Luke Chapter Eleven

 

v.1 “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.”

 

            Jesus prayed often.  At this time he was in a certain place, perhaps even a place that he had gone so that he could pray without being surrounded by people, could have some privacy.  As a man who lived in perfect obedience to God, he gives us an example in prayer as well as in many other aspects of his life.  We should imitate him and David who when his enemies were everywhere about him, keeping him on the run and an outcast; he wrote the following:

 

Psalms 109:4 “FOR MY LOVE THEY ARE MY ADVERSARIES: BUT I give myself unto PRAYER.”

 

v.2-4 “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, WHEN YE PRAY, SAY, OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BY THY NAME.  THY KINGDOM COME.  THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN, SO IN EARTH.  GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.  AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS; FOR WE ALSO FORGIVE EVERY ONE THAT IS INDEBTED TO US.  AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”

 

            Of course, this is called the “Lord’s Prayer” by most of the world.  Many denominations repeat it by rote as part of the ritual of their worship.  By using it as such they have made it a part of their vain worship, giving it some special purpose which it did not have, nor does it have today.

            At the same time, it serves as a good model of what should be included in the prayers that we voice to God.  First and most important God is acknowledged as the sovereign ruler of this universe, he is honored.  Secondly they were to pray for the kingdom.  The kingdom has already come but we can and should pray for the kingdom today as well.  We should pray hat souls continue to be brought into it, that it will grow and prosper.   Then they are instructed to pray for their substance, we give thanks but how many of us remember to pray that God continues to bless us materially.  They were to pray for the forgiveness of sins, and stand reminded that if they did not forgive others then they would not be forgiven either.  What did Jesus teach?

 

Mark 11:25-26 “AND WHEN YE STAND PRAYING, FORGIVE, IF YE HAVE OUGHT AGAINST ANY: THAT YOUR FATHER ALSO WHICH IS IN HEAVEN MAY FORGIVE YOU YOUR TRESPASSES.  BUT IF YE DO NOT FORGIVE, NEITHER WILL YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN FORGIVE YOUR TRESPASSES.”

 

In order to be forgiven we must forgive.  And lastly we are to pray that God will provide for us and help us to see the escape that he promised us from the effects of temptation:

 

I Corinthians 10:13 “THERE HATH NO TEMPTATION TAKEN YOU BUT SUCH AS IS COMMON TO MAN: BUT GOD is FAITHFUL, WHO WILL NOT SUFFER YOU TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE THAT YE ARE ABLE; BUT WILL WITH THE TEMPTATION ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR it.”

 

v.5-6 “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, WHICH OF YOU SHALL HAVE A FRIEND, AND SHALL GO UNTO HIM AT MIDNIGHT, AND SAY UNTO HIM, FRIEND, LEND ME THREE LOAVES; FOR A FRIEND OF MINE IN HIS JOURNEY IS COME TO ME, AND I HAVE NOTHING TO SET BEFORE HIM?”

 

            Then Jesus gives his disciples an analogy, an example to help them understand God’s attitude toward our prayers.  Who of you has a friend that you can go to at any time of day or night for anything that you need, even something so simple and common place as a loaf of bread because you have company and none in the house.  How would this friend answer you?  Jesus continues:

 

v.7 “AND HE FROM WITHIN SHALL ANSWER AND SAY, TROUBLE ME NOT: THE DOOR IS NOW SHUT, AND MY CHILDREN ARE WITH ME IN BED; I CANNOT RISE AND GIVE THEE.”

 

            Would this friend deny you?  Would he/she tell you to go away, it’s late we’re all in bed, the door is shut and I won’t get up and help you?  Then Jesus answers his own question.

 

v.8 “I SAY UNTO YOU, THOUGH HE WILL NOT RISE AND GIVE HIM, BECAUSE HE IS HIS FRIEND, YET BECAUSE OF HIS IMPORTUNITY HE WILL RISE AND GIVE HIM AS MANY AS HE NEEDETH.”

