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Lesson in Prayer
After getting to know the place at the Lord’s feet (Luke 10:38-:), the desire to learn to pray also arises. The disciples ask the question after the Lord Himself has been in prayer. They have seen Him pray again and realize that He draws the power for His service from this. It says so beautifully “after He had finished”. The Lord says “I am prayer“ (Psalms 109:4), that is, His life was prayer, it consisted of prayer, He lived in constant dependence on His Father. Yet He also had times of prayer. He also had spent a night in prayer (Luke 6:12). Then He was all alone. When His disciples are with Him, His seclusion in prayer is of limited duration.
They ask him to teach them to pray, as John taught his disciples. It makes clear that John was not only a man of the Word, but also a man of prayer and that he pointed its importance to his disciples. Now that the disciples see the Lord praying, they remember it and now they want to receive teaching about this topic from Him, their Lord and Master.
The prayer that the Lord teaches His disciples is the expression of a heart that lives in fellowship with God. He teaches His disciples to put the Father’s interests first. Then He tells them that they will entrust the needs of the body to the care of the Father. Then He knows how much they need forgiveness of sins from the Father. He also knows how weak their flesh is. Therefore He tells them to ask that they will not come into circumstances where the flesh will reveal itself, that they will be saved from the power of the enemy. Then He speaks in a parable about perseverance, that the prayers may not come from a heart that is indifferent to the outcome. He assures the disciples that their prayers will not remain without consequences.
In this Gospel we see the disciples more in connection with heaven, as it were at the level of heaven. Therefore only “Father” is written here, and not “Our Father who is in heaven” as in Matthew 6 (Matthew 6:9), where the disciples are more in connected to the earth and from the earth they turn to the Father in heaven. In the Gospel according to Matthew there is more distance, in the Gospel according to Luke there is more nearness. The Lord puts the Name of the Father first. By this He teaches the disciple that his longings must first and foremost be that the Name of the Father will be hallowed on earth. That Name is done so much dishonor.
Then the desire for the coming of the kingdom of the Father is expressed. That is related to the sanctification of His Name. If His kingdom is established in public glory on earth, the Name of the Father will be hallowed on all earth by everyone. His Name shall be seen in all His glory, love and holiness.
For sons, that kingdom is already present in their hearts. Here every son of the kingdom is given the indication that in his prayer life he must also put the honor of the Father first. The Lord tells us that we will begin our prayer by thanksgiving to the Father and asking Him to be glorified in our lives and that we will not begin with our needs.
A next aspect is that they are in circumstances where they depend entirely on His care for their daily needs. Although most of us don’t know it that way, it is important to live constantly in this awareness that we depend entirely on our Father for every bite of bread we need. To an even greater extent, this applies to the food for our heart. We cannot afford to miss that. That is why the Lord teaches us to ask the Father if He wants to give us every day the portion of manna He has measured out for us. We depend on our Father not only for our physical needs, but also for our spiritual needs.
Then there are two other spiritual needs. The one is that of forgiveness. We all often stumble (James 3:2) and then miss the fellowship with the Father. Our heart yearns for that fellowship, cannot get on without it. If we have sinned, it is important to confess that sin. Then we may know that the Father forgives (1 John 1:9). This prayer is based on the trust in the Father that it is His pleasure to forgive the sins of His children.
The reason for this trust in forgiveness is that the disciple himself also has the willingness to forgive others. If a disciple is willing to do so, he can count on the Father having that willingness for sure.
The last prayer the Lord teaches His disciples is not to be led into temptation. That is a prayer in view of one’s own weakness. The prayer is that it will not be necessary for the Father to let us discover ourselves, as was necessary with Peter. This is not yet the end of the teaching about prayer.
A Parable About Prayer
The Lord adds a parable to underline the importance of ongoing, trusting prayer. There are three friends. Someone has a friend who comes to him at an impossible hour because he needs three loaves of bread. The reason for the friend’s request is that he has a friend who unexpectedly came to him to spend the night with him. Because he did not count on that, he has nothing in his house to give his friend, who is tired of the journey.
