Luke 11:37-54 Woe to You

Intro: I love to study the Life of Christ – one of my favorite verses pertaining to the Life of Christ is found in John 1:14

  1. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His

glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

  1. Grace Getting what we don’t deserve / Judgement – instead healing & Salvation/ Favorite - G.R.A.C.E. - Jesus came to bring!!!



  1. Came to set the Standard / Right the Wrong /
  2. Truth of the Fathers Heart .
  3. At the time that Christ came into the World / men had such a distorted view of God / His Character & His Heart / still do today !!!
  1. Much of that wrong perception was a part of the Religious establishment there in Israel at the time
  1. What is interesting in looking at the life of Christ is the Father’s heart that was revealed through Jesus was different towards the common people
  1. Than towards the RELIGIOUS LEADERS
  1. The Difference is one that would surprise many

SEE When Jesus looked at the People we read of Him having compassion on them – sheep w/ out a shepherd

  1. Jesus seeing the People as being hungry & thirsty unable to fill the void
  1. He saw them As being burdened down / heavy Laden by life & the responsibilities heaped upon them .
  1. Jesus saw the sufferings of men & His heart went out to them!
  1. But on the other hand when you see Jesus corresponding w/ the RELIGIOUS LEADERS – Usually He is GRIEVED / UPSET
  1. You rarely read of Jesus verbally blasting anyone in the scriptures / but almost every time He did – it was these guys it was directed at!
  1. See that in our text today . ( Finish Chapter 11 – Set Scene) v.37-41


After Jesus is through speaking to the crowd one of the Pharisees says why don’t you come to my house for Dinner – Jesus says Okay

  2. Never a time when He didn’t turn down an invitation to eat / one time w/ Zacchaeus He invited Himself .
  1. Heaven marriage supper of the Lamb
  1. Rev. 3:20 ………. Sup w/ him / eat – but really eating spoke of intimate fellowship - break bread – becoming one



  1. They said that it was important to wash your hands before & during the meals so that you were not ceremonially unclean
  2. Precise way Hold hands up / pour water over – keep from running down your arm – if ran down your arm – your arm would be unclean
  1. Then turn your hands downward - do it again – so that water ran down

They did this several times during the meal

  1. Well Jesus didn’t get caught up in these types of silly traditions –
  1. He sits down & picks up His burger & digs in
  1. The Pharisee can’t believe it – he is openly thinking – oh I can’t believe he is eating w/ unclean hands



That is essentially what Jesus says in v. 39-41 Let me Paraphrase what Jesus says here This is your problem – Pharisees problem in general

  1. You are so concerned about the external actions & you neglect the internal state of your heart
  2. You look right on the outside you give alms / you say the right things / the outside of the cup and dish is clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.
  3. Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

  4. These guys are not much different from many who attend churches today/ they look right on the outside / talk right – but heart is wrong .
  1. Quote verses / sing the songs – talk the talk in public but in private it is another story
  1. God is not impressed w/ our outward actions when heart is wrong!!!!

MATT. 15: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"



  1. This is Similar to what He said in Matt. 23 – Public pronouncement in the temple
  2. But here in this private setting – Jesus pulls no punches – But instead speaks w/ boldness in revealing the condition of their heart .
  3. 1) WOE TO YOU



1ST WOE- Pronounced on the Pharisees Because OF Wrong priorities

  1. "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.
  1. See They were careful about tithing even the tiny leaves and seeds from the herbs, 9 for me & one for God .
  2. But they forgot about important things like justice and love
  3. (Micah 6:7-8) Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? ( Tithing to earn God’s favor or impress)

    8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

  4. They majored on the minors!
  1. Now Jesus did not say they should stop tithing no He says These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
  1. Your tithing would be fine if your heart was right towards God – you are focused on these minor issues and forgetting he most important thing
  1. Right Heart toward God - But to do justly, mercy toward /And to walk

humbly with your God?

  1. Without that we are merely practicing RELIGIOSITY !! Just RELIGION


  1. "Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
  1. The Pharisees prided themselves upon their position / instead of being servants for the People – they wanted to be esteemed by the People
  1. They Loved the seats of position in the synagogue & loved to be called titles like Rabbi / Master or Father
  1. They were very concerned about their Reputation – Been said that
  1. REPUTATION is what people think we are CHARACTER is what God knows we are.
  1. They had it backwards - MINISTER = SLAVE / SERVANT


"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them."

  1. Now this really would have made these guys mad – because they believed that to walk on an unmarked grave was defiling –
  1. Touching a dead thing – so they would whitewash the tomb stones so that people could see them / not walk on them / but avoid them.
  1. So when Jesus says you are like graves not seen – He was saying that they were having a defiling affect on everyone they came in contact w/

Matt. 23 even stronger in public speech - 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

  1. "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Now at this point v.45 a Lawyer who was sitting at the at the table says "Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also."

  1. Understand who each of these guys were – The Pharisees were the ones who enforced the Law – Law of Moses & all their traditions
  1. They were the preachers who stood before the people & laid these heavy trips on them /
  1. they were the ones who judged if people had broken the law
  1. The scribes were the ones who – wrote down the interpretations of the law – they copied the manuscripts
  2. THE LAWYERS were the ones who actually gave the interpretations of the law . EXPLAIN

God gave them the Torah which was the first 5 books of Moses

  1. They in turned created the Mishnah which was the oral traditions that explained the Torah / handed down over a period of 335 yrs
  2. Then came the TALMUD – Which were writings that explained the MISHNAH which explained the TORAH.
  3. AN English edition of this work comprises 36 volumes & 36,000 pages

So when this lawyer says "Teacher, by saying these things You reproach us also." Reason is they wrote the laws the scribes copied / Pharisees enforced

  1. They were the ones responsible for complicating the word of God – and taking that which was to bless men/ give direction to men
  1. And making it into a burden that was impossible to bare.