 

            Jesus says that this true friend will rise and help you.  Not just because he’s your friend but also because it is the right and proper thing to do.   God will answer our petitions the same way.  God will respond to our prayer, or plea for his help.  It doesn’t matter that it may be the middle of the night, it doesn’t matter that he has the entire world to look after, it doesn’t matter that we are weak and perhaps we don’t always treat Him as we should, he will answer.

 

v.9-10 “AND I SAY UNTO YOU, ASK, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN YOU; SEEK, AND HE SHALL FIND; KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED UNTO YOU.  FOR EVERY ONE THAT ASKETH RECEIVETH; AND HE THAT SEEKETH FINDETH; AND TO HIM THAT KNOCKETH IT SHALL BE OPENED.”

 

            Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened, because everyone that asks will receive.  Does that mean that God’s love and God’s blessing are unconditional?  Oh, yes, God by his providence causes it to rain in the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45) but his richest blessings, the blessings that Jesus is talking about here are conditional.  Observe with me please from the pen of the Apostle of Love:

 

John 15:7 “IF YE ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, YE SHALL ASK WHAT YE WILL, AND IT SHALL BE DONE UNTO YOU.”

 

I John 3:22 “AND WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE RECEIVE OF HIM, BECAUSE WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, AND DO THOSE THINGS THAT ARE PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT.”

 

I John 5:14 “AND THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN HIM, THAT, IF WE ASK ANY THING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US.”

 

After all we, if we are indeed faithful to God, share a special relationship with him don’t we?

 

v.11-13 “IF A SON SHALL ASK BREAD OF ANY OF YOU THAT IS A FATHER, WILL HE GIVE HIM A STONE?  OR IF he ask A FISH, WILL HE FOR A FISH GIVE HIM A SERPENT?  OR IF HE SHALL ASK AN EGG, WILL HE OFFER HIM A SCORPION?  IF YE THEN, BEING EVIL, KNOW HOW TO GIVE GOOD GIFTS UNTO YOUR CHILDREN: HOW MUCH MORE SHALL your HEAVENLY FATHER GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM THAT ASK HIM?”

 

            We are God’s children.  We are citizens of God’s kingdom.  As the Apostle Peter writes as directed by the Holy Spirit:

 

I Peter 2:9 “BUT YE are A CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, AN HOLY NATION, A PECULIAR PEOPLE; THAT YE SHOULD SHEW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO HATH CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT:”

 

            Would we do anything to our children that Jesus suggests in his example?  Of course, we wouldn’t.  So if we, being men, weak and sinful, know how to treat our children properly, don’t we think that God would know how to treat us?  Of course, He would and He does, far beyond what we know how to measure, more than we realize and more that we sometimes in dealing with the troubles and cares of this world remember to thank him for.

 

v.14 “AND HE WAS CASTING OUT A DEVIL, AND IT WAS DUMB.  AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE DEVIL WAS GONE OUT, THE DUMB SPAKE; AND THE PEOPLE WONDERED.”

 

            Jesus again demonstrates his power, confirming his deity, underscoring his teaching as being from the God that has power and control over all things.  This person was unable to speak because that the devil that possessed him was dumb and could not speak.  Jesus healed him and the people wondered.  But not all of them; we find in Matthew’s record that an accusation was made concerning this power, first by the Pharisees (Matthew 9:34).

 

v.15 “BUT SOME OF THEM SAID, HE CASTETH OUT DEVILS THROUGH BEELZEBUB THE CHIEF OF THE DEVILS.”

 

            Yes, the man was healed, that cannot be denied but he must have done it because he is in concert with the chief devil.  We would phrase it, perhaps, that he was able to do that because he works for their boss.

 

v.16.  AND OTHERS, TEMPTING him, SOUGHT OF HIM A SIGN FROM HEAVEN.”

