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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 11:46

But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Burden;   Hypocrisy;   Jesus, the Christ;   Lawyer;   Minister, Christian;   Pharisees;   Reproof;   Satire;   Self-Righteousness;   Teachers;   Scofield Reference Index - Bible Prayers;   Thompson Chain Reference - Lawyers;   The Topic Concordance - Hypocrisy;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Tithes;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Paul the Apostle;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Lord's Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Lawyer;   Luke, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Burden;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Death of Christ;   Discourse;   Error;   Ethics (2);   Humanity of Christ;   Law of God;   Lawlessness;   Lawyer ;   Logia;   Luke, Gospel According to;   Oppression;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sheep, Shepherd;   Touch;   Witness (2);   Woe;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lawyer;   25 Burden Weight;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Burden;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Burden;   Grievous;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Lade;   Lawyer;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 46. Ye lade men with burdens — By insisting on the observance of the traditions of the elders, to which it appears, by the way, they paid no great attention themselves. Matthew 23:4; Matthew 23:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-11.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


AROUND THE JORDAN VALLEY

95. Jesus accuses Pharisees and scribes (Luke 11:37-54)

The Pharisees thought that religion consisted of keeping ceremonial laws. Yet their hearts were full of wicked plans to advance themselves while at the same time they oppressed others. They took great care in washing their hands and cleaning cups and plates, but made no effort to clean the evil out of their hearts (Luke 11:37-41).

In calculating the amount of their offerings to God, the Pharisees were very strict in measuring exactly one tenth of their garden produce, even counting the seeds and stalks. But this was of no value if they did not practise love, mercy and justice towards their fellows (Luke 11:42). They were proud and vain, always looking for people’s praise, but in God’s sight they were as unclean as graves full of decaying bodies. And just as graves spread their uncleanness to people who touched them, so the Pharisees spread their uncleanness to all who came in contact with them (Luke 11:43-44).

The scribes felt insulted when they heard Jesus speak against the Pharisees like this, because they were the professional teachers who laid down the laws that the Pharisees followed. Jesus saw this as all the more reason to condemn them, because they burdened others with laws that they were unable to keep themselves (Luke 11:45-46). They honoured dead prophets with lavish tombs, but persecuted living prophets who brought them God’s message. Some they killed, as their ancestors had done in Old Testament times. They shared in the violence of their ancestors, and would suffer accordingly (Luke 11:47-51).

Because the scribes’ detailed interpretations of Scripture were difficult to understand, they had, in effect, shut people off from God’s Word. They were skilful in twisting the meaning of words, and used this ability constantly to try to trick Jesus into saying something whereby they could find fault with him (Luke 11:52-54).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/luke-11.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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

This is Woe 1. While multiplying men's religious obligations to infinity by ridiculous and hair-splitting interpretations, the lawyers did not personally accept and fulfill the obligations which they imposed on others. They avoided the regulations they prescribed for others by all kinds of "theories and handy methods of escaping the fulfillment of the commandments while keeping the appearance of executing them."[46] Theirs was a demonstration of the truth that preaching what others should do is a far different thing from the preachers doing what they preach.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See the notes at Matthew 23:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-11.html. 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Tonight, chapter 11 in the gospel according to Luke.

Again, as Luke is pointing out the human side of Jesus, though He was God, He became man. He is the God-man. He is divine, and yet, He is human. The perfect balance. And whereas John points out the divinity of Christ in his gospel, which we will be entering into next, Luke points out the humanity of Jesus. And because this is the special emphasis of Luke, he does record more than any of the other gospel writers concerning the prayer life of Jesus Christ. And so Luke mentions many cases where Jesus was praying. And again, beginning the eleventh chapter, Luke tells us:

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples ( Luke 11:1 ).

Prayer is something that can be learned, but learned best through practice. I have observed that those men who are engaged in the all-night ministry of prayer here at Calvary Chapel, have really learned to pray. As I am in a group of men, and we are praying, as one of them leads out in prayer, I can always tell the men who are engaged in that all-night ministry of prayer, it shows in their prayers. It is reflected. They've really learned how to pray. Of course, if you spend a few nights in prayer, and you really learn, you've got a lot of chance to practice. But it really shows; it's really a skill that can be developed through practice.

And the disciples, one of them said, "Lord, just teach us to pray." And that's something that we all need to learn. We need to learn how to pray more effectively. And there is much to be learned on the subject of prayer.

Now Jesus taught by an example, giving to them a model prayer. Not one that was to be memorized and recited verbatim. But in the model there is the basic structure for all prayer.

So Jesus said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name ( Luke 11:2 ).

Prayer always begins with relationship. If there is not an established relationship, there is no basis for prayer. The Father's ear is always open to the children's cry. And if you have that relationship with God where you can say, "Father," then you've established that relationship that opens prayer for you, effective prayer for you. But if you do not have that relationship, then prayer is meaningless. There is only one prayer that God wants to hear from you if you are not His child, and that's the prayer, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." And that establishes then relationship, and opens this glorious opportunity of prayer for each one of you. But prayer begins with relationship.

"Our Father, which art in heaven," and that reverence of God. "Hallowed be thy name," or reverend by thy name.

The name of God is a name that in the Hebrew was an active verb, which meant, the becoming one. How it was pronounced is something that we are not certain of. There are those who say, "Jehovah." There are those who say, "Yahweh." All we have are the consonants, Y h v h. The left out the vowels, so that we do not know what was the actual pronunciation, but most scholars conclude that it was Yahweh. But it is the Hebrew word the becoming one.

The name of God is significant, because in it God expresses what He wants to be to you. He wants to become to you whatever your need may be. So the Jehovah, or Yahweh, was used in compound forms. You had Yahweh Tesitkonu, the Lord has become our righteousness. Yahweh Raffa, the Lord our healer. Yahweh Jira, the Lord our provider. And all of these compound forms of the name of Yahweh by which God expresses His nature, and that which He wants to be to you. In prayer it is helpful if you understand that God desires to become to you whatever your particular need might be. If you are praying for healing, then He becomes the Yahweh Raffa, the Lord our healer. He becomes what you need. And whatever might be the need that will be expressed in the prayer, is exactly what God wants to become to you. The One who will provide that need in your life.

"Hallowed be thy name." And let me say that as far as I am concerned, the only name that is reverend is the name of the Lord, Yahweh. I do not like the title of Reverend Charles Smith. Whenever I get mail to Rev. Charles Smith, I know that they don't know me. Because I don't think there is anything reverend about the name Charles at all. And some write, the Reverend Charles Smith, which is suppose to be a little more impressive, and I like it that much less. And then there are those who go all out, and write the Most Reverend Charles Smith. Just call me Chuck, please. "Hallowed be thy name." The reverence due to the name of God.

Now the purpose of prayer is not to get your will done. The purpose of prayer is to accomplish God's will. So prayer moves in a cycle. It begins with God. His purposes, His desires, which He makes known to our hearts, which we utter as our prayer back to God. Which then God fulfills. And so prayer moves in a cycle, but the cycle begins with God, and the purposes of God. It is tragic that there are many people today who look upon prayer as an instrument for the accomplishing of their will upon the earth. "Now, God, this is what I want. And I demand, God, that You do this." And they hold the scripture up to God, and make their demands.

