Summary: Jesus vs. religious people

25. Who is Jesus?

February 20th, 2010

Woe to you

We have seen Jesus in a battle against Beelzebub now we get to see Him battle against religion. This is actually a major theme in the Gospel of Luke. Over and over we see this conflict between Jesus and religious people. Religion is a fundamental set of beliefs and practices shared by a number of people. Our religion here is to be non-religious. We are ever, only, always about Jesus. The rules we follow are the commands of Jesus not the traditions of man. We follow Jesus in efforts to live like Him that we may become His disciples. Following Jesus doesn’t come with a list of fundamental practices. Jesus does not follow a strict set of rules He lives His life under the authority of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Religion is about practices, traditions, rules, and rituals. Jesus is not about regulation but relationships. Religion values beliefs over people. Jesus values people. He has come not to give us more rules but to save us from the burden of the law. Jesus goes against religion and putting them together is like mixing country and music. The two just don’t go together. Jesus battling religious people: this should be fun.

The religious leaders are playing games. They goofing around with the rules and picking needless fights to position themselves in authority. In the process they are treating people like pawns and honest, God-seeking people are being hurt under the whim of selfish religious rulers. These religious people come into Jesus life to pick fights with Him. They use their interpretation of God’s Word to try and argue with God. Life lesson: this is a bad idea. Arguing with God is dumb enough don’t try to use His own words against Him. Jesus doesn’t start this fight but He is going to finish it.

We are in Luke 11:37. Jesus has just shown us what turns us into religious people. In Jesus day they didn’t have electricity. When it got dark they would go home and light a lamp and put it in the center of the room so it could light up as much of the house as possible. The light was the center of their lives. The light is what enables you to see in the darkness. That what Jesus is, He is our light and everything we see should be through Him. We should put Jesus and His truth at the center of our lives so He can illuminate everything. The religious people they don’t want to subject themselves to Jesus authority so they try to hide Him under a bowl. The light doesn’t go out and so they close their eyes so they don’t have to see Him. This is conscious rebellion against God. This is what religious people do. They know what Jesus says, light is in their lives but they don’t like it, they don’t want to follow it, so they close their eyes and ignore it.

Jesus is going to have an encounter with some very religious people. After all the excitement from Jesus casting out a demon a Pharisee invites Jesus over to his house for brunch. This seems weird since Jesus and the Pharisees really don’t get along. Pharisees represent the ultra-conservative party of religious organization. They started off as layman who saw the problem of Israel as their continual unfaithfulness to the commands of God. So they decide it was time for a change. They separated themselves from the rest of their people by strictly applying Old Testament commands to every part of their lives. Their original goal was good: get God’s people to follow God’s commands so they may live under God’s blessing. Like kids left unattended in a candy store they have indulged themselves to the point of intoxication. The Old Testament contains 613 laws. The Pharisees decided that wasn’t enough. So they made more. They replaced God with the law and people became objects to be ruled over not human beings to be loved.

They invite Jesus over for a meal and He agrees to come. We have already seen that Jesus eats with sinners. The religious people don’t really understand why. How come mechanic spends so much time with broken cars? It is their job to fix them. Jesus spends time with sinners. He doesn’t approve or condone their sin but He spends time with them. Jesus eats with sinners because eating by yourself gets lonely. The religious people have forgotten that they are sinners too. They think their adherence to all the rules negates the fact that they sin. Jesus doesn’t just eat with sinners He eats with religious people as well.

Lk 11:37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. Lk 11:38 But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. Lk 11:39 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. Lk 11:40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? Lk 11:41 But give what is inside └ the dish┘ to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

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