After Jesus concluded His remarks recorded by Luke in 11:14-36, He accepted an invitation to dine with a group of Pharisees and teachers of the law. The Pharisees were surprised that Jesus skipped the ceremonial washing that their oral code required before eating; tisk tisk.
Not surprisingly Jesus knew their thoughts, and what followed flows quite nicely from His earlier discussion of eyes that let in the light.
Jesus’ main point of attack is the fact that the religious leaders were so prim and proper… on the outside. They washed their hands at all of the right times, they said the right things, they never missed one of their little rules, and to all appearances were the most righteous of the righteous. Yet on the inside, they were, let’s just say… in darkness, without a clue.
His words are full of rich imagery, His phrases razor sharp as He went right after their decay as a good prosecutor would do in a court case, and I would encourage you to read the verses now if you haven’t already done so; this is not sweet Jesus meek and mild!
Was Jesus accusing every Pharisee and every teacher of the law?
Probably not. There were some very fine people in both camps, and I’m sure Jesus, who knew their thoughts, would have known that. Yet for those to whom these charges applied, this was a tough session.
It would be easy for those of us who follow Christ today to sneer at the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day as we read of their plots and schemes to silence the Word of God to preserve their own positions, clueless as they might have been about whose bidding they were actually doing. Yet I would hope that we would refrain from this kind of finger pointing, because the temptations and habits of these men are all too common in our time, and none of us are so perfect. Rather it seems to me that we should study the problems that those Jewish leaders encountered and learn from their mistakes so that we might each examine ourselves to ensure that we do not fall prey to the same snares as we go through this life.