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 NLT
Illustration of Luke 11:45-49 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 3:16-21
  • Hebrews 3:12-13
  • 1 John 3:15-18


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.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.