What Jesus Did! 'The Problem of Religious Pretense' — Luke 11:45-49

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One of the teachers of the law said to Jesus, "Teacher, when you say these things about the Pharisees, you are criticizing our group too." Jesus answered, "It will be bad for you, you teachers of the law! You make strict rules that are very hard for people to obey. You try to force other people to obey those rules. But you yourselves don't even try to follow any of those rules. It will be bad for you, because you build tombs for the prophets. But these are the same prophets that your fathers killed! And now you show all people that you agree with what your fathers did. They killed the prophets, and you build tombs for the prophets! This is why the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send prophets and apostles to them. Some of my prophets and apostles will be killed by evil men. Others will be treated badly.'"
— Luke 11:45-49
Illustration of Luke 11:45-49 — "Teacher, when you say these things about the Pharisees, you are criticizing our group too."

Key Thought

Religious pretense is damnable. That's not my opinion or society's opinion. This is Jesus' verdict! Rather than seeking the character and the heart of God, religious pretense looks for forms and ignores character; it looks for self-justifying laws and crushes people. Let's seek the heart of God and hunger and thirst for his righteousness rather than settling for some man-made collection of legal requirements that make us look good. Let's use God's truth to bless and enable people to be what God calls them to be rather than setting impossible standards and then criticizing them when they fail. Jesus calls us to righteousness. Yet his standard of righteousness is displayed in his own holiness and compassion, truth and love.

Today's Prayer

Father, please prevent me from being a self-justifying religious legalist who is full of pretension. I want to have a heart for people like your Son demonstrated. I want to honor you with holy character and personal integrity. I want to bless others as I live my life of faith. Please, dear Father, help me never become an expert at religious law and yet ignorant of your passionate desire for holiness and of your consuming love for your children. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

One of the teachers of the law said to Jesus, "Teacher, when you say these things about the Pharisees, you are criticizing our group too." Jesus answered, "It will be bad for you, you teachers of the law! You make strict rules that are very hard for people to obey. You try to force other people to obey those rules. But you yourselves don't even try to follow any of those rules. It will be bad for you, because you build tombs for the prophets. But these are the same prophets that your fathers killed! And now you show all people that you agree with what your fathers did. They killed the prophets, and you build tombs for the prophets! This is why the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send prophets and apostles to them. Some of my prophets and apostles will be killed by evil men. Others will be treated badly.' So you people that live now will be punished for the deaths of all the prophets that were killed since the beginning of the world. You will be punished for the killing of Abel. And you will be punished for the killing of Zechariah. Zechariah was killed between the altar and the temple. Yes, I tell you that you people that live now will be punished for them all. "It will be bad for you, you teachers of the law. You have taken away the key to learning about God. You yourselves would not learn, and you stopped others from learning, too." When Jesus was leaving, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees began to give him much trouble. They tried to make Jesus answer questions about many things. They were trying to find a way to catch Jesus saying something wrong.

Luke 11:45-54

Related Scripture Readings

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that every person that believes in him would not be lost, but have life forever. God sent his Son into the world. God did not send his Son to judge the world guilty. God sent his Son so that the world could be saved through his Son. The person that believes in God's Son is not judged (condemned). But the person that does not believe is already judged. Why? Because that person has not believed in God's only Son. People are judged by this fact: The Light (goodness) has come into the world. But people did not want light. They wanted darkness (sin). Why? Because they were doing evil things. Every person that does evil hates the light. That person will not come to the light. Why? Because then the light will show all the bad things he has done. But the person that follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things that person has done were done through God.

John 3:16-21

So, brothers and sisters, be careful that none of you is sinful, and refuses to believe, and stops following the living God. But encourage each other every day. Do this while it is "today. " Help each other so that none of you will become hardened because of sin and the way sin fools people.

Hebrews 3:12-13

Every person who hates his brother or sister is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters {in Christ}. Suppose a believer is rich enough to have all the things he needs. He sees his brother {in Christ} who is poor and does not have the things he needs. What if the believer who has things does not help the poor brother? Then the believer who has the things he needs does not have God's love in his heart. My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No! Our love must be true love. We should show our love by the things we do.

1 John 3:15-18

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.