Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)
Brad Bailey – August 11, 2019
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.
One may also just find themselves cheering… because those who have so abused their positions are being called out.
For some this cheer may come from just the general aversion to authority…and abuse of authority.
But for some this cheer may come from a deep place… because you may have experienced significant hurt by some leader in a position of authority… physical or sexual or spiritual abuse… particularly by someone with spiritual authority.
As C.S. Lewis wrote…
"Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst." - 
There is a unique form of evil that takes place when people using their role of being associated with God exploit people to satisfy their greed… power … or to serve any number of personal desires.
To those who have suffered deep spiritual abuse… I hope you will hear in these words…that Jesus shares in your pain. And I hope we can join in your journey of healing.
But I want to ask us to also face the personal challenge of what Jesus is saying.
While we may find an “amen” within us…we can also find an “ut-oh” in us…because we sense that what he is confronting… he could confront is us.
Our text begins with a Pharisee inviting Jesus to his home for a dinner… likely with several other religious leaders as well as some of Jesus’ disciples…his primary core team.
To many this may be surprising. The Pharisees were part of the religious leaders who seem to be in constant confrontation with Jesus.
For those less familiar…the Pharisees were the primary teachers of the law…committed to keeping people right with God.
We will also see another group mentioned… that of the Scribes or lawyers. They were not lawyers in the common sense…but rather those who were responsible for the academic study of God’s law. The Pharisees and Scribes were often aligned in overseeing the religious affairs. 
These leaders of the establishment had established a mutual arrangement with the Rome rule… that gave them a form of control and comfort that served them. If Jesus stirs up the people… it could destroy all that they had.
So perhaps the best way to understand why a Pharisee would invite Jesus to his home for dinner… is the advice once given that says:
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" 
Keeping in close contact with your enemies lets you keep an eye on them and know what they are up to, so you have a chance of knowing what they are saying and/or doing that might hurt you.
Well… while he seems to have tried to play the nice guy role…but his religious nature comes out.
It says he noticed that Jesus didn’t wash his hands and he shows his astonishment.
To be clear…this isn’t referring to anything hygienic. It is referring to a ritual washing that the religious leaders had developed as a sign of being religiously clean. This ritual washing was not commanded by the Word of God, not even by the ceremonial code of the Old Testament. This was an extension, an application, you might even say an addition that had been developed by the Pharisees. The Pharisee sets his own standard of holiness. 
He's astonished that Jesus would not participate in this ritual cleansing. As a Pharisee he has helped set the standard for showing honor for God’s righteousness.
The problem… was they really didn't care enough about holiness because holiness is not an external thing, it involves the state of the heart…something that emanates from the heart, a changed heart.
But they would even grasp this.
So Jesus brings the truth to bear.
He is like the plumb line that when aligned with any structure…will reveal what is not aligned….and their hearts are not aligned.
What we see is that Jesus was setting forth a new center… that at once was drawing people far and wide… but challenging everyone.
Those who represented the center were in the most difficult position.
They couldn’t ignore…but they couldn’t seem to overcome him. It has been that way ever since.
Everyone tries to make him fit their center…but he is the center.
So Jesus begins by setting forth the underlying problem….heart of the issue…
“You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish…but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.”
He speaks of how they seem to think they can clean the outside of a cup…and leave the inside dirty.
It’s a gross picture of dishes…and can be as unpleasant to realize about ourselves.
The heart of the issue is the heart… the inner rightness of our hearts.
It is not that our behavior doesn’t matter…but true goodness involves what is within us.
The main thing that Jesus says to the Pharisees and to the lawyers is that they were hypocrites, that they cared a great deal about external righteousness but their hearts were not marked by real righteousness.
“Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees was that they were more concerned with form than substance; more concerned about appearance than reality. The Pharisees were concerned only with what a man did, Jesus was concerned with what a man was.” – John Hamby
This is the essence of hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is something we commonly react to today.
