Jesus with the Pharisees

(Luke 11:37-46 NIV)  When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. {38} But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. {39} Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. {40} You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? {41} But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. {42} "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. {43} "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. {44} "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it." {45} One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." {46} Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

Are we righteous on both the outside and inside?

{39} Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

The Pharisees were going everything right on the outside. People see them and think how religious they were. But Jesus knew their inner spiritual condition was bad.

How easy it is to look good on the outside and hide the genuine spiritual condition on the inside. We may appear to be humble yet we are proud in our innermost thoughts.

(Luke 1:51 NIV)  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

It is so important to guard our thought life.

(Mat 9:4 NIV)  Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?

(Psa 139:23-24 NIV)  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. {24} See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Isa 55:7 NIV)  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

What is our motivation for doing something?

{42} "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

The Pharisees gave to God because it was an Old Testament law to follow but they did not adhere to the spirit of the law. The law of giving in the Old Testament had to do with demonstrating the justice and love of God.

Justice of God is accomplished when what is received as tithe is distributed to the less fortunate. So is love.

Yet when the Pharisees gave, these two things were not part of their motivation. How easy it is to mechanically obey the law without having the right motivation. When we don’t have the right motivation, we profit nothing.

(1 Cor 13:3 NIV)  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

When we give to God or serve Him, are we motivated by love? Is this love also evident in other areas of our life?

Are we religious so that we can get the honor of men?

{43} "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

To the Pharisees, being religious is their pride. They love the praises of men.

(Mat 6:5 NIV)  "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

What is our true motivation in serving Him? If it is to gain honor for ourselves, we will have the tendency to get disappointed if we are not given important and high profile tasks (“places of honor in synagogues”).

Do we serve God regardless of whether men notice or not, whether men appreciates or not because our motivation is to get honor from God when we meet Him, not to get the honor of men.

Be careful how you lead people

{44} "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."

{45} One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." {46} Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

The Pharisees were the spiritual leaders. But instead of teaching God’s truths, they taught the rules of man and in doing so led the people astray.

They are like unmarked graves because their teachings are so dangerously wrong yet people do not know it. Jesus warned about this same thing in another portion of the gospel.

(Mat 15:9-14 NIV)  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" ….{12} Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?" ….{14} Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

We who are spiritual leaders have a tremendous responsibility. People come to us because they trust us. Do we give them God’s truth or do we cause people to fall into the pit with wrong teachings? Every question that a person has must be taken seriously. We cannot afford to give any other than God’s truths.