Fortunately, he has another friend who will certainly lend him some bread. Confident in their friendship, he goes there and asks for those loaves, even though it is midnight. A real friend will not respond with all kinds of excuses not to help his friend. He will not regard his friend as troublesome and will not point to the fact that he has already closed all doors, or to his sleeping children who might well wake up.
The Lord gives two reasons why that friend should get up. In the first place he would get up because he who comes to him is his friend. And if that isn’t reason enough, there would be another reason that would make him get up. That reason is his friend’s unashamed request. The fact that his friend is so bold that, without any shame, he is asking him for help at this time should make him give him everything his friend needs. It’s about the trust that the friend asking for help shows in the friend to whom he asks for help.
Ask, Seek, Knock, the Holy Spirit
Following on from this example, the Lord Jesus says that His disciples – and this also applies to us – can count on being given when they pray. When we ask in complete confidence, shamelessly, we will receive what we ask for.
The Lord does not say that we always get what we ask for directly. Sometimes we have to seek for the will of the Father, we have to get to know that will, that what we ask is in accordance with His will. There may be unknown reasons for the delay of the answer, but our prayer is heard from the first time we say a certain prayer. We see that with Daniel. He prays for three weeks, but receives no answer (Daniel 10:2-Leviticus :). When he then receives an answer after three weeks, he hears the reason of the delay, but also that his prayer from the beginning had come before God (Daniel 10:12-2 Chronicles :).
If we seek God’s will, we will find it. That is why it is important to keep knocking on the door, to continue to seek Him. We must not let ourselves to be discouraged in case of a delay, for to us it will be opened.
After the encouragement to pray, seek and knock, the Lord gives the unequivocal promise that whoever asks, will be given to and who seeks, finds and who knocks to him it will be opened.
Praying is trusting the goodness of the Father. How does that work with earthly fathers? If a son asks for a fish, his father does not give him something as dangerous as a snake, does he? Or if he asks for an egg, isn’t his father giving him something as deadly as a scorpion?
If earthly fathers act like this with their children by not giving them anything that is dangerous or deadly, will the heavenly Father act differently? No, He will certainly not be inferior to this, but will only give good gifts to His children.
The Lord Jesus gives them another thing to ask. They may ask for the Holy Spirit. It shall be given to them by the heavenly Father. It is not about the place where the Father is, but about the characteristic of that place. The Father is in the sphere of heaven and from that sphere He gives the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will come from heaven to form a heavenly people on earth. This prayer was answered on Pentecost. Believers should not pray whether the Holy Spirit will come to them. As soon as someone believes the gospel of his salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-Numbers :), he receives the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). The believer may ask the Father whether his life may really be led and filled by the Holy Spirit. Note that it does not say that the Holy Spirit is being prayed to. That is nowhere mentioned in God’s Word.
A Demon Cast Out of a Mute
In the next section we see a big contrast with the previous section. There we have the means for the believer to live for the glory of God. That part ends with the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the section that follows, we see the power of satan. We also see the Lord’s power to cast out demons and we see again the importance of God’s Word (Luke 11:28).
Here and elsewhere in this Gospel we see the connection between satan and men, but we also see the privilege of the believer in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. For the new man, for him who is born of God, the Spirit of God is the power for fellowship. Satan, on the other hand, likes to fill the old nature of man with the power of an evil spirit.
The Lord shows the connection between the evil spirit and disease, weakness, or other ailments of body or mind, as we see here with the mute. It is clear that the lack of speech is not a result of physical weakness, but is caused by the evil spirit that lives in the man. As soon as the evil spirit has left him, the mute can speak.
By casting out the demon, the Lord gives an illustrating example of the age to come. The powers that He manifests, as well as the powers that others will do later in His Name, are “the powers of the age to come“ (Hebrews 6:5), that is the millennial realm of peace. The millennial realm of peace means the total defeat of satan, to the glory of God. The healings performed by the Lord and the casting out of evil spirits are a partial proof of what will take place in that day, public and world-wide.
The Lord heals one who is mute. Muteness is a particularly pitiful one among all the ailments that a human being can have. The ability to speak is only given to the human being. Muteness robs him of what it means to be human. A person who is mute is locked up in his own mind and body.