We do well to understand that Jesus confronts this on a deeper level as a central part of his calling to all lives.
The English word is completely brought over from the Greek word.
Hypocrite is the Greek word itself, just brought right into English. Almost letter for letter. However, the Greek word hypocrite is the same word as the Greek word for an actor.
Hypocrisy reflects the nature of acting… of performance.
Back in those days, actors used a literal mask.
Here’s the point. The mask hid what you were really like. All good acting is that way.
Acting is a gift. Not realizing you are acting…is not.
Jesus is confronting the very nature of human life that is hiding from it’s true condition.
Hypocrisy is not that we aren’t perfect…but that we don’t even realize who we are.
This issue of religious hypocrisy is one that is alive and well in our own day, two thousand years after Jesus had this very awkward dinner conversation.
I understand that categories and labels can serve in a helpful way…but they have become the greatest means to self-righteousness.
Hypocrites… we are all hypocrites… and Jesus is holding a recovery meeting.
Having dealt with His general compliant about the Pharisees, Jesus now issues a series of “woes.” The word “woe” is not so much a stinging rebuke as it is an expression of grief; it is an expression of regret. These woes address the Pharisees’ wrong priorities. (They parallel the woes of Matt 23). In his remarks first to the Pharisees (vv. 42-45), and then to the Scribes (vv. 46-52) he outlines six marks of a hypocrite.
Some Symptoms of Hypocrisy
1. Majoring in the minors, and neglecting the major issues
"But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (v.42)
The first thing Jesus brings to light…is how these religious leaders had become so focused on the on the accuracy of what they gave …but were neglecting the larger expressions that should come with it.
They were tithing…which means giving the first tenth of one’s resources or income.
It’s worth noting that Jesus actually commends such practice. Jesus commended the principle and practice. What he draws out…is that such a form of honoring God will fail if what is done with the rest of one’s resources shows no care for justice… nor of loving God.
When you want to honor God… love God… such giving of a percent will flow…but so will care for what you do with all your resources.
In terms of how we approach this specific aspect of life…some think they have absolute ownership of everything that they have….some think God is due 10% and the rest is theirs….some I believe rightfully understand that we are responsible to manage all of life’s resources as belonging ultimately to God. And I believe that perspective is what comes out here by Jesus.
The more general problem…is that of getting too legalistic about certain aspects of what is right…while neglecting others… sometimes referred to as “majoring in the minors.”
If someone is counting spice seeds to be sure they get exactly ten percent… they are likely losing some perspective. It’s likely that they are at least inwardly finding an unhealthy sense of pride or security in some very specific practices.
The truth is that everyone has their own areas where they try to focus and feel good about doing the right thing.
We can become legalist when we become single issue people. In some religious groups…it is about the version of the Bible they use…or their view on the end times…or their choice for how to raise kids and their schooling.
The problem? We lose perspective on larger matters. We judge people by something secondary while losing a sense of the common grace we all need….by seeing the larger matters.
Jesus says, look you’re fixated on these little things but you’re neglecting really big things.
Why would the Pharisees or any of us tend to do this?
Because we want to focus on something that we’re able to do while we are neglecting something far more important to do that we’re not doing.
We can ignore massive gaps in our character.
Another symptom of hypocrisy Jesus describes is…
2. Caring more about what others see than what God sees
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. (v. 43)
Another symptom is a preoccupation with being noticed.
The most important seats in the Synagogue were those in the front. In fact they were not only in the front they were facing the congregation. 
They did what they did… to be seen and noticed by others.
Eventually… we can spend all our energy on our external appearance… and find nothing inside.
There was something interesting discovered during the life of the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a World War she served until she was retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach.
During the conversion, her three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted. But on the dock they crumbled.
Nothing was left of the 3/4 inch steel plate from which the stacks had been formed. All that remained were more than thirty coasts of paint that had been applied over the years. The steel had rusted away. 
