Jesus gives six “woes” in Luke 11, I wonder if any of them would cause us to say, “Woe is me?”
First, Jesus took acceptation to the way the Pharisees practice their religion. They were so worried about obeying the law of the tithe, getting the tithe exactly right (no more) but neglected the greater law of loving God and loving men. Jesus wasn’t saying one trumps the other, He was saying they were both to be honored in obedience to God. Second, Jesus had a problem with their “self-promotion.”
They loved to be seen and heard and thought of as “Spiritually superior” people. They loved their titles, but they didn’t love to do their job. Therefore while they were grandstanding in public, their character was way out of whack. Third, Jesus had a real problem with the fact they whitewashed tombs so people to could easily see them and not walk on graves which would defile them. While the gesture was great (even right) they whitewashed the tombs, but they themselves needed cleansing. Fourth, Jesus addresses the lawyers who were experts of the law, but they themselves didn’t follow the law. Fifth, Jesus nailed the lawyers again with the idea you try to act like you’re honoring the dead prophets, but it is you yourselves who are not living for God. And sixth, to the lawyers again, woe to you for misguiding people with your false religion and hiding the key of the truth from those who need it. I hope you did not find yourself in this list of woes, but if you did, proclaim to the Lord today, woe is me, seek His forgiveness and transforming power.
Exposing ourselves to the truth is the best way to address issues God may be trying to deal with me about.
A reflection on the truth can either make you bitter like those who listened to Jesus in Luke 11: “When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions,” (Luke 11:53) Or it can make us better by asking the Lord to search us and cleanse us…Woe to us if we don’t. This Easter week, as we reflect on our risen, living Lord, let’s also take time to reflect on how we are living for our Lord.
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.