The muteness of this man is a picture of man’s inability to communicate with God. People do not speak to God because they do not believe in Him, caught as they are by sin. It is satan’s job to imprison man in his muteness. The last thing he wants for man is to express himself to God. The Lord can break this silence. When He has healed him, the mute can speak. He can ask, seek and knock. He can be a God praising person.
This revelation of the Lord’s power, which He exercises in the power of the Holy Spirit, is blasphemously attributed by some to satan himself, who is Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons. Attributing to satan what is undeniable proof that God is at work can only be done intentionally. This is not a matter of ignorance, but of malice. The deep depravity of man and his hatred of Christ are revealed here. It is the contradiction of sinners against Him which He constantly endured (Hebrews 12:3).
Others do not go that far, but still want a sign from heaven from Him, by the way, for an equally depraved reason, namely, to tempt Him. Satan does not lead all in the same way, but he adapts his working method to the flesh of each person. Some people are fierce in their unbelief, while others are more religious. Desiring a sign from heaven, while the Sign from heaven stands before them, is blind unwillingness to believe.
The Kingdom of God
In the section of the Luke 11:29-Jonah :, the Lord answers the question of a sign (Luke 11:16). First, He speaks about the terrible blasphemy that He casts out demons through satan (Luke 11:15). He knows what they think. He presents them with the logical example of a kingdom divided against itself. In such a case, that kingdom will not stand, but will be destroyed. The same goes for a house that is divided internally. Such a house falls.
Surely it is logical for every right-thinking person that the same applies to satan, isn’t? Are they so naive to think that He is doing the work of satan when it is so obvious that He is working against satan? If He were busy casting out demons by satan, it would mean the end of satan’s kingdom. But satan does not break down his own kingdom.
The Lord refers to their sons who also cast out demons. Do they do so by the ruler of the demons? Of their sons they acknowledge that they do so in the power of God. If they can judge that their sons do so by the power of God, then those sons will act as witnesses against them when they stand before God’s judgement seat, the great white throne.
Their assessment of their sons shows that they can properly judge by whom demons are cast out. This establishes their guilt for their false accusation that the Lord Jesus casts out the demons through satan. Instead of being confronted with satan in His Person, the kingdom of God has come to them in His Person. Here is not someone that is working for the kingdom of satan, but for the kingdom of God. It has come to them in the exercising of a power that is undeniable, namely in the casting out of demons.
The casting out of demons is a testimony to the power of that kingdom and also a ‘fingermark’ from God. The “finger of God” points to, points out and does something that people look up from, and in which they see God’s power revealed (cf. Exodus 8:19; Exodus 31:18; Psalms 8:4; Daniel 5:5; Mark 7:33; John 8:6). The Gospel according to Matthew shows that God’s finger is the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28). That ‘finger’ brings life, but also judgment, into the world. The kingdom of God came at that time, as a testimony of its power, however not yet as a situation and atmosphere in which everything is public.
This presentation of the kingdom here is different from what we find in the Gospel according to Matthew in the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven always suggests a change of dispensation as a result of the Savior taking His place in heaven. He will soon reveal His power below, but He has to come from heaven to establish the kingdom of heaven. To establish that kingdom in power and glory in the future, the Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven. Then He will receive the kingdom and will rule over all the earth.
The strong one is the satan. When Christ was not yet on earth, satan had a firm grip on men. The number of demon-possessed in the days of the Lord Jesus, the number of cases with which He is confronted, shows that. Except for a single exception, like the man in the tombs (Luke 8:27-Joel :), those people did not show that they were demon-possessed. In this way, the man with the unclean spirit could be inconspicuous in the synagogue. The unclean spirit did not reveal itself until Christ came there and he had to reveal himself (Luke 4:33).
Demons cannot remain hidden in the presence of the Lord; but until He is there, the demon-possessed live in the peace of satan. We see that in countries like China and India, where people live in the greatest idolatry without being concerned that they are in the power of satan. The unrest only comes when they come into contact with the gospel.
