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A Year Through the Gospels: Week 5

February 7, 2016

Darryl Sluka

This is the fifth installment in a yearlong series.  You can find the previous installments here.

Luke 11:37–42, 52 The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees

“As He was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and reclined at the table. When the Pharisee saw this, he was amazed that He did not first perform the ritual washing before dinner.But the Lord said to him: “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and evil.Fools! Didn’t He who made the outside make the inside too? But give from what is within to the poor, and then everything is clean for you.

“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.””

The Pharisees assumed that simply completing the tasks of the Law granted them salvation.  In their case, they needed to complete the tasks and have a humble spirit towards God.  We too must be sure that we are not completing tasks without a humble spirit, but we also have another component: we cannot insist that our faith stops at intellectual assent of who God is.  Intellectual assent for us and the completion of tasks for the Pharisees do not provide either of group salvation because neither of those approaches are rooted in a humble spirit of dependence on God.  Our actions are physical representations of what is in our spirit.  The Pharisees neglected the pursuit of knowledge and hindered those who sought it all the while portraying themselves as the examples and standard for righteousness.  Jesus rebuked them as hypocrites because their hearts did not desire knowledge of God and righteousness but to be seen as the elites with all the answers.

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