Prayer is never intended, was never intended to be an instrument by which men's will could be accomplished upon the earth. And the primary thrust of prayer is always the will and the purpose of God. And so it is significant that the first petition in the prayer is, "Thy kingdom come." God's will, God's purposes. That's what prayer is about.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on eaRuth ( Luke 11:2 ).

And so the purpose of our prayer should be to see the will of God being done here upon the earth. You say, "But didn't Jesus give us some pretty broad promises in prayer? Didn't Jesus say, 'And whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them'? Didn't Jesus say, 'And if ye shall ask the Father anything in My name, I will do it, that the Father might be glorified in the Son'? Didn't He say, 'Ask, and you shall receive'?" Yes, He did. But in each one of these cases, who was He talking to? Was He talking to the multitudes? Or was He talking to His disciples? And if you will read the scriptures carefully, you'll find that in each of these cases He was addressing His disciples. And what constitutes discipleship?

"If any man will come after Me," Jesus said, "let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." So whatsoever thing you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them. Who is He talking to? The disciples, who have denied themselves, and have taken up their cross to follow Him. Therefore, their prayers will be reflective of the life of self-denial, and the purposes of God being wrought. It would be the thrust of the prayer of that person who has denied himself, and has taken up his cross to follow Jesus.

Prayer was never intended to be an instrument for the accomplishing of man's will upon the earth, but the instrument for the accomplishing of God's will upon the earth. For you see, the earth is in rebellion against God. The earth is under the power of Satan. His will is being done upon the earth. Satan is sitting upon the throne, ruling over the earth, the world's system.

Now it is God's desire to bring the earth back under His government, under His kingdom, and His reign. And so God gets men upon the earth who align with Him, and He establishes through them a beachhead here on the planet earth. And then He uses them as instruments to enlarge that beachhead, to take back the world for God. We're in a battle. And the purpose of the battle is the control of the earth. And we who have come in submission unto God, then exercise prayer, that power that God has given to us, in order that we might expand the beachhead that God has upon this planet. And bring His love and grace, and His power, and His kingdom into other lives of those around us. And that's why God has you here. And if you are using your time for any other purposes, you're just wasting your time as far as God is concerned. He has a purpose and a plan for you being here, and that is the expanding of His kingdom upon the earth.

But there are many evangelists today that want to change this prayer to, "My kingdom come, my will be done on this earth, even as it is in heaven." But that's not what Jesus prayed. And that's not what we're to pray. There is so much selfishness in our prayers. So many prayers for personal gain and personal possessions, and those very things that could be extremely detrimental to our walk with the Lord.

Having established first things first, then He moves on the personal petitions. And there is nothing wrong with personal petitions, as long as they are in the proper place.

Give us day by day our daily bread ( Luke 11:3 ).

Interesting, isn't it? "Lord, give me enough bread for the 1983 that is coming up." No, God gives us day by day our daily bread. That we might live a life of constant trust in Him. As thy day is, so shall thy strength be. So often God does not give us more than just enough for today. And you shouldn't be concerned or worried if you don't have enough for tomorrow. For the Lord said you shouldn't really be worrying about tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. "Give us day by day our daily bread." God took care of us today, and the Father will take care of us tomorrow, and the next day, and each day that comes. And we don't have to worry.

Forgive us our sins ( Luke 11:4 );

Oh, what an important prayer.

for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us ( Luke 11:4 ).

Forgive us, Lord. And Jesus teaches that we will be forgiven as we forgive others.

There is much to be said by Jesus on the subject of forgiveness. Sufficed tonight that we just say it is one of the signs of true conversion, and it is one of the most important things for your mental health that you have a forgiving spirit. There are a lot of people today who are in institutions, who don't have to be there. But there is a bitterness, an unforgiving spirit that has tormented them, and has driven them to that point of being beside themselves. It is so important that you forgive. Now, we have asked God to forgive us, it's important that we be forgiven, but it is equally important that we forgive.

Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one ( Luke 11:4 ).

And so the model that He established for prayer: relationship; that purpose of prayer, the accomplishing of God's kingdom and His will upon the earth; and then our own personal needs.

Now continuing on the subject of prayer:

Jesus said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, loan me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine is on his journey and he has come to my house, and I don't have anything to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Don't trouble me: the door is shut, and my children are with me in bed; I can not rise and give to you ( Luke 11:5-7 ).

Now, it is helpful to understand a little bit about the culture of the Middle East, where hospitality is considered one of the highest virtues, and an essential. Whenever you have guests come, you are obligated as the host to set out food before them. And, however, they all lived in one little room, the whole family. And when they would go to bed at night, they would actually, just mats that they would roll out on the floor, and the whole family would sleep close together for warmth. There be a little fire in one portion of the room, and often the animals would in the room too. The chickens, and the lambs, or whatever, they would be in the one little room sleeping with them at night. And here you be all huddled together with your family, and someone is knocking on the door. Now, once the door is closed, it was really considered impolite to knock on a closed door. When you closed the door that meant, "don't disturb." When you woke up in the morning, you'd open the door, and you leave the door open all day long. And the people just come and go all day long, get coffee, or tea, or whatever. But when at night closed the door, that was a signal, don't disturb. And so you get ready to go to bed, you close the door, and that was it. You huddle close with your family.

Now, if you get up in that kind of circumstance, the whole family wakes up. Everybody is disturbed. The animals start squawking, and it's just a real mess inside. So Jesus paints a scene, midnight, the family is all asleep. The animals are all asleep. Here is some guy knocking on the door. Your neighbor, your friend says, "I need to borrow some bread, three loaves of bread. I have some company coming, I don't have anything to give to them." And, of course, he was in a bad way, because if you have company coming, and you don't have anything to lay before them, that was disgraceful too. So the guy inside the house says, "Go away, don't trouble me."

Now He said:

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend ( Luke 11:8 ),

Even though you're my friend, hey, that's no friend now, go away, friend.

but because of his importunity ( Luke 11:8 )

Now that word in the Greek is because of his continued, shameless knocking. Hey, he is not going to go away until he gets the bread, waking everybody up. You know that you've had it, he is not going to go away, he continues his shameless knocking at the door. So because of his continued, shameless knocking, you get up, and you go to get him his bread. Something you wouldn't do just because he was a friend, but something you do because the guy just won't go away. His continued, shameless knocking. He will arise and give him as many as he needs. "Get out of here, take it."

Now Jesus is giving us an illustration of prayer. But it is important to note that Jesus often illustrated with contrast. So that the man knocking at the door is a type of a man praying. Asking for a need of a friend. And this man is persistent. He continues to knock on the door until he gets his desired response. Now, does that mean that we have to continue to pray until we break God down, until He gets so sick of hearing us that He finally gives in and gives us what we want? No, again we have a contrast. If a man, a friend, will do something because of persistency, how much more will your Father? In other words, he is using a bad illustration as far as the prayer was concerned. Here is a man who is being moved because of importunity, the persistency of the one knocking, but with God you don't have to be persistent. Your Father knows.