Then the Lord Jesus comes towards satan. He is stronger than satan. That is what He proved in the temptations in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-1 Chronicles :). There He conquered him, and deprived him of his power, and put him out of action. From then on He is busy taking his plunder.
In such an opposition as that between Christ and satan, there is only one choice possible: with Him or against Him. He is the utterly Rejected. This requires a radical choice. This choice must be reflected in doing His work of bringing together what belongs to Him.
The test that the Lord carries out here concerns not only everyone’s person, but also everyone’s work. The former applies more particularly to the unconverted and the latter more to the converted who is working in a worldly manner.
It may be that someone has chosen Christ while imitating the world in his work and pursues his own honor. Such a person could be a popular preacher, for example, but only bind people to himself and not to Christ. He can also use a certain doctrine as the basis of bringing together. This often happens in Christianity. That is not bringing together with Christ. A major hindrance to gather with Christ is also a spirit of factions and sectarianism that is necessarily hostile to Christ. Bringing Christians together with a center other than Christ increases the confusion.
The Return of the Unclean spirit
The liberation of an unclean spirit is not enough to be free and live for the Lord. Someone can stop the worst evil, he can let go of a wrong religion or a certain form of idolatry, but all this does not sanctify him or make him a new man. It is about whether the emptiness in his heart is filled with the presence of God through the possession of a new nature. The absence of a certain evil just leaves the space empty and offers the possibility of access for the old evil. The impure spirit can return to the house, except if it is already inhabited by the power of the Spirit of God, for He alone effectively excludes satan.
After someone has broken with evil through external Christian influences, satan’s power seeks fuel for a greater fire. That man falls into worse evil than if he had never confessed the Name of Christ. It is not just a return to what he used to be, not even a rising of old evil, but there is a new and complete flow of evil, a new and worse power of the enemy, who takes possession of his heart. This makes the last of that person worse than the first. An apostate person is the most hopeless of all the bad people. This is how it will be with the Jews and this is how it will be with Christianity. That’s how it is with anyone who has a confession, but is only an empty house.
Hearing and Observing the Word
After the Lord has said this, a woman in the crowd raises her voice to express her agreement with what she has heard Him say. She is impressed by what she has heard. She expressed her feeling of what a happiness it must be to have such a Son Who reveals such a beneficial power.
In her admiration, the woman does not go beyond the natural feeling that the Lord’s good deeds are experienced as very pleasant. The roman-catholic church has gone much further by introducing the scandalous worship of Mary.
For the Lord, it is not about being superficially impressed by His goodness or an outwardly privileged position like that of His mother Mary. Therefore, He takes this opportunity to show what is much better. With His “on the contrary” He introduces that it is far more blessed to hear and observe God’s Word.
Through the Word of God, a connection is established that is closer and more lasting than the bond of the flesh. There is nothing on earth that brings up eternal things as the Word of God. Power, even if it is as great as the power the Lord Jesus exercised over man or over the enemy, has only a temporary effect; but “but he that does the will of God abides for eternity” (1 John 2:17).
The Word of God is the connection between man on earth and God on high, it is the seed of the imperishable life, “through the living and enduring word of God“ (1 Peter 1:23). The great touchstone is how one reacts to the Word of God. There are several times that Mary has treasured the Word in her heart (Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51).
Answer to the Question for a Sign
The fact that the Lord does not seek popularity is apparent from what he’s beginning to say to the crowd of people who have gathered. He knows them and knows that they are a wicked generation. As true Jews, they only want to believe when they see signs. Signs don’t bring a person to faith. The Lord has already done so much, but has this generation come to believe? One more sign will be given to them and that is the sign of Jonah.
They know Jonah and his history well. Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites when he appeared there after three days and three nights being in the fish and preaching that they should repent (Jonah 3:6-2 Samuel :). He did not do some miracle, but spoke the Word. It was a word of judgment in which at the same time God’s mercy had a place. We see that when the Ninevites have repented, for God does not let judgment come.
In the same way, the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation when He rises from the dead. Like all signs, they will only see this sign when they repent. In the mission to the Ninevites, the Gentiles, we see the love of God for all people. This love for all people is also seen in the sending of the Lord Jesus.