 

            Some accuse him of working for the chief of devils, others wanting to have him demonstrate his power at their direction want a sign from heaven.  What do they think they just saw when Jesus healed the one possessed but a sign, a confirmation of his power from heaven.

 

v.17-18 “BUT HE, KNOWING THEIR THOUGHTS, SAID UNTO THEM, EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF IS BROUGHT TO A DESOLATION; AND A HOUSE divided AGAINST A HOUSE FALLETH.  IF SATAN ALSO BE DIVIDED AGAINST HIMSELF, HOW SHALL HIS KINGDOM STAND?  BECAUSE YE SAY THAT I CAST OUT DEVILS THROUGH BEELZEBUB.”

 

            Again we note that Jesus read their thoughts, just as he can read ours at this very moment.  He knows they’re mocking him.  He knows that they don’t believe him and he has an answer.  This verse has probably been quoted to answer strife and conflict between people and factions within nations to the extent that some people don’t know where it originated.  Some probably think that Abraham Lincoln thought of it first but he only used it to help people understand what they were doing at that point in time.  If the disciples of Beelzebub are warring against the disciples of Beelzebub, what’s going to happen?  They will destroy each other; his kingdom cannot stand.  And Jesus goes even one step further:

 

v.19 “AND IF I BY BEELZEBUB CAST OUT DEVILS, BY WHOM DO YOUR SONS CAST them OUT?  THEREFORE SHALL THEY BE YOUR JUDGES.”

 

            Jesus gives them one more argument.  The commentators pretty much agree that the Pharisees pretended to cast out devils too.  Perhaps they claimed to be exorcists as some Catholic priests do today.  So by what power do they cast out devils?  Is it by the power of Beelzebub?  Even your own sons, your own people will judge and condemn you for making this accusation.

 

v.2020But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.”

 

            What does Jesus mean by the “finger of God”?  Even the magicians who served the Pharaoh of Egypt recognized the miracles that Moses and Aaron performed as the “finger of God” (Exodus 8:19), that these things were being done by the power of God.  So Jesus says if this is being done by the finger of God then there is no doubt that the kingdom of God has come upon you or into your midst.

 

v.21-2221When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

 

            Then Jesus gives them an illustration that they can surely understand.  If a strong man, representing Satan in this comparison, is armed he keeps his house in peace.  But when a stronger man comes along, in this comparison, God, the first man will be overcome.  The defenses that he trusted in will be destroyed, his house invaded and his possessions taken.

 

v.2323He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”

 

            Can there be a middle ground with God?  As we would say it, can we sit on the fence?  No, we’re either with God or against him.  We’re either serving him or serving Satan.  There is no compromise position, there is no neutral zone, we either serve God or we don’t.  Very few people in this world understand this.  Their service is lip service; their obedience is only convenient.  They make no sacrifices but yet claim to love God.

 

v.2424When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.”

 

            Now Jesus tells them what can happen when an evil spirit or a demon is cast out.  He wanders looking for an new place to live, a place to rest; just as we might if we were homeless.  When he doesn’t find one, he decides to go back to where he was cast from.

 

v.25-2625And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

 

            This demon finds the house in which he used to live swept and cleaned but no one has moved in.  The evil has been removed from this person’s life but nothing has replaced it; it’s empty.  So the demon or evil spirit moves back in, taking his friends with him, becoming more powerful than ever before.  When this happens to a person, then their condition is like Peter describes:

 

II Peter 2:2020For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”

 

v.27-2827And 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 paps which thou hast sucked. 28But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

 

             A woman in the crowd around Jesus speaks up.  She has been impressed by his wisdom and moral character, so she speaks a blessing on his mother Mary.  We understand her sentiment.  Mother’s especially, as being the keepers at home and most often those that train their children, are honored by their sons and daughters when they do well.  Jesus agrees, but reminds them and us that even greater blessings are found in serving God, James records the same thought:

 

James 1:25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

 

v.2929And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.”