We get another contrast down here. Again,

If a son asked bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he asked for a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asked for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? And if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your Father? (Luk 11:-13)

You see, it's contrasting. If you earthly fathers know how to give good gifts, how much more? So the contrast is intended, not a parallel with God in the illustration.

And so Jesus said:

I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened ( Luke 11:9-10 ).

Now again on the subject of prayer, Jesus is saying: ask, seek, knock.

James tells us that we have not, because we ask not. And that is so often true. People come and they pour out their tale of woe. "I don't know what I am going to do. Oh, I just don't know what I am going to do." "Well, have you prayed?" "No." "Well, you have not, because you ask not."

Now it is also possible according to James, to ask, but ask amiss because my desire is to fulfill my will. It's prayer according to my will. I am trying to do something to fulfill my own desires. You ask amiss that you might consume it upon your own desires. So prayer is asking, it is seeking, it is knocking, and the promise is, that if you ask, you will receive.

Now you may not always receive what you asked for. Sometimes God has something better. And so there are many times that I have asked God for something, and He didn't give me what I asked for, but He gave me something so much better. And many times His answers of no were much better than His answers of yes would have been, as I learned later. And though I moaned and complained because of the no answer, there always came that day when I said, "Oh, thank you, God, you're so smart, and I am so glad that You didn't answer that prayer that I asked You for awhile back. Oh, thank you, Father." I realize the mess that I could have gotten into had God answered that prayer. Well, He did answer it, but He answered it, "No."

If you ask you will receive; if you seek you will find; if you knock it shall be opened ( Luke 11:10 ).

And then again, another illustration. Earthly fathers, your son is coming to you, and he is asking, "Dad, can I have some bread?" And the dad hands him a stone, and says, "Chew on that, son." "Daddy, I'd like a tuna sandwich." And he gives him snake. "Daddy, can I have an egg?" And you offer him a scorpion. Jesus said, "No, you don't do that. You earthly fathers, you wouldn't want to do that to your own children."

Now if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? ( Luke 11:13 )

I am sick and tired of the Boogieman stories concerning God. Of someone who was seeking that God might fill them with the Holy Spirit, and then became possessed by some demon. What is that declaring? Exactly the opposite of what Jesus said was the case. It's saying that our heavenly Father is evil. If someone was asking for bread, and He gave them a stone. They were asking for fish, and He gave them a serpent. Not so, that is a blasphemous concept of God. The Bible says that God delights to give good gifts to His children.

I've heard people say, "Oh, you better be careful how you open yourself to God. You just be careful now, you never know what's going to happen." Again, Boogieman stories. And they are blasphemous, because they condemn the very nature of our righteous, holy Father.

Let me say this: I am not afraid one iota of anything that God has for me, or God wants for me. I want to always be totally be open to God. And my only fear is that I might not be open to something that God is wanting to do in my life. I am not the least bit afraid of anything that God may have for me, or want for me. I am not concerned that God is going to make some kind of fool out of me. I am perfectly capable of doing that for myself. What I am fearful is that I might have a closed door somewhere to God, and that He cannot do for me what He is wanting to do for me, because of my limited faith, or my preset positional ideas that have limited that work that God is desiring to accomplish in my life. I want to be totally open; I want everything that God has for me. I need everything that God has for me. And I don't want to have any closed doors when I come to God. Because I know that my Father loves me so much, and His desire for me is for the very best for me, because that's the way He loves me. And thus, I am not afraid at all of any work that God is seeking to accomplish in my life.

Now as Jesus was casting out a demon ( Luke 11:14 ),

The demon had taken over the motor functions of this particular person's speaking apparatus, and caused the person to be dumb.

I am in total disagreement with people who see demons in every malfunction of the human body. There are people that have gone overboard on this demon bit. And it's dangerous. There are demons, I recognize that. They are powerful, I recognize that. They are able to possess a human body and to distort the motor functions, I recognize that. But every malfunctioning motor function of the body does not indicate demon possession. And that is a very sad and tragic concept that has hurt a lot of wonderful people. In this particular case, the person's speaking ability was hampered by the demon.

And so it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, that the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He cast out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them ( Luke 11:14-17 ),

Knowing that they were suspecting that maybe He was doing this by the power of the devil, He showed the inconsistence of the idea. He said,

Every kingdom that's divided against itself is brought to desolation; a house divided against itself falls. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges ( Luke 11:17-19 ).

Now, they did have exorcism rights, according to Josephus, that were handed down from Solomon. They say that Solomon in all of his wisdom did devise certain drugs and all and incantations for the exercising of demons. And there were those in those days according to Josephus who, using these ancient rights of Solomon, were able to exercise demons. And Jesus was probably referring to these widely practiced and totally accepted exorcism rights of which Josephus spake.

And He said, "If I am casting out demons by Beelzebub, then who are your sons casting them out by? They'll be your judges."

But if I with the finger of God am casting out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God has come to you ( Luke 11:20 ).

He is just asking them to use their reasoning powers. Jesus is reasonable, and He asks you to be reasonable. They are making a ridiculous accusation: He is casting out devils by the power of the devil. Jesus said, "Hey, that's ridiculous. If that's going on, then Satan's kingdom is divided against itself. It's going to fall. You better be rejoicing in what I am doing. But that's not the case. If I am casting out devils, I am doing it by the power of God, then you better realize that the kingdom of God has come among you."

And when a strong man armed keeps his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger then he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he takes from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divides his spoils ( Luke 11:22 ).

Now, here we have a very important lesson concerning prayer. The strong man in this case is Satan. He is armed, he is keeping his palace, his domain. But thank God we can come against the domain of Satan in the name of One who is stronger than Satan. In the name of Jesus Christ. And we, through the power and the authority of the name of Jesus Christ, can spoil the stronghold that Satan has in people's lives.

I am amazed at the control that Satan is able to exercise over people. I have seen people's lives who are so bound by the power of Satan, that they do not possess good common sense. They're irrational in regards to spiritual things. And there are those that when you listen to them talk, you observe their habits, you see the power of Satan manifested in such a strong way, we oftentimes just sort of back away, and say, "Man, there is no help for that person; they are really gone."

But that is because we are so overawed at the power of Satan to take hold of a person's life, that we fail to realize that there is One that is stronger than Satan. The Bible says, "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" ( 1 John 4:4 ). And God has left us here in order that we might exercise that authority and power of the name of Jesus, by destroying the work of Satan in the lives of those people around us. By binding Satan's power in the authority in the name of Jesus, setting them free from that terrible hold that Satan has upon them. And giving them the opportunity, without that cohesive force and power of Satan, perverting their reasoning processes, let them make a reasoning decision concerning their relationship to Jesus Christ.

"And so when one that is stronger comes, he overcomes him, and takes from him his armor." Satan's armor has been stripped. We have authority and power over him, in the name of Jesus Christ. And we need to exercise that authority and power.

Then Jesus said,

He that is not with me is against me ( Luke 11:23 );

There is no neutral ground. "What do you think of Christ?" "Well, I don't know, I think He is a good man. He was a pretty good philosopher." "Are you for Him?" "No, I am neutral." "No, you're not." Jesus said, "If you're not with Me, you're against Me. If you're not gathering, you're scattering."

