For most of Jesus' audience, His forthright exposure of the Pharisees' self-righteousness and hypocrisy resulted in not repentance but a hardened atti... Read more
For most of Jesus' audience, His forthright exposure of the Pharisees' self-righteousness and hypocrisy resulted in not repentance but a hardened attitude, coupled with a determination to destroy the One who had condemned their practices. They were not willing to consider whether what He said was true and should be heeded; instead, they sought to discredit His testimony against them by asking trick questions meant to show that He did not know the Scriptures as well as they did and so could be discounted. The word here translated as "plotting against," enedreúontes, is more literally translated as "lying in wait for"; the concept is one of an ambush by a hunter or an enemy. Read less
See Matthew 23:1-4, 13, and 29-36 and associated notes. In this case, the lawyer who challenged Him appeared to have had his conscience stung; yet th... Read more
See Matthew 23:1-4, 13, and 29-36 and associated notes. In this case, the lawyer who challenged Him appeared to have had his conscience stung; yet the form of his protest indicates that he refused the application of Jesus' words to himself and, by extension, to his class. Had he admitted the truth of what Jesus said, he would not have characterized Jesus' statements as an insult.
Jesus responded with a series of charges which parallel His kingly condemnation of the Pharisees as recorded by Matthew. His reference to the lawyers' having "taken away the key of knowledge" appears to be based on their minute knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. This knowledge should have been the key to their recognition of Him as the One who fulfilled both the types of the Law and the prophecies of the Prophets; instead, they not only willfully refused to apply their knowledge of the Scriptures to Jesus' claims, but they used their authority, position, and teachings to try to dissuade those who were becoming persuaded of the truth of who Jesus was. Read less
This was clearly a different occasion than Jesus' discourse in the Temple during the last week before the Crucifixion, when He pronounced His kingly j... Read more
This was clearly a different occasion than Jesus' discourse in the Temple during the last week before the Crucifixion, when He pronounced His kingly judgment against the Pharisees as a class (Matthew 23:1-36), but similar themes are dealt with. As in Matthew 15:1-19 and Mark 7:1-13 (see associated notes also), Jesus used the Pharisees' surprise at His disregard of their customs regarding ceremonial washing for a lesson contrasting their attention to external niceties with the condition of their hearts. But here, instead of comparing them to tombs that had been whitewashed to give them an attractive appearance, He likened them to concealed tombs which defiled men unawares. While Matthew focused on Jesus' judgment on the Pharisees as they appeared before God, Luke appears to have focused on Jesus' condemnation of the effects that the Pharisees' teaching and example had on others. Those who modeled themselves after the Pharisees would absorb the same self-righteous attitudes and false emphasis on externals without ever realizing the spiritually toxic nature of what they were becoming. Read less
The unknown woman's spontaneous exclamation parallels the Proverbs, which repeatedly speak of the blessing and pleasure brought to parents by a wise s... Read more
The unknown woman's spontaneous exclamation parallels the Proverbs, which repeatedly speak of the blessing and pleasure brought to parents by a wise son (Proverbs 10:1, 15:20). Jesus did not deny this, but contrasted it with the greater blessing received by those who attended to the word of God and did accordingly. The word here translated "observe" comes from the Greek root fulasoo, meaning "to guard, to watch." The idea is activity directed toward observation, protection, and care. It is not enough merely to hear what God has to say or even to gather knowledge about it; it is meant to be a bridge to an active relationship with God Himself. And any relationship worth having requires attention and discernment, both to incorporate attitudes and actions which further the relationship and to guard against those that do not. Those who fail to heed what God has to say and incorporate His words into their lives will invariably pursue habits of thought and action that will preclude their ability to have any fellowship with Him.
It is interesting to note that the same Greek root was used when Jesus spoke of the strong man guarding his house (Luke 11:21). As the "strong man" is generally held to be a metaphor for Satan, while the man stronger than he is a picture of Jesus Himself, Jesus thus likens the attitude and vigilance the believer should have towards pursuing a relationship with God to the attitude and vigilance that Satan has in maintaining his own power over men. Read less