
     Throughout history the prophets of the Lord were killed and persecuted yet no generation would be in more trouble than the generation that persecuted the Son of God.  Here the greatest of all the prophets was sitting eating a dinner with them and they didnít realize who they had in their midst.  How sad that they were rejecting the very Messiah that they all were so admittedly waiting for.  How many generations had long awaited such a wonderful event as this?
     Jesus was far more than a mere human prophet but Jesus was God himself in their midst.  How easily He could have proven who He was with just a wave of His hand.  Yet the Lord desired true love and worship not the hypocritical sinful greediness that surrounded Him in that room. 
     Luke 11:52 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.
     Not only did the Pharisees make extra unneeded laws but they also took pride in teaching trainees to do the same.  Every attempt that people did to strive to develop spiritual growth was hindered by pompous routines and rituals, allowing no time for the deeper things of God. 
     Through all of the enormous amount of added religious law trying to study it made it hard to understand much less practice on a daily basis.  By creating such a mass amount of human laws, people were unable to know and understand the true meaning of the Word of God.  Thus they were literally throwing away the key of knowledge for everyone around them, including themselves.  They needed a Savior!
     Luke 11:53-54 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: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
     The Pharisees and scribes were very angry.  Here they had invited Jesus to come to their dinner in order to entrap Him.  Jesus told them the truth and the knowledge outraged them.  They were well aware of their own sins but they didnít want anyone else to know that they had any specially each other. 
     Everything that Jesus said bothered them deeply but they still didnít have a legal way to kill Jesus yet.  These people were hypocrites and Jesus knew it.  They tried to appear before the world around them as if they were pious men yet inside they were far away from having the heart of God. 
     People can only hid their true motives just so long before their true selves will show.  We learn here that it is far better to be honest and true with the words that you speak because the Lord knows whatís in our hearts anyway.  How much more are we to love the Lord than to be true to ourselves as well as the world around us.  All of the religious activities and laws wonít get us any closer than following the Lord with all of our hearts.  Jesus love us and desires an honest relationship with Him.

Verses from the King James Version Bible

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