When we live our lives primarily for what people see…Jesus knows that there will be nothing left inside. We will become nothing but countless coats of paint.
Another symptom of hypocrisy Jesus describes is…
3. Contaminating people’s lives with legalism…religious rules void of God’s heart
"Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it." (v. 44)
What is Jesus referring to? In the Old Testament, (Numbers 19) you were considered unclean if you walked over a person’s grave. The people used to whitewash tombs so that people would see them so that they would not be unclean by accidentally coming in contact with the grave. 
Jesus is telling these people that they were like “unmarked graves” that did not look like graves at all…but by their actions and attitudes, they were contaminating people.
No one would think that you were a source of uncleanliness…but they are contaminating the people with their lack of sincere love for God and others.
They were contaminating people’s lives with legalism…religious rules void of God’s heart. 
Everything of God is rooted in love…and what is good.
If one connects to the good… the way they follow the command will reflect that good. 
As the apostle Paul would later describe…it is the difference between the “spirit of the law” and the “letter of the law.” The letter of the law is dead…it has no life…because it is without the spirit that is life-giving.
As the Scriptures say…
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23
And these leaders were dead… like graves…because they brought the legalism…God’s laws separated from God’s love.
This leads to less life rather than more life.
It makes people worse rather than better.
Some may recall, back in Luke 6… Jesus heals a man with a withered hand… and they see the man only as a symbol of violating their Sabbath rules.
They saw only the rule…Jesus saw a man in need.
They only thought in terms of what you don’t do… but true holiness includes doing good.
Not doing anything in itself is not a relationship… it becomes lifeless.
We can experience this in earthly relationships.
A spouse who can only say, “I never cheated”…is not the same being “faithful” to love and honor.
A relationship rooted in love will avoid sin…but it is so much more.
Some of us may feel the difference. If may feel some vitality lacking…maybe you should get out and do something with God
Christ comes to restore what had lost life.
He comes like rain to a withering religious world.
Then, one of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." – Luke 11:45
I find myself laughing when I think about this guy. Jesus is referring to the one group of religious leaders…the Pharisees…and this guy from another group called the Scribes… says…hey… you’re not going to insult us too are you?
Needless to say… that guy probably wishes he kept his mouth shut….as Jesus shift his woes to woes to equally consider the Scribes.
He really should have kept his mouth shut.
Again these “experts in the law”…also called “Scribes”…were sort of the academics… more particularly the academic experts on Scriptures. So he shifts to them…but the general sense is that they simply reflect some similar symptoms of hypocrisy.
Another symptom of hypocrisy Jesus describes is…
4. Imparting a burden rather than a blessing
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. (v.46)
They are loading on others that which is a burden rather than a blessing
It is weight without leverage
They would simply raise the expectations… in a way that included no help…and led only to defeat.
We might wonder: Why would they or any of us…pile up expectations that are more a burden?
I suppose it can help us feel better about our own commitment.
It can become a false means of feeling we are more responsible and committed than we really are.
I may not actually be the most responsible in an area…but I FEEL more responsible if I espouse a bunch of ideals on others.
Or perhaps we find pride in what we are gifting in doing…and so we lay these ideals on others…without appreciating that they need more grace and help.
In contrast… Jesus says:
“Come unto me all you are labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28
Another symptom of hypocrisy Jesus describes is…
5. Great expressions of devoutness while actually rejecting God’s message
"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. (vv. 47- 48)
What is he saying they have done?
The Pharisees and the lawyers were claiming to be the great supporters standing in the tradition of the prophets and yet they rejected the message of the prophets. The prophets called the people to change their hearts. They declared that God saw obedience… responsiveness…as more valuable than ritual sacrifice. They themselves were guilty of the very thing that the prophets preached against. So they gave lip service to the prophets without paying attention to their message. They claimed the prophets without living out their message.
