Summary: Confronting Hypocrisy Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – August 11, 2019

Confronting Hypocrisy

Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)

Brad Bailey – August 11, 2019

Series #34

Text – Luke 11:37-48, 52-54

Note: The following notes area bit more extensive that what was shared. I use notes more as a guide…neither read nor memorized. In this case, some abbreviating will be required.


There’s a rather silly story told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper paid one of the groundkeepers to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the new job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over as the lion approached…until the lion spoke to him:

“Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”

While a silly story….I think it actually it captures something that is quite real… outside the zoo.

• We may find we are encouraged to act… to perform… to satisfy the expectations of others.

• While we may understand the need…and may feel we need the pay…we may have an almost unconscious sense that there is something degrading about it.

• And finally… the larger truth is that everyone else is playing a similar role.

As we continue in our weekly focus on Encountering Jesus through the Gospel of Luke…we come to an encounter in which Jesus confronts this dynamic.

While the text is a little longer than usual… I think you will see that it is one very focused exchange…worthy to be heard in full.

Luke 11:37-54 (NIV) ?37  When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38  But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. 39  Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41  But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42  "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43  "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44  "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it." 45  One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." 46  Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. 47  "Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. 48  So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.

(Skipping a few expounding words…)

52  "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." 53  When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54  waiting to catch him in something he might say.


So much for a light dinner conversation.

Any degree of imagination can feel the intensity… awkwardness.

Jesus speaks not only with intensity…but a profound sharpness.

If you could imagine being one of the guests… perhaps among the disciples… this would be one of those times you lower your head… trying to avoid eye contact… nervously move things around on your plate. It's a very, very awkward conversation

This encounter raises a few different feelings.

One may feel a little put off… thinking that Jesus is getting too harsh. After all… when you are invited to dinner…you don’t treat the host this way. Might make you think twice about being so quick to think you would want to have dinner with Jesus.

One may feel impressed… there is something powerful in such a strong and straightforward confrontation. Any lawyer would likely be impressed by something remarkable about the ability to have identified and presented what was truly at hand. There is a brilliance that defies the common mind.

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