 

            Why did Jesus call this group of people an evil generation?  Matthew tells us that this was certain of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 12:38-45).  Had they done anything that man would call evil?  They didn’t believe him.  They had seen the miracles that he performed to confirm his words.  Yet they looked for something more.  They didn’t want to accept the signs that God gave them, they wanted a sign of their own choosing and they wouldn’t have believed that either.  Jesus says that they would be given the same sign that Jonah had given Nineveh.  Did Jonah perform miracles in Nineveh or give them some sign to confirm his preaching?

 

v.3030For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”

 

            How was Jonah a sign to Nineveh?  First of all God prepared a great fish, don’t call it a whale, whales are not fish, they’re animals, mammals that live in the ocean but breath air.  God’s great fish swallowed Jonah and he was in the fish’s belly three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17) and then the fish deposited him on dry land (Jonah 2:10).  Jesus will have a similar sign to this generation.  He will be in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights and then raised up again.

 

v.3131The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

 

            Who was the queen of the south?  The queen of Sheba:

 

I Kings 10:11And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.”

 

            She came from far away to prove the wisdom of Solomon and honored him because of it.  She displayed a working faith, a faith that caused her to travel that distance to see Solomon and hear him speak.  Someone is here in front of these people who is much greater than Solomon; presenting signs and miracles to prove the source of his wisdom and power, yet these people will not believe him.  The queen of Sheba would condemn them for their unbelief.

 

v.3232The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”

 

            The men of Nineveh, a Gentile city, a city without God repented with fasting and in sackcloth:

 

Jonah 3:55So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”

 

Did you ever wear something made out of a toe sack, an old tator sack, wouldn’t be very comfortable, would it.  All Jonah did was preach the message that God gave him to preach in that city.  He had not miracles or signs to verify the source of his words.  Yet this Gentile city believed him and repented.  Now someone much greater than Jonah is here and he’s rejected by his own people.

 

v.3333No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.”

 

            Do you turn a light on and then hide it away in a secret place or cover it up?  Of course not, that would defeat the entire purpose of turning it on.  We try to get all of the good out of it that we can.

 

v.3434The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.”

 

            The light of the body is the eye.  It allows light and images to penetrate our minds.  What does he mean by the eye being “single”?  It’s clear and in perfect condition, it’s not blurred or seeing double.  Just as a blurred eye, or an eye with a problem, such as a cataract, causes us to be in darkness; a hard, prejudiced heart will prevent us from understanding, or seeing something that we need to see in God’s word.

 

v.35-3635Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36If 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 doth give thee light.

 

            Watch therefore, take heed that you don’t allow your life to become darkness.  The eye has been called the “window to the soul”.  Don’t allow yourself to become blind to spiritual things, only darkness and evil can result.  Don’t be blinded as those whom Paul describes:

 

II Corinthians 4:44In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

 

v.3737And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.”

 

            A certain Pharisee, a particular person, one who was more friendly with Jesus than most of the others.  He invites Jesus to dinner, so he goes in and sits down to share the meal.

 

v.38 “AND WHEN THE PHARISEE SAW it, HE MARVELLED THAT THE HAD NOT FIRST WASHED BEFORE DINNER.”

 

            I thought only children did that.  With some you even have to check their hands to see if they actually got wet.  But that’s not what Luke is writing about here.  With the Jews it was a ceremonial washing, personal hygiene had nothing to do with it.  It was one of their traditions.  They would dip their hands in water before eating and frequently even between courses.  Since Jesus neglected to follow their custom, his host looked upon him with disfavor.

 

v.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.”