The recent shootings…left so much for our nation to face. Naturally all political sides want to express their commitment to change… and speak of this as a time to denounce hate… to not politicize… to unite rather than divide. But it seems to me that most then show us that it is harder not to politicize… divide…and fuel more hate. 
It’s hard not to perform for the stage… hard to focus on our own heart.
He is describing the potential for someone to try and overcome their guilt about how they had treated someone who has now passed on…by trying to show signs of honor after their death.
Sometimes the most ostentatious markers on cemetery graves…can reflect guilt, more than of love. Or similar desires to express lavish symbols or words… at the funeral.
Jesus is noting that the great respect they showed to the prophets was a way to try and cover the truth…that they represent those who had actually been threatened by the prophets God had sent… and tried to dismiss them…and destroy them.
They might be making demonstrable expressions of devoutness to the prophets…but it is really only reflects trying to compensate or cover their guilt.
The final symptom Jesus describes is…
6. Making it harder for people to understand God's truth
"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." (v. 52)
They had corrupted how people understood God. They believe that they possess the key of knowledge, but in fact they are an obstacle to the truth. 
They have hindered people from truly understanding and following God's Word. Why? Because essentially they have not given their hearts to God.
They were choosing to create a system that focused on outward behavior that could make them feel righteous. The refused to face their true hearts… the true nature of sin.
What do we do with our self-righteous … self-serving nature… seeking to exist apart from our true source and the true center?
Without any means to face this nature…we will hide.
The remedy is
It’s not just pretending everything is perfect… trying to look good.
It’s not rules in themselves.
It’s not covering our sin in rituals in themselves.
We can’t just forgive ourselves.
There's only one remedy to that and the remedy is grace.
Video: Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word
Could serve to prep closing worship…as it differentiates religion and Jesus…then leads to Gospel / grace.
Responsive song options:
Hillsong - From the inside out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1EJaO0_lCY
Brian Doerksen - Change Me On The Inside - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuOX9W9C9XI
Resources: John Hamby (“The Marks of A Hypocrite”); Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III (“A Very Awkward Dinner Conversation”); Brad Bailey “Called into Deeper Waters” (February 10, 2019) & “When Religion Loses Relationship” (February 24, 2019)
1. From “Reflections on the Psalms” (1964)
2. The relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees is more dynamic that we commonly grasp. We assume that Jesus hated them …and saw only evil in them as a group. But arguably, he saw them as the root of a problem that can come to any when pride and control given by one’s role… usurps the good that role represents. It is such a “yeast” that he must help identify. His rebuke can even be understood as love, for as we read in the Scriptures: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) And we find that some were moved within. The New Testament writings make mention of several Pharisees, including Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Gamaliel, who are sympathetic to Jesus and Christians. (Acts 5:34-39) The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee. (Acts 26:5 See also Acts 23:6, Philippians 3:5)
R.C. Sproul has good article explaining that the threat Jesus posed to the Pharisees was not simply his popularity of goodness per se…but that he threatened the uneasy peace and gain that they had developed with Roman authority. “His popularity, His talk of the kingdom, His affirmation that He was in fact the Messiah, this threatened the uneasy peace. If the people got behind Joseph’s son, Rome would awake, and start killing Jews indiscriminately, not bothering to distinguish the Pharisee party from the Jesus party.” – https://www.ligonier.org/blog/why-did-pharisees-hate-jesus-so-much/.
Another similar broader look at the relationship between the Pharisees and Jesus is : Jesus, a Friend of Pharisees by Aaron Eby - https://ffoz.org/discover/gospels/jesus-a-friend-of-pharisees.html
While the more theologically conservative “Evangelical” may be quick to condemn the Pharisees as simply the enemies of Jesus,,, it should be noted that they are most alike. As John Hamby notes… “So far as the fundamentals are concerned the Pharisees believed in nearly everything we do. They believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible (in their case it was of course the Old Testament). They believed in the supernatural, in Satan, angels, heaven and hell, and the resurrection of the dead. The Pharisees were big on separation, there were seven groups with in the Pharisees and they even avoided contact with other groups of Pharisees.”