Two types of people: the builders, and the destroyers. Those who gather, those who scatter. If you're not gathering, you're scattering. You can't be neutral concerning Jesus Christ. He was a radical, you can't be neutral concerning a radical. You've got to have an opinion. You've got to form a decision. And not to be for Him is to be against Him.

Now, Jesus having cast out this demon, teaches a little bit concerning demons. And He said,

When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest ( Luke 11:24 );

So there is the intimation that demons, when they are not inhabiting a body, are restless. They seek to find a body to inhabit. And so when an unclean spirit is driven out of a body, through the authority in the power of the name of Jesus Christ, they wander through the wilderness areas restless, seeking rest, seeking a body to inhabit.

and finding none, he said, I will return to the house from whence I came out ( Luke 11:24 ).

Now, evidently there are certain conditions which open the doors for demons to enter in to a person's body. There are other conditions which prohibit a demon from entering into a person's body. Jesus teaches that they looked for a body to inhabit. Evidently there are things that can restrict their entrance into a body. And I believe that that which can restrict, and does restrict, is the will of man. I do not believe that a demon can enter into a person against that person's will. Whether the person be born again or not. I do not believe that they can violate the free will of man, as far as taking possession of a body. But people are often getting involved in the occult, into those areas of spiritism, where they are opening themselves to the entrance of demon entities. And by dabbling in the occult, by playing around with Ouija boards, or any of these things that have an occultish aspect to them, you are opening the doors for these demons, as you are seeking them to somehow mystically guide your destiny with the movement of the marker or with some other type of manifestation. And I believe that when you start getting into these areas, that you are beginning to open the door for demons to come, and begin to advise you, begin to direct you, they can inspire people in writing interesting detective stories. They can bring you fame, and the spirit writing, and all of these things are doors by which you can open yourself to being possessed by a demon entity. And so, I cannot warn you too much against the dangers of dabbling with those areas of spiritism, contacts with spirits and all, because it is in those areas where you can open the door that demons can come in. But I do not believe that they can come into a person against that person's will.

As God honors the free will of man, I think He forces Satan to honor the free will of man. So Satan comes in by guise. He leads you into the areas of dabbling into the occult, where gradually become open to these things.

Several years ago in the little chapel, we had a young man come into the office, and he sat down, and he was obviously troubled. And he introduced himself to me. And he said, "My name is Dave Hunt." And he gave me a Time Magazine that I had read, a Time Magazine that dealt with organized crime and dealt with Lucky Luciano. And in this particular Time Magazine, it had one of these little insert articles and the picture of this young man Dave Hunt, and said, "The mystery man, the Associate of Lucky Luciano." And this young man told me his story of how when he was growing up, he had an intense fascination for power. And when he was nineteen years old, he determined that he was going to possess power at any cost. And he said as he looked at society, he realized that one of the strongest powers in society was the Mafia. Stronger than our judicial system, because it had bought off the judicial system. It had bought off the government leaders. And so, he theorized that Lucky Luciano at that time was the most powerful man in the world. And because his ambition was for power, he decided that he was going to get next to Lucky Luciano and learn the secrets of power. Which somehow he was able to get in and become the associate, the constant companion of Lucky Luciano. And it was written up in Time Magazine. This mystery kid, young man, where he came from, nobody knew. But he was constantly with Lucky Luciano, the protégé of Lucky Luciano. And he said he enjoyed the power and all of the money, and the power that he had through these associations. The control over people, over circumstances.

But he said then he began to study the reign of Hitler. And he realized that Hitler was one of the most powerful men in the world. And he learned that Hitler was being guided by men who were involved in what was known as the White Magic Fathers. Men who were into the occult. Men who were in contact with demons. And so, he decided to go down to Peru where at the fall of the Fifth Reich many of these men, the masters of the white magic who were guiding Hitler fled to Peru at the end of the war. And he decided to go down and to look them up, and to learn from them the secrets of power. And so he went to Peru, and he got hold of these white masters. And he began to sit at their feet and learn the white magic. Began to dabble into this area of spiritism. And he said he was in his hotel room, and he was going through these incantations and all, when suddenly this presence came into the room. He said he was very aware of it, this spirit. And he said this spirit began to enter into his body, and he said, "Somehow I realized that if this thing enters into me, I no longer have power, I'll become its slave, I'll be under its power, and control." And he said, "I became extremely frightened." And he said, "Though I had only been to Sunday school a few times when I was a kid, I began to cry out, 'Jesus, Jesus help me, Jesus.'" Because he said, "I knew that if this thing took over I'd be lost." And he said, "I immediately packed my bags, I got a cab to the airport," and he said, "I waited at the airport for the next plane out of Peru." And he said, "I checked in, got back to Texas, I checked into a motel." And he said, "I was so shook, I didn't call anybody. I didn't let anybody know where I was." He said, "I was just so shook over this experience." And he said, "As I was sitting there in the motel, just thoroughly confused," he said, "the phone rang." And the fellow on the phone called him by his name, and gave him a cryptic message. And he recognized that these white masters spoke in these cryptic messages, and so he was figuring out the message. And he just about had the message all figured out, but there was one part that the fellow gave to him that he couldn't remember, and he knew that if he could remember that, that he could put the whole message together.

And so he was just sitting there, thinking, "Oh, if I only knew that one part, if I only knew that one part of the message," and the phone rang again. And the fellow said, "The part of the message that you can't remember is this:" And he said, "Wait a minute, who are you?" He said, "Hey man, I don't know what's going on, but you guys are weird." He said, "What do you mean, who are you?" He said, "I am a guard over here in Fort Hood," he said, "I am on duty here, and some old man came by and gave me a hundred bucks to call you and give you this message. Gave me the number to call, told me your name, and gave me this message to give to you." He said, "What did he look like?" And he described the white father that he was under in Peru. And he said, "He came back a few minutes ago and gave me another hundred bucks to call you back and say that this is the part of the message that you can't remember."

And this kid, as he sat in my office, was shaking, visibly shaking. He said, "They follow me everywhere I go; I can't get away from them." He said, "They wont let me go." He said, "I became too involved." And he said, "They are right here, they are right here right now, they know what's going on." And I said, "Yes, Dave, I know that," but I said, "they'll never follow you out of here." And according to the scriptures, we took authority and power over those forces of darkness, these fathers of the white magic, and their spirit forces. Because a stronger than Satan dwells in us, and He has destroyed the armor wherein he trusted. And we were able to spoil these principalities and powers, and we were able to set this young man free. Not because I have any great spiritual power. I am just a child of God like you, but I know the scriptures. I know my position. I know where I stand. I know the authority that I have in the name of Jesus.

I got a letter from Dave awhile back. He is now an evangelist, preaching the gospel. And, of course, he shared that he has not been troubled since that day.

Spirit forces are real. They are not to be messed around with. It is possible for you to open the door by dabbling in the areas of the occult. And there will come a time when, like with Dave, they will seek to take over your very body.

Now Jesus said, "They wander through these dry places, looking for a place to rest, a body to inhabit. And if they find none, they say, 'Well, I go back to the house from whence I was driven.'"