The Lord refers to another example to show them the situation they are in. At the judgment that will be pronounced over them when they stand before the great white throne, the Queen of Sheba will testify against them, and that testimony will be the reason for their condemnation. For she had come from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. What had led her to undertake that long journey? What she had heard about Solomon in connection with the Name of the LORD (1 Kings 10:1)! The people to whom the Lord Jesus speaks did not have to make a long journey. The wisdom of God has come to them in Him Who is more than Solomon and stands before them and speaks to them.
In this context the Lord speaks again of Himself as the Son of Man. In doing so, He makes it clear to all that He not only has a greater glory than Solomon, but also a greater area of authority. His name “Son of Man” indicates that the realm of His government is all creation and also that His government is not only a temporary, but an eternal one.
Also the men of Nineveh will testify against them at the judgment. Jonah had preached to them and they had repented. Now He Who is more than Jonah stands before them, and they reject Him.
Neither with the Queen of the South nor with Jonah is there any sign or miracle, but the testimony of the Word was heard and worked in power. It worked in the Ninevites to repentance and in the Queen of the South to go to Solomon. In Jonah God sent in His mercy a man to the Gentiles to call them to repent. In the Queen of Sheba a heathen comes to God, to Solomon, to his house, to see all the glory of Solomon. In these two persons this whole gospel is summarized as it were.
The Lamp of the Body
The Lord Jesus then speaks of the Word of God as a light. He speaks the Word of God and thereby lets the light shine in the house of Israel. The light reveals everything. In Him there is nothing that obscures the light. However, we can dim the light. If it is placed in a cellar, nobody can see it. The light is also not seen when a basket is put over it. Light should stand on a lampstand, so that it can illuminate anything freely anywhere. We can obscure the light that has been ignited by hidden sins, “a cellar” is a hidden place, or by being completely absorbed in our daily work, busy to fill “a basket” with what we need for daily life.
The Lord points these things out to us in order to draw our attention to the possible causes that the Word of God remains ineffective in relation to us. We do not need to think that we will believe when we see signs, or that signs strengthen our faith in God’s Word. Faith in the working of God’s Word and experiencing its working is not in the presence or absence of signs, but in the object of our eye. A “simple” [Darby Translation] eye is an eye that focuses on only one object, Christ. We will then know what to do with our bodies in order to achieve God-glorifying deeds.
The Word of God always turns our eyes to Christ. If Christ is not the object of our eye, if we do not live in the light of God’s Word, our eye will be turned to bad things and we will come to bad, God-dishonoring deeds. There can be external light, there can be external knowledge of God’s Word, as in Israel and in Christianity. If that knowledge has no effect in a life of dedication to God, this light becomes darkness.
The history of Israel has confirmed this. They once possessed, compared to the nations, divine light, but the light that was in them has become darkness. In that state of darkness they came more and more during the life of the Lord on earth, until there was no way back. At first they were indifferent to Christ, but finally they totally rejected Him. What remains is the darkness of death.
The Lord places them in the full light of His Word. This has two effects. The first effect is seen in those who believe, who have judged themselves as sinners in the light of God’s Word. Their whole body is enlightened, they are totally in the light. They walk in the light, as God is in the light (1 John 1:7). It is important that they also walk in accordance with the light. This is possible if the eye is simple, if it is directed only at the Lord Jesus.
The second effect we see in those who do not believe and reject the light. Once all of them come into the light, nothing remains hidden. If they were aware of that, they would repent. Because they reject the light, what the Lord says here will become clear to them in its full horror at the judgment. The lamp will shine on them with its light when they stand before the great white throne. Everything will be brought into the light (1 Corinthians 4:5) and judged righteously. In the next section we see people to whom this applies.
Speech Against the Pharisees
The people have not let in the light that brought them the blessing. Now the Lord focuses the light as a spotlight of truth on their religious leaders. The Pharisee does not have the faintest idea of this when he invites the Lord to have lunch with him, for he has totally different thoughts. The Lord accepts the invitation and reclined at the table.
