"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."
— Luke 11:52
Unfortunately, some who are caught up in a religious movement have the genuineness of their faith usurped by a group desire to be religiously superior. Rather than encouraging, helping, and blessing those who are newer in the faith, these folks turn faith into legalism and corrupt the hopeful message of the gospel. The way they live their religion drives away people who are seeking God and breaks the spirit of those who are new to faith. Let's always make sure that we don't impose demands God doesn't require. Even more, when folks find areas where they need to grow in their obedience to God, let's be there to help and not criticize.
Father, please forgive me for the times I've not stuck close enough to new Christians. Give me eyes to see and a heart that is willing to help those who are new in the faith. Use me to be a load-lifter and load-bearer for these new disciples, not a load-imposer. In the precious name of Jesus. 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.
Related Scripture Readings
So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all wisdom to counsel every person and teach every person. We are trying to bring all people before God as people who have grown to be spiritually mature (perfect) in Christ. To do this, I work and struggle using the great strength that Christ gives me. That strength is working in my life.
My little children, again I feel pain for you like a mother feels when she gives birth. I will feel this until you truly become like Christ.
We are apostles of Christ. And so when we were with you, we could have used our authority to make you do things. But we were very gentle with you. We were like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you very much. So we were happy to share God's Good News with you; but not only that—we were also happy to share even our own lives with you.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8