And when he comes, he finds it all swept and garnished. And then he goes out, and he takes seven other spirits that are more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and they dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first ( Luke 11:25-26 ).

Now Jesus here is giving a very solemn warning concerning those people who have been set free from the power of Satan. You don't let a vacuum exist. You've got to replace. There is more than just driving Satan out, there has to be the moving in of the Spirit of God to take residence within. And just to go around delivering people can be the most harmful thing you can do for a person. People oftentimes come to me, and say, "Oh, pray the prayer of deliverance." And I say, "I pray the prayer of entrance. The entering of the power of Jesus Christ into your life. When He enters the darkness has to go. Light and darkness cannot coexist."

And so, rather than just praying for deliverance for someone, that the powers of darkness be loosed and send forth, I would rather pray that the power of God come in. The other is forgone conclusion when that happens. But there is real danger for a person just coming to God just for the help that they might get. Coming just for healing, rather than the Healer. Just for deliverance, rather than the Deliverer. Because you can end up in worse shape than you ever were if you don't substitute or replace that power within your life, that empty area.

And so it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breast which you have sucked ( Luke 11:27 ).

Here is one of the first attempts to worship Mary. And what did Jesus do with her?

He said, Yes, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it ( Luke 11:28 ).

Now, she is attempting to worship His mother. "Blessed is the womb that bare you, and the breast from which you nursed." "Yes, but rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."

And so when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: and they seek a sign ( Luke 11:29 );

You remember back in verse Luke 11:16 , others tempting Him sought from Him a sign from heaven.

and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of man be to this generation ( Luke 11:29-30 ).

How was Jonah a sign to the Ninevites? He was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale when he survived. He came out alive.

So Jesus said He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So, the same kind of a sign of Jonah will be to this generation, as Jesus rises from the dead.

Now the queen of the south shall rise up in judgement with this generation, and condemn it: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater then Jonah is here ( Luke 11:31-32 ).

This verse totally discounts the idea of reincarnation. For the men of Nineveh will rise in the day of judgement with this generation. You see, if reincarnation was a process by which men were gradually evolving into perfection, then in the day of judgement they wouldn't be the men of Nineveh. They would have been in their developed state along the line of reincarnation. But here, the men of Nineveh will be arising with this generation in the day of judgement, precludes the idea of reincarnation.

Well, might the men of Nineveh speak out in the day of judgement against that generation, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, who was angry, who hated them, and who had one monotonous message? No hope in the message of Jonah, no grace in the message of Jonah, no love in the message of Jonah, just a message from a hateful prophet saying, "Forty days and comes destruction." And yet, they repented.

Now here was Jesus bringing the love of God, preaching the grace of God, extending to men the mercy of God, and they did not repent. Oh, I tell you the men of Nineveh will have a good case against this generation.

No man, when he has lighted a candle, puts it in a secret place, nor under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body is also full of light; but if thy eye is evil, then thy body is full of darkness ( Luke 11:33-34 ).

The entrance into men, the eye gate. And again, that which you are planting into your mind through the eyes. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. If you sow to the flesh, of the flesh you're going to reap corruption" ( Galatians 6:7-8 ). If your eye is single towards God, then your body is full of light, but your eye is evil, looking at evil things, and your body is full of darkness.

Take heed therefore, that the light that is in thee ( Luke 11:35 )

The light of the body is the eye, so take heed that the light that is in thee,

be not darkness. For if thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle does give light. 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 Pharisees saw it, they marveled that he did not wash his hands before dinner ( Luke 11:35-38 ).

Now this is referring to the ceremonial washing of hands, which they had an elaborate ceremonial washing of hands. Which Jesus said, "Oh, good enough." But they had to have one log of water, and you'd hold your hands outstretched in front of you in an upright position, and they would pour the water over your hands, as you rub your fingers and your hands together. And you had to be careful that the water didn't run down your arm, but dripped straight down, because if it runs down your arm, then your arm would be unclean, because the water that was cleansing your hands was coming down. The uncleanness from your hands was coming down your arms. So they had a way of holding your hands out here, and pouring the water. And then they would take, and you hold your hands down and pour another log of water over it, with your hands in a downward position, letting the water drop off. And they would do this several times during a meal. Jesus didn't fuss with that kind of a nonsense. And so this Pharisee was just sort of shocked that He didn't go through this little ceremony of washing.

And so the Lord said to him, Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and the platter clean; but the inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. You fools, did not he, who made that which is without, also make that which is within? But rather give alms of such things as you have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you ( Luke 11:39-41 ).

One of their little customs. If you just give alms of that which you have, everything is great.

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over the more important things of judgement and the love of God ( Luke 11:42 ):

Now, it wasn't really required in the law that you pay tithes of your spice gardens. But these guys did. And, of course, you wanted them to know what your little spices are like. You've got your rosemary, and your cumin, and various spices. Well, they all had their spice gardens, and they would shake out the little seeds, poppy seeds. And nine for me, one for God; nine for me, and one for God. And they were so careful, give God the tenth of His seeds. Very meticulous, give God His due. And yet, they were omitting completely the important things of judgement, of love and all. Exacting in the small matters, which really didn't count. And completely skipping over the important matters.

Then Jesus said, (interestingly enough, talking about tithing,) Jesus said,

this you ought to have done ( Luke 11:42 ),

Jesus confirmed that they ought to have done that. But He said,

you shouldn't leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as graves which appear not, and men walk over them and are not aware of them ( Luke 11:42-44 ).

Now, one of the purposes of whitewashing the graves in those days was to keep people from walking over them. Because if you walked over a grave, you were considered then to be unclean, and for seven days you couldn't go into the synagogue. You had to go through a right of cleansing, because you touched a grave.

But Jesus said, "You are like graves that don't appear. You are defiling men, and they don't even know it. Your influence on men is that of defiling men." There are those people whose very influence is an defiling influence, but the bad part is that men don't even know in their contact with them that they are being defiled by it.

Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, in saying that you're reproaching us too. And Jesus said ( Luke 11:45-46 ),

I haven't started on you yet.

Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! ( Luke 11:46 )

Now, He was not talking about the common practice of attorneys today, but these men who were lawyers as far as the Mosaic Law, and the interpreting of the Mosaic Law to the people.

"Woe unto you also lawyers!"

for you load men down with heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and yet yourselves will not touch one of the burdens with your little fingers ( Luke 11:46 ).

"You are laying heavy trips on men." And boy, when you read how they interpreted the law of Moses, you read what a heavy trip they laid on men.

"Thou shalt not bear any burden on the Sabbath day." What constitutes bearing a burden? Do you have false teeth? That's bearing a burden. You can't wear your false teeth on the Sabbath day. Do you have a wooden eye, glass eye? You're bearing a burden. You've got to take it out on the Sabbath day. Do you have a wooden leg? Bearing a burden. Pull it off on the Sabbath day. And yet, they had silly rules. You can only walk two-thirds of a mile, 1000 yards. But if you ran a rope from your house unto the end of the block, then that extended your house to the end of the block, and you could walk 1000 yards from there. And if the day before you would set your lunch a half mile away, then that constituted the border of your house, and you could walk to where your lunch was, and then you had 1000 yards from there to go. And if you carried things under your arm, you could carry whatever you wanted. You couldn't hold it with your hand. Or if you would carry with the upper part of your hand, loop the thing over the upper part of your hand, then you could carry it. Or you could carry it under your arm. Because that didn't constitute barring a burden. Now you could not tie a square knot, or a sailor's knot, but the woman could knot their girdles. So if you wanted to put a bucket of water down into the well, you couldn't tie a square knot, or a regular type of a sailor's knot on it, but the woman could tie their girdle to it and let the bucket down, and pull the water up.