When the Pharisee sees that He does not first wash Himself before He uses the lunch, he marvels. It is not a question of hygiene, but it is a religious ritual, a ceremony. According to the Pharisees’ thoughts, the Lord can never be a good Jew if He does not keep the religious precepts as they themselves have set them up and keep them as the right thing to do. The Pharisee can only think of external things. He notes that the Lord does not keep to their traditions.
What we see in this man is the characteristic of legalism. Legalism is adding to Scripture and imposing these additions on others, whereby the external behavior is important and normative and the inner unimportant. But an outwardly indisputable behavior is not necessarily proof of an inner good mind. That was true then and it is still true today. The Lord’s reaction is therefore important to take to heart, for the Pharisee is in each of us.
The Lord knows the wonder of the Pharisee and the reason for it. He doesn’t ask for permission to speak, but takes on the role of Host and starts immediately with a stern speech. His speech is hard for the religious leaders, but it is also grace for others that He clearly denounces these leaders, so that they will not be deceived by them. He actually had not come to use the lunch with the Pharisees, but to shed light on their actions and their way of judging.
In this Pharisee he speaks to the whole company of Pharisees. The words which He addresses to them are not tender. They are a discovering light. He tells them how they are alert to a clean outside, but that their inside is full of robbery and wickedness. They rob others and above all they rob the honor of God. They are full of wickedness, they have a bad eye.
Except that they are corrupt inside, they are also unwise, or because they are corrupt, they are also unwise. They have forgotten God as the God Who made not only the outside, but also the inside. It is foolish to think only of the outside, to focus on it and to own the inside for oneself and to think that others can’t come to it. They have to do with Someone Who knows both sides perfectly because He has made both sides. God desires truth in the innermost being (Psalms 51:6), but they are concerned only for what people see.
The Lord looks at the heart, but they do not think about that. The reason is clear: they seek the honor of men and not the honor of God. He points out to them that all outer things will be truly clean if they offer their innermost being to God and open them up to Him. For those who are clean within, all outer things are clean (Titus 1:15). With this, He puts an end to all the legalism that has leavened the church of God through the ages (Galatians 5:9).
By giving the smallest, they think they go the furthest in accuracy, all to their own credit, of course, to stand out above the crowd that only brings the ordinary tithes. However, they have no understanding whatsoever of God’s judgment or assessment, how God assesses true piety, how He judges their revelation. That must always be a question for us.
The last thing they think of is the love of God, or worse still, they don’t think of it at all, they pass by it. They ignore both the judgment of God and the love of God. That is a terrible insult to God. The Lord reminds them of their duty in this. If they came into the right relationship with God, they could also give the tithes.
The Lord pronounces a second “woe” to the Pharisees because of their predilection for prestige. They like to receive tributes from people. They demand that tribute by sitting on the first seats, the front seats, where everyone can see them. That caresses their sense of honor. And when they walk on the markets, where there are many people, they hope there are people who greet them enthusiastically and praise them loudly, so that many see and hear it. Their sense of honor is therefore particularly caressed. Everything revolves around themselves, whether in a confined space or in public.
A third “woe” goes to the Pharisees because they are concealed tombs, while the people who come into contact with them do not know. They, who are so keen on external impurities, are themselves polluting creatures. By their hypocritical religion they drag people into ruin without them noticing.
Speech Against the Lawyers
The Pharisee has apparently also invited lawyers. One of them feels addressed. He finds it all insulting to the Pharisees. And not only that, he wants to make it known that the Lord has not only insulted the Pharisees, but also them. For they are the creators of all those laws and commandments that the Pharisees so meticulously put into practice.
The Lord makes it clear to them that the spotlight of truth is also on them, and that they too are subject to His judgment. The lawyers will also hear the “woe to you” from Him and the reason for it. They are as hypocritical as the Pharisees. They burden people with their self-invented applications of the law, which they themselves do not live up to at all. They’re twisting the law in a way that their conscience remains out of question, but that they can exercise authority over others.