3. This has often been attributed to Sun Tzu and sometimes to Niccolò Machiavelli or Petrarch, but there are no published sources yet found which predate its use by "Michael Corleone" in The Godfather Part II (1974), written by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola: "My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer."
4. Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III (“A Very Awkward Dinner Conversation”) describes this well,
One of the marks of a Pharisee is he will set up his own standard of holiness. A Pharisee will have a tendency to set up his own standard of holiness. The Pharisee is scaling down God's demands to make them attainable and thus setting up his own standard of holiness.
For instance, have you ever looked at another Christian and judged that Christian because that Christian didn't do something that the Bible doesn't command that Christian to do, but that you think that Christian ought to do? Or have you ever judged another Christian because they didn't do something that the Bible didn't forbid them from doing but that you they ought to be forbidden from doing?
5. While this problem is commonly associated with the religious Pharisees of Jesus’ days, we should understand that such a problems is described in the state of the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
6. William Hendrickson says this, “Rigid insistence on trivial matters is very often a cover for inner sin.” How often have you seen that in your own life or in the lives of others where they’re dogmatic about relatively insignificant little things and yet there’re huge gaping voids in their character and in their lives or in our character and in our lives? So the Pharisee focuses on relative minutia while neglecting massive realities of the faith.
7. In Matthew’s Gospel we hear Jesus’ similar description,
“Be careful not to do your good works in public in order to attract attention. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. Matthew 6:1 (GW)
“They do everything to attract people's attention. They make their headbands large and the tassels on their shawls long. 6 They love the place of honor at dinners and the front seats in synagogues. 7 They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have people call them Rabbi. Matthew 23:5-7 (GW)
8. Some reference regarding the Queen Mary at - LINK and apparently has been found in other ships - LINK
9. As R.C. Sproul notes regarding “legalism”,
God gave laws such as the Ten Commandments in the context of the covenant. First, God was gracious. He redeemed His people out of slavery in Egypt and entered into a loving, filial relationship with Israel. Only after that grace-based relationship was established did God begin to define the specific laws that are pleasing to Him. I had a professor in graduate school who said, “The essence of Christian theology is grace, and the essence of Christian ethics is gratitude.” The legalist isolates the law from the God who gave the law. He is not so much seeking to obey God or honor Christ as he is to obey rules that are devoid of any personal relationship.
There’s no love, joy, life, or passion. It’s a rote, mechanical form of law-keeping that we call externalism. The legalist focuses only on obeying bare rules, destroying the broader context of God’s love and redemption in which He gave His law in the first place.
To understand the second type of legalism, we must remember that the New Testament distinguishes between the letter of the law (its outward form) and the spirit of the law. The second form of legalism divorces the letter of the law from the spirit of the law. It obeys the letter but violates the spirit. - R.C. Sproul “3 Types of Legalism” (Jul 17, 2019)
10. The original people of Israel whom God first set forth commands, understood them more as a constitution that set them apart with the dignity of those who had been freed from enslavement to Egypt and anyone’s else claim upon them. The Ten Commandments are words that reflect the responsibility to live a those most human. King David wrote in Psalm 119 of the commands of God as a gift, saying: “I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.” (v. 14) and “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (v. 23)
11. In MATTHEW 23:27-28 Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
12. It’s not that laws are not good…but legislation does not make us moral or good.
We may recall how Jesus would say that we are not merely accountable for murder…but for hate… not merely adultery, but lust.
13. Though not address in this message, their response is telling. As John Hamby notes,
“Here the religious leaders reached a point of no return, they crossed the invisible line from with there was no turning back. I don’t think they realized they had just hardened their heart for the last time, I wonder if anyone does? How many times has the Lord touched your heart, how many times have you felt Him drawing you, but you resisted. The next time you heard the truth it didn’t hurt so bad, the drawing was not as strong.”