Now God, when He said, "Thou shalt not bear any burden on the Sabbath day," didn't have any of this junky stuff in His mind. But just let a bunch of lawyers get hold of something, and they can make something complicated out of the most simple case.

I want to sell you my pen. I take a dollar for it. Very simple transaction, isn't it? Take it to a lawyer. Let him draw up an agreement. You can see what a complicated issue they can make out of the pen. You know, when I sell it to you, then there is no recourse, you can't sue me in case you should happen to fall on this pen, would jab into you and all. And you know, I've got to protect myself in this sale, because you never know what might happen to this pen, once it becomes in your possession. And you can always come back on me, because I sold it to you.

And these fellows were great at complicating issues. And so Jesus gets on their case, for complicating the issues. And then He said,

Woe unto you! for you build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them ( Luke 11:47 ).

You build sepulchres for them, but your fathers killed them.

Truly you bear witness that you allow the deeds of your fathers ( Luke 11:48 ):

You agree to the deeds of your fathers.

for they indeed killed them, and you 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 ( Luke 11:48-49 ):

In other words, if a prophet comes to you, you will kill him, but yet you build sepulchres for those prophets that your fathers killed.

That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundations of the world, may be required from this generation; from the blood of Abel [who was killed by his brother Cain] unto the blood of Zacharias ( Luke 11:50-51 ),

Which was one of the last of the prophets to be killed in the Old Testament period.

which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation ( Luke 11:51 ).

Why? Because they are going to kill soon the One of whom the prophets promised.

Woe unto you, lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you've hindered ( Luke 11:52 ).

I think that this is very appropriate, for many of these professors in our theological seminaries today who cast doubt on the word of God, who, as Jesus said, have taken away the key of knowledge. Claiming that they alone really understand the scriptures. Only they really know which scriptures are inspired, and those which are not inspired. And they will not enter into the kingdom themselves. But the problem is, they would hinder people who would enter the kingdom of God, and they try to stand in the way of people who would enter into the kingdom.

There are many churches that have taken an active opposition against any evangelistic efforts. Churches that are opposed and find fault with any endeavors of evangelism. They will not enter in themselves, but they would also go one step further, and hinder those who would enter in.

And as he said these things unto them, and the scribes and the Pharisees began to [really bate him,] they urged him vehemently, and they sought to provoke him to speak many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him ( Luke 11:53-54 ).

Let's go chapter 12 and 13 next week, and maybe fourteen. Try it, read it, it won't hurt you. And so be it.

May the Lord be with you, bless you as you fight the crowds to return the merchandise that you can't use. You'll find that it is more easy to buy than to return. But may the Lord strengthen you and keep His hand upon your life, fill you with His love and His Spirit, draw you into an ever-deepening relationship with Him that you might be enriched in all things in Christ Jesus walking in His love after the Spirit.






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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/luke-11.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

C. The results of popular opposition 11:14-54

Luke recorded the climax of the rejection of Jesus and His message and then narrated Jesus’ instructions to His disciples about how they should live in view of rejection.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-11.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

5. The climax of Pharisaic opposition 11:37-54 (cf. Matthew 23:1-36; Mark 12:38-40)

The theme of opposition to Jesus continues in this section, but the source of opposition changes from the people generally to the Pharisees and, even more particularly, to their lawyers (scribes). Jesus’ responses also changed from warnings and exhortations to denunciations. Jesus condemned the teachings of the Pharisees, the light that was darkness (Luke 11:35), rather than the Pharisees and the lawyers as individuals.

The differences in the Matthean account of Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-36) raise questions about what Jesus really said and how the evangelists recorded what He said.

"We know from his practice elsewhere that Matthew combines material from several sources and rearranges the order, whereas on the whole Luke does not conflate his sources or re-order his material. It is, therefore, unlikely that Matthew has preserved the original order here . . ." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 492.]

Probably we are again dealing with two different teaching occasions. This is Jesus’ last address to the Pharisees recorded in Luke.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-11.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The lawyers (or scribes) were a distinct group, though most of them were Pharisees. The scribes and Pharisees often acted together. The lawyer who spoke up wanted to distinguish his group from the Pharisees, but Jesus refused to do so because the scribes were as hypocritical as the Pharisees. The lawyers involved themselves more in the interpretation of the law whereas the Pharisees generally advocated and enforced those interpretations. The former group was a professional class and the latter a religious party. By interpreting the law strictly the scribes placed heavy moral burdens on the Jews. However they had cleverly found ways of escaping their own responsibility to keep the law while at the same time giving the impression that they were obedient. This reflected lack of love for the rest of the Jews who had to labor under their demands.

"The Mishnah lays it down that it is more important to observe the scribal interpretations than the Law itself (Sanhedrin Luke 11:3). The reasoning is that if it was a serious matter to offend against the Law which was sometimes hard to understand, it was a much more serious matter to offend against the interpretation which, the scribes thought, made everything clear." [Note: Ibid., p. 205.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-11.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Three woes against the lawyers 11:45-52

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-11.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said, woe unto you also, ye lawyers,.... Christ was so far from calling back what he had said or suggested, that he repeats and confirms it, and more particularly names them, and enlarges on their evil practices:

for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers; :-.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 11:46". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-11.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Woes Denounced on That Generation; The Pharisees and Lawyers Reproved.


      37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.   38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.   39 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.   40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?   41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.   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.   43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.   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.   45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.   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.   47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.   48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.   49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:   50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;   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.   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.   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:   54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

      Christ here says many of those things to a Pharisee and his guests, in a private conversation at table, which he afterwards said in a public discourse in the temple (Matthew 23:1-39); for what he said in public and private was of a piece. He would not say that in a corner which he durst not repeat and stand to in the great congregation; nor would he give those reproofs to any sort of sinners in general which he durst not apply to them in particular as he met with them; for he was, and is, the faithful Witness. Here is,

      I. Christ's going to dine with a Pharisee that very civilly invited him to his house (Luke 11:37; Luke 11:37); As he spoke, even while he was speaking, a certain Pharisee interrupted him with a request to him to come and dine with him, to come forthwith, for it was dinner-time. We are willing to hope that the Pharisee was so well pleased with his discourse that he was willing to show him respect, and desirous to have more of his company, and therefore gave him this invitation and bade him truly welcome; and yet we have some cause to suspect that it was with an ill design, to break off his discourse to the people, and to have an opportunity of ensnaring him and getting something out of him which might serve for matter of accusation or reproach, Luke 11:53; Luke 11:54. We know not the mind of this Pharisee; but, whatever it was, Christ knew it: if he meant ill, he shall know Christ does not fear him; if well, he shall know Christ is willing to do him good: so he went in, and sat down to meat. Note, Christ's disciples must learn of him to be conversable, and not morose. Though we have need to be cautious what company we keep, yet we need not be rigid, nor must we therefore go out of the world.