 

            Jesus reads this man’s thoughts, as we see him do often, and takes him to task for his hypocrisy.  Why is it that they were so concerned about their outward appearance, their false front, their show of piety and were completely oblivious to their inward condition.  Jesus says that on the surface they’re very pious and religious, but in actuality they are full of ravening (what does that word mean?  (Extortion) and wickedness.  They’re phony.  David says that God wants us to be true in our inward parts (Psalms 51:6).  They weren’t.  Paul condemned them this way:

 

Titus 1:15-16 “UNTO THE PURE ALL THINGS ARE PURE: BUT UNTO THEM THAT ARE DEFILED AND UNBELIEVING is NOTHING PURE; BUT EVEN THEIR MIND AND CONSCIENCE IS DEFILED.  THEY PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD; BUT IN WORKS THEY DENY him, BEING ABOMINABLE, AND DISOBEDIENT, AND UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK REPROBATE.”

 

v.40-41Ye FOOLS, DID NOT HE THAT MADE THAT WHICH IS WITHOUT MAKE THAT WHICH IS WITHIN ALSO?  BUT RATHER GIVE ALMS OF SUCH THINGS AS HE HAVE AND, BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE CLEAN UNTO YOU.”

 

            God made the outward part and the inward part as well.  Shouldn’t both be as pure as we can make them?  He calls them foolish or fools.  Many of them obtained their wealth from the sweat of others, some in ways that weren’t always above board; as we remember when Jesus accused them of devouring widow’s houses;

 

Matthew 23:14 “WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES!  FOR YE DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, AND FOR A PRETENCE MAKE LONG PRAYER: THEREFORE YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GREATER CONDEMNATION.”

 

v.42 “BUT WOE UNTO YOU, PHARISEES! FOR YE TITHE MINT AND RUE AND ALL MANNER OF HERBS, AND PASS OVERJUDGMENT AND THE LOVE OF GOD: THESE OUGHT YE TO HAVE DONE, AND NOT TO LEAVE THE OTHER UNDONE.”

 

            Jesus says that they very carefully measured all of their goods, all of their income even the spices and herbs grown for use in their kitchens, to determine how much they should tithe.  What is a tithe?  Are we required to tithe today?  He follows by saying they should work at being fair in their giving to God but that they also should be concerned about the things that they are leaving undone, such as loving God, his prophets and His Son.

 

v.43 “WOE UNTO YOU, PHARISEES!  FOR YE LOVE THE UPPERMOST SEATS IN THE SYNAGOGUE, AND GREETINGS IN THE MARKET.”

 

            They like to occupy the chief seats.  They loved to have someone look up to them and fawn over them.  They loved to have people recognize and speak to them in the marketplace.  They wanted to be treated with reverence when reverence is due only to God.  Do we have any parallels to these men today?  I’m sure that not all use the title this way but I can’t help but think of Jesus words here when I see one of our brethren using the PHD behind his name.  There are even those that would be highly offended if you don’t use that PHD and recognize their academic achievements.  We can throw in all of the other high-flown names that men use from Pope, Cardinal, Right Reverend, Reverend, Pastor, and all of the other titles that today’s religious leaders demand.

 

v.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.”

 

            The Psalmist describes them this way:

 

Psalms 5:9 “FOR there is NO FAITHFULNESS IN THEIR MOUTH; THEIR INWARD PART is VERY WICKEDNESS; THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN SEPULCHRE; THEY FLATTER WITH THEIR TONGUE.”

 

            They are unfaithful, they can’t be trusted, they will turn on you as a wolf turns on his victim.  They are full of corruption, like open, uncovered graves or graves that have been covered over so that men would walk over them and become, under the Mosaic Law unclean.  Paul uses very similar language to describe the false teachers of the circumcision that he was confronting:

 

Romans 3:13 “THEIR THROAT is AN OPEN SEPULCHRE; WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY HAVE USED DECEIT; THE POISON OF ASPS is UNDER THEIR LIPS.”

 

v.45 “THEN ANSWERED ONE OF THE LAWYERS, AND SAID UNTO HIM, MASTER, THUS SAYING THOU REPROACHES US ALSO.”

 

            One of the lawyers, doctors of the Law given to Moses, may of whom were Pharisees, challenges Jesus and complains that he is condemning them also.  He’s pretty sharp and understands that what Jesus is saying is condemning him also.