The lawyers are people with a great historical awareness. They know the history well. They greatly appreciate the prophets who have spoken in fidelity to God and have been killed for it. You had to honor such people. However, to the lawyers they are nothing more than relics. They honor these prophets by building tombs for them that can serve as places of pilgrimage, but the message of the prophets is of no use to them. They do not realize that they are descendants of the fathers who killed them.
The Lord exposes the reality of their outward actions. They act in line with their fathers. Their fathers killed the prophets, and they build the tombs for the prophets. They are not spiritual descendants of the prophets, because they do not make themselves one with their message. They reject the message of the prophets just like their fathers and by doing so they make themselves one with their fathers who killed the prophets.
The future will make it clear that they are exactly like their fathers. This happens when prophets and apostles are sent to them, as the Lord announces. This mission takes place in the book of Acts. It concerns prophets and apostles of the New Testament. The Lord says emphatically that the wisdom of God does this. After all, people would never have thought of exposing others to rejection and death in order to reveal people’s hearts. According to human perception, this mission seems fruitless and even foolishness. With “the wisdom of God” the Lord can also mean Himself. For he is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30). He will send them.
Those who build the tombs of the martyrs do not seem to be involved in the persecution and violence practiced by the fathers, but that is only apparent. The opposite will soon be the case. God will soon put them to the test by sending apostles and prophets, some of whom they will kill and others persecuted to somehow get rid of them. Instead of being held back by the example of their fathers, they follow in their guilty footsteps. They are more to blame for ignoring such a serious warning. In the wisdom of God, the conduct of the people to whom the Lord speaks here, the measure of iniquity of “this generation”, which is this kind of hypocritical people, will be made full.
God will then demand from them the blood of all prophets that through the ages has been shed by them from the very beginning. Abel is the first person whose blood was shed. We do not read from him a word he has spoken. Yet the Lord calls him here a prophet. By his way of life, which showed fellowship with God, he was a condemnation for Cain. What Abel did, casted light on Cain who rejected the light by killing Abel. Cain is the pious, legalistic Pharisee, who expresses his anger against someone who truly honors God. This generation will soon do the same with the Lord Jesus.
The last in the long line of prophets killed by the people the Lord mentions Zechariah. The history of Zechariah is at the end of the Bible book 2 Chronicles (2 Chronicles 24:20-Ecclesiastes :). This book is in our Bible somewhere in the middle, but in the Hebrew Bible it is the last book of the Old Testament. So what the Lord says is true (of course!). He also mentions the place where this faithful man was killed. That is on the temple ground. Their anger had grown so great that they did not hesitate to enter that holy area and kill someone who had spoken to them on behalf of God.
After this, the Lord repeats His announcement of the judgment of this generation, which He introduces with an affirmative “yes” and a powerful “I tell you”. In His last “woe” against the lawyers, He establishes their terrible guilt that they have taken away the key of knowledge. They have not accidentally lost the opportunity to gain knowledge of God, but have deliberately taken it away.
The key of knowledge, and of wisdom, is to fear God. The true fear of God gives access to knowing Him and the wisdom of His counsels (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28) which are manifested in Christ. In Christ are “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge“ (Colossians 2:3). They have taken away the key to that treasure room by focusing attention on themselves, putting themselves in the center and thinking only of their own honor.
To enter, they should take the place of a pupil, the place of a needy and lost person, but they do not want that. Therefore they themselves have not entered into that glorious knowledge of God in Christ Who is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:30). By imposing their own laws on others, they have also prevented those who did want to from entering. They want to continue to exercise power over others. It would also be a condemnation of their own position if they allowed others to enter. The lawyers shun the light and reject it, as do the Pharisees.
What the Lord has said is not appreciated. The religious leaders, who have heard all this and have been in the beam of the spotlight, reject the light and revolt against the light They attack him fiercely and question Him on many subjects.
These people are not sincere. They want to hear all kinds of things from Him. However, they are not interested in knowing the truth, but in maintaining and justifying themselves and their system. Anything they ask of Him is meant to be a snare. How badly would they like something to come out of His mouth and catch Him. If only He would let something slip that they could use as a ground for an accusation.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Luke 11". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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