      II. The offence which the Pharisee took at Christ, as those of that sort had sometimes done at the disciples of Christ, for not washing before dinner,Luke 11:38; Luke 11:38. He wondered that a man of his sanctity, a prophet, a man of so much devotion, and such a strict conversation, should sit down to meat, and not first wash his hands, especially being newly come out of a mixed company, and there being in the Pharisee's dining-room, no doubt, all accommodations set ready for it, so that he need not fear being troublesome; and the Pharisee himself and all his guests, no doubt, washing, so that he could not be singular; what, and yet not wash? What harm had it been if he had washed? Was it not strictly commanded by the canons of their church? It was so, and therefore Christ would not do it, because he would witness against their assuming a power to impose that as a matter of religion which God commanded them not. The ceremonial law consisted in divers washings, but this was none of them, and therefore Christ would not practise it, no not in complaisance to the Pharisee who invited him, nor though he knew that offence would be taken at his omitting it.

      III. The sharp reproof which Christ, upon this occasion, gave to the Pharisees, without begging pardon even of the Pharisee whose guest he now was; for we must not flatter our best friends in any evil thing.

      1. He reproves them for placing religion so much in those instances of it which are only external, and fall under the eye of man, while those were not only postponed, but quite expunged, which respect the soul, and fall under the eye of God, Luke 11:39; Luke 11:40. Now observe here, (1.) The absurdity they were guilty of: "You Pharisees make clean the outside only, you wash your hands with water, but do not wash your hearts from wickedness; these are full of covetousness and malice, covetousness of men's goods, and malice against good men." Those can never be reckoned cleanly servants that wash only the outside of the cup out of which their master drinks, or the platter out of which he eats, and take no care to make clean the inside, the filth of which immediately affects the meat or drink. The frame or temper of the mind in every religious service is as the inside of the cup and platter; the impurity of this infects the services, and therefore to keep ourselves free from scandalous enormities, and yet to live under the dominion of spiritual wickedness, is as great an affront to God as it would be for a servant to give the cup into his master's hand, clean wiped from all the dust on the outside, but within full of cobwebs and spiders. Ravening and wickedness, that is, reigning worldliness and reigning spitefulness, which men think they can find some cloak and cover for, are the dangerous damning sins of many who have made the outside of the cup clean from the more gross, and scandalous, and inexcusable sins of whoredom and drunkenness. (2.) A particular instance of the absurdity of it: "Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?Luke 11:40; Luke 11:40. Did not that God who in the law of Moses appointed divers ceremonial washings, with which you justify yourselves in these practices and impositions, appoint also that you should cleanse and purify your hearts? He who made laws for that which is without, did not he even in those laws further intend something within, and by other laws show how little he regarded the purifying of the flesh, and the putting away of the filth of that, if the heart be not made clean?" Or, it may have regard to God not only as a Lawgiver, but (which the words seem rather to import) as a Creator. Did not God, who made us these bodies (and they are fearfully and wonderfully made), make us these souls also, which are more fearfully and wonderfully made? Now, if he made both, he justly expects we should take care of both; and therefore not only wash the body, which he is the former of, and make the hands clean in honour of his work, but wash the spirit, which he is the Father of, and get the leprosy in the heart cleansed.

      To this he subjoins a rule for making our creature-comforts clean to us (Luke 11:41; Luke 11:41): "Instead of washing your hands before you go to meat, give alms of such things as you have" (ta enonta--of such things as are set before you, and present with you); "let the poor have their share out of them, and then all things are clean to you, and you may use them comfortably." Here is a plain allusion to the law of Moses, by which it was provided that certain portions of the increase of their land should be given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; and, when that was done, what was reserved for their own use was clean to them, and they could in faith pray for a blessing upon it, Deuteronomy 26:12-15. Then we can with comfort enjoy the gifts of God's bounty ourselves when we send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared,Nehemiah 8:10. Job ate not his morsel alone, but the fatherless ate thereof, and so it was clean to him (Job 31:17); clean, that is, permitted and allowed to be used, and then only can it be used comfortably. Note, What we have is not our own, unless God have his dues out of it; and it is by liberality to the poor that we clear up to ourselves our liberty to make use of our creature-comforts.

      2. He reproves them for laying stress upon trifles, and neglecting the weighty matters of the law, Luke 11:42; Luke 11:42. (1.) Those laws which related only to the means of religion they were very exact in the observance of, as particularly those concerning the maintenance of the priests: Ye pay tithe of mint and rue, pay it in kind and to the full, and will not put off the priests with a modus decimandi or compound for it. By this they would gain reputation with the people as strict observers of the law, and would make an interest in the priests, in whose power it was many a time to do them a kindness; and no wonder if the priests and the Pharisees contrived how to strengthen one another's hands. Now Christ does not condemn them for being so exact in paying tithes (these things ought ye to have done), but to think that this would atone for the neglect of their greater duties; for, (2.) Those laws which relate to the essentials of religion they made nothing of: You pass over judgment and the love of God, you make no conscience of giving men their dues and God your hearts.

      3. He reproves them for their pride and vanity, and affectations of precedency and praise of men (Luke 11:43; Luke 11:43): "Ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues" (or consistories where the elders met for government); "if you have not those seats, you are ambitious of them; if you have, you are proud of them; and you love greetings in the markets, to be complimented by the people and to have their cap and knee." It is not sitting uppermost, or being greeted, that is reproved, but loving it.

      4. He reproves them for their hypocrisy, and their colouring over the wickedness of their hearts and lives with specious pretences (Luke 11:44; Luke 11:44): "You are as graves overgrown with grass, which therefore appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them, and so they contract the ceremonial pollution which by the law arose from the touch of a grave." These Pharisees were within full of abominations, as a grave of putrefaction; full of covetousness, envy, and malice; and yet they concealed it so artfully with a profession of devotion, that it did not appear, so that they who conversed with them, and followed their doctrine, were defiled with sin, infected with their corruptions and ill morals, and yet, they making a show of piety, suspected no danger by them. The contagion insinuated itself, and was insensibly caught, and those that caught it thought themselves never the worse.

      IV. The testimony which he bore also against the lawyers or scribes, who made it their business to expound the law according to the tradition of the elders, as the Pharisees did to observe the law according to that tradition.

      1. There was one of that profession who resented what he said against the Pharisees (Luke 11:45; Luke 11:45): "Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also, for we are scribes; and we are therefore hypocrites?" Note, It is a common thing for unhumbled sinners to call and count reproofs reproaches. It is the wisdom of those who desire to have their sin mortified to make a good use of reproaches that come from ill will, and to turn them into reproofs. If we can in this way hear of our faults, and amend them, it is well: but it is the folly of those who are wedded to their sins, and resolved not to part with them, to make an ill use of the faithful and friendly admonitions given them, which come from love, and to have their passions provoked by them as if they were intended for reproaches, and therefore fly in the face of their reprovers, and justify themselves in rejecting the reproof. Thus the prophet complained (Jeremiah 6:10): The word of the Lord is to them a reproach; they have no delight in it. This lawyer espoused the Pharisee's cause, and so made himself partaker of his sins.