 

v.46 “AND HE SAID, WOE UNTO YOU ALSO, ye LAWYERS!  FOR YE LADE MEN WITH BURDENS GRIEVIOUS TO BE BORNE, AND YE YOURSELVES TOUCH NOT THE BURDENS WITH ONE OF YOUR FINGERS.”

 

            Jesus condemnation of the lawyers as well was justified.  They were hypocrites, laying burdens, judgments, on other men that they wouldn’t lift their fingers to even touch, much less help someone to carry.  Their strict interpretation and application of the Mosaic covenant, the things that they had added to it in their traditions, were more than the people could bear.  Especially when they themselves searched for ways to avoid keeping their own traditions, one example being the Corban that we studied in Matthew 15:5 and Mark 7:11.

 

v.47-48 “WOE UNTO YOU!  FOR YE BUILD THE SEPULCHRES OF THE PROPHETS, AND YOUR FATHERS KILLED THEM.  TRULY YE BEAR WITNESS THAT YE ALLOW THE DEEDS OF YOUR FATHERS: FOR THEY INDEED KILLED THEM, AND YE BUILD THEIR SEPULCHRES.”

 

            We’ve seen this word several times in our most recent study, what is a sepulchre?  It’s a tomb, hewn out of rock or a cave used for burial and closed with a stone, such as where Jesus was buried for the brief time between his death and his resurrection.  They built sepulchres, memorials, pretending to honor the Law and the prophets, but they didn’t honor the message they brought from God.  Their fathers were wicked men and killed the prophets, and Jesus says they’re just as wicked as their fathers were.  They witness, consent and practice the same kind of wickedness that their fathers practiced.

 

v.49 “THEREFORE ALSO SAID THE WISDOM OF GOD, I WILL SEND THEM PROPHETS AND APOSTLES, AND some OF THEM THEY SHALL SLAY AND PERSECUTE:”

 

            So God in his wisdom will send them more prophets, prophets and teachers taught by his only Son, ordained to their work by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  They will include special messengers, apostles, ambassadors from God, even the Son of God whom they will kill too.  Who was one of the first after Jesus? Stephen.  Who was the first apostle that we have record as being killed? James.

 

v.50-51 “THAT THE BLOOD OF ALL THE PROPHETS, WHICH WAS SHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, MAY BE REQUIRED OF THIS GENERATION; 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.”

 

            They should be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets from the beginning of time.  How so?  Did they not have the writings of all the Moses and all of the other prophets?  Did they honor God and all those that he had sent to bring them his word?  No they didn’t, they treated their words the same way that the people treated the prophets.  Jesus gives examples of two and in all my studies I had never thought of Abel as a prophet or teacher of God’s word but Jesus says he was, using his death by Cain (Genesis 4:8) as one of his examples and Zacharias as the other.  Who studied II Chronicles 24:20-21 and can tell us what happened to Zacharias?  Zacharias as directed by the spirit of God or the Holy Spirit chastised the Jews for breaking God’s commandments and they stoned him in front of the temple.

 

v.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.”

 

            Jesus brings a third woe or charge against them.  They kept the key to the spiritual treasure house hidden, not only refusing to enter in themselves and profit from the knowledge of the Word of God but preventing or hindering anyone else from profiting from that knowledge.

 

v.53-54 “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: LAYING WAIT FOR HIM, AND SEEKING TO CATCH SOMETHING OUT OF HIS MOUTH THAT THEY MIGHT ACCUSE HIM.”

 

            We would say that now they are really laying for him; in fact this may be very well were that expression originated.  They worked at provoking him, arguing, or urging him to speak about many things seeing if they could get Jesus to condemn himself by saying something that he should not.  It’s still several months before the crucifixion.  So we can determine from this that they plotted, planned and worked for several months and when Judas came to them and sold Jesus to them, they still had to buy false witnesses because he didn’t accommodate them in their quest.