      2. Our Lord Jesus thereupon took them to task (Luke 11:46; Luke 11:46): Woe unto you also, ye lawyers; and again (Luke 11:52; Luke 11:52): Woe unto you lawyers. They blessed themselves in the reputation they had among the people, who thought them happy men, because they studied the law, and were always conversant with that, and had the honour of instructing the people in the knowledge of that; but Christ denounced woes against them, for he sees not as man sees. This was just upon him for taking the Pharisee's part, and quarrelling with Christ because he reproved them. Note, Those who quarrel with the reproofs of others, and suspect them to be reproaches to them, do but get woes of their own by so doing.

      (1.) The lawyers are reproved for making the services of religion more burdensome to others, but more easy to themselves, than God had made them (Luke 11:46; Luke 11:46): "You lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, by your traditions, which bind them out from many liberties God has allowed them, and bind them up to many slaveries which God never enjoined them, to show your authority, and to keep people in awe; but you yourselves touch them not with one of your fingers;" that is, [1.] "You will not burden yourselves with them, nor be yourselves bound by those restraints with which you hamper others." They would seem, by the hedges they pretended to make about the law, to be very strict for the observance of the law; but, if you could see their practices, you would find that they not only make nothing of those hedges themselves, but make nothing of the law itself neither: thus the confessors of the Romish church are said to do with their penitents. [2.] "You will not lighten them to those you have power over; you will not touch them, that is, either to repeal them or to dispense with them when you find them to be burdensome and grievous to the people." They would come in with both hands to dispense with a command of God, but not with a finger to mitigate the rigour of any of the traditions of the elders.

      (2.) They are reproved for pretending a veneration for the memory of the prophets whom their fathers killed, when yet they hated and persecuted those in their own day who were sent to them on the same errand, to call them to repentance, and direct them to Christ, Luke 11:47-49; Luke 11:47-49. [1.] These hypocrites, among other pretences of piety, built the sepulchres of the prophets; that is, they erected monuments over their graves, in honour of them, probably with large inscriptions containing high encomiums of them. They were not so superstitious as to enshrine their relics, or to think their devotions the more acceptable to God for being offered at the tombs of the martyrs; they did not burn incense or pray to them, or plead their merits with God; they did not add that iniquity to their hypocrisy; but, as if they owned themselves the children of the prophets, their heirs and executors, they repaired and beautified the monuments sacred to their pious memory. [2.] Notwithstanding this, they had an inveterate enmity to those in their own day that came to them in the spirit and power of those prophets; and, though they had not yet had an opportunity of carrying it far, yet they would soon do it, for the Wisdom of God said, that is, Christ himself would so order it, and did now foretel it, that they would slay and persecute the prophets and apostles that should be sent them. The Wisdom of God would thus make trial of them, and discover their odious hypocrisy, by sending them prophets, to reprove them for their sins and warn them of the judgments of God. Those prophets should prove themselves apostles, or messengers sent from heaven, by signs, and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Or, "I will send them prophets under the style and title of apostles, who yet shall produce as good an authority as any of the old prophets did; and these they shall not only contradict and oppose, but slay and persecute, and put to death." Christ foresaw this, and yet did not otherwise than as became the Wisdom of God in sending them, for he knew how to bring glory to himself in the issue, by the recompences reserved both for the persecutors and the persecuted in the future state. [3.] That therefore God will justly put another construction upon their building the tombs of the prophets than what they would be thought to intend, and it shall be interpreted their allowing the deeds of their fathers (Luke 11:45; Luke 11:45); for, since by their present actions it appeared that they had no true value for their prophets, the building of their sepulchres shall have this sense put upon it, that they resolved to keep them in their graves whom their fathers had hurried thither. Josiah, who had a real value for prophets, thought it enough not to disturb the grave of the man of God at Bethel: Let no man move his bones,2 Kings 23:17; 2 Kings 23:18. If these lawyers will carry the matter further, and will build their sepulchres, it is such a piece of over-doing as gives cause to suspect an ill design in it, and that it is meant as a cover for some design against prophecy itself, like the kiss of a traitor, as he that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him,Proverbs 27:14.

      [4.] That they must expect no other than to be reckoned with, as the fillers up of the measure of persecution, Luke 11:50; Luke 11:51. They keep up the trade as it were in succession, and therefore are responsible for the debts of the company, even those it has been contracting all along from the blood of Abel, when the world began, to that of Zacharias, and so forward to the end of the Jewish state; it shall all be required of this generation, this last generation of the Jews, whose sin in persecuting Christ's apostles would exceed any of the sins of that kind that their fathers were guilty of, and so would bring wrath upon them to the uttermost,1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:16. Their destruction by the Romans was so terrible that it might well be reckoned the completing of God's vengeance upon that persecuting nation.

      (3.) They are reproved for opposing the gospel of Christ, and doing all they could to obstruct the progress and success of it, Luke 11:52; Luke 11:52. [1.] They had not, according to the duty of their place, faithfully expounded to the people those scriptures of the Old Testament which pointed at the Messiah, which if they had been led into the right understanding of by the lawyers, they would readily have embraced him and his doctrine: but, instead of that, they had perverted those texts, and had cast a mist before the eyes of the people, by their corrupt glosses upon them, and this is called taking away the key of knowledge; instead of using that key for the people, and helping them to use it aright, they hid it from them; this is called, in Matthew, shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men,Matthew 23:13. Note, those who take away the key of knowledge shut up the kingdom of heaven. [2.] They themselves did not embrace the gospel of Christ, though by their acquaintance with the Old Testament they could not but know that the time was fulfilled, and the kingdom of God was at hand; they saw the prophecies accomplished in that kingdom which our Lord Jesus was about to set up, and yet would not themselves enter into it. Nay, [3.] Them that without any guidance or assistance of theirs were entering in they did all they could to hinder and discourage, by threatening to cast them out of the synagogue, and otherwise terrifying them. It is bad for people to be averse to revelation, but much worse to be adverse to it.

      Lastly, In the close of the chapter we are told how spitefully and maliciously the scribes and Pharisees contrived to draw him into a snare, Luke 11:53; Luke 11:54. They could not bear those cutting reproofs which they must own to be just; but what he had said against them in particular would not bear an action, nor could they ground upon it any criminal accusation, and therefore, as if, because his reproofs were warm, they hoped to stir him up to some intemperate heat and passion, so as to put him off his guard, they began to urge him vehemently, to be very fierce upon him, and to provoke him to speak of many things, to propose dangerous questions to him, laying wait for something which might serve the design they had of making him either odious to the people, or obnoxious to the government, or both. Thus did they seek occasion against him, like David's enemies that did every day wrest his words,Psalms 56:5. Evil men dig up mischief. Note, Faithful reprovers of sin must expect to have many enemies, and have need to set a watch before the door of their lips, because of their observers that watch for their halting. The prophet complains of those in his time who make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate,Isaiah 29:21. That we may bear trials of this kind with patience, and get through them with prudence, let us consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself.

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Luke 11:46". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/luke-11.html. 1706.