–So this guys says teacher by saying these things you reproach us as well Jesus responds I haven’t even started w/ you Pal. 46 And He said

"Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

AA) Woe to them for heaping burdens on God’s people.

  1. I think this is one thing that Jesus hated more than any other thing that they did – because it misrepresented God & burdened His people
  1. Jesus came to be the BURDEN LIFTED / BURDEN BEARER


B) But Jesus didn’t stop there. Continues v. 47-51 47 "Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

48 "In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs.

49 "Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,'

50 "that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation,

  1. "from the blood of Abel( 1st killed out of religious jealousy) to the blood of Zechariah (Which was one of the last prophets to be killed in O.T. period ) who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.


In the Kidron Valley there in Jerusalem there are some beautiful carved tombs / they are called the tombs of the prophets

  1. It is quite possible that this is what Jesus was talking about here.
  2. Israel was guilty of killing the prophets of God / in fact it was a dangerous thing to be a prophet – many were rejected & killed
  3. In reality these men were CONSENTING to the deeds of their Fathers BECAUSE they were at that very moment conspiring to kill JESUS!
  4. Jesus lays a pretty heavy Charge against them by stating that the blood of all the prophets would be required of them .
  5. THE REASON they would be GUILTY of the whole history of violence against the prophets is because they were about to CRUCIFY THE ONE OF WHOM THE PROPHETS SPOKE.


6TH & FINAL WOE – JESUS PRONOUNCES AGAINST THEM WAS For taking the keys of knowledge or robbing people of the Word v.52 "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered."

  1. Three fold problem here –1st they failed to enter in / they spent a great deal of time studying the scriptures but missed the whole point .
  1. Those scriptures were meant to point them to JESUS . They held the Key of knowledge but failed to open the door.

B) Jesus the Key of Knowledge / In Him hidden all the treasures of wisdom & Knowledge

    1. Given us all things that pertain to life & godliness through the KNOWLEDGE OF HIM!!!

2NDLY They had made the study of the word of God so complicated w/ their interpretations that common person couldn’t even read it !

3RDLY In doing so they hindered people from truly entering in & seeking after the Lord .

  1. Made pursuing God & studying scriptures a thing for only the lofty to do

Only the highly skilled & trained !!!

  1. We see a similar thing today w/ some of those Professors who teach in seminaries today – cast doubt on the scriptures
  1. Or those teachers who place such a strong importance on the Bible languages they give the impression that the H.S. can not truly speak to a person unless they know Greek or Hebrew.
  2. I even think that we have to be careful – of all the study Bibles we have out today – ( One for every Kind – spirit filled / Prophecy / so & so’s
  1. Now these can be tremendously helpful – but they can also detract a person from allowing the H.S. to speak to their hearts
  1. And Some of these – Study Bibles have more – commentary than they do scripture on each page.
  1. Have one Bible to read / one to study

So Jesus lays out the truth – 2 ways to respond to truth – Resist it & get bitter & angry / RESPOND & REPENT - Make right

A) Notice what these guys did v.53 53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things,

  1. lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.
  1. They resisted – lets kill Him !!!!!/ What about You – Resist / Reject or Respond – w/ repentance

1) Have You entered in ?


Now I think it is easy to applaud Jesus here to shout GO JESUS GO / HIT AGAIN LORD LET THEM HAVE IT .

  1. But I think that as we look at this passage we need individually to

look in the mirror & ask some simple Questions

A) #1 Are we GUILTY OF HAVING IT TOGETHER ON THE OUTSIDE / but are No where on the inside .

  1. Are we caught up in the externals / neglecting the internal condition of our hearts /
  2. Are we merely going through the motions spiritually so that our worship is in vain – because our hearts are really far from the Lord.

#2 Are we guilty of majoring on the minors –

  1. Are we so caught up in our own petty little convictions – that we are neglecting the essentials of Love for God Humility & Mercy

#3 Do We love & seek after the Praise of Men. Are we always seeking to be in the " In Crowd"

  1. Do we want to Know & be known by the right people
  2. Do we want People to think that we are more spiritual than we really are

#4 Is our lives marked by a Hypocrisy – to the point that we are having a defiling affect upon others who hang around us

  1. Are People stumbled when they see the way that we live or when they get a chance to view our marriage up close.
  2. Is our lifestyle – drawing people to Christ or pushing them away from Christ ?


#5 Are we laying trips & Burdens on People that we ourselves don’t even keep.

  1. Is our description of Christianity so complex & complicated / it is marked by LEGALISM & SELF RIGHTEOUS PRIDE ?


#6 Do we reject God’s messengers & Kill them / oh not Physically but verbally – by being critical of their style or approach

  1. Or some other unimportant aspect of their personality
  2. If someone is teaching heresy – that needs to be addressed but that other stuff we just need to let it alone !!!!!


#7 Am I guilty of Not entering in? Am I guilty of hindering others from entering in by taking away from the simplicity of the word by my over emphasis on KNOWLEDGE & LEARNING .


Now when we look at this passage in that way – I think we can find our selves saying OUCH - PRICKED MY HEART

  1. Lord I need to repent of that wrong attitude of that PRIDE of my judgmental & CRITICAL Spirit !!!!!!
  2. I Need to Repent of being a burden bringer / trip layer / of the hypocrisy that is in my own life .

C) All those things will radically affect my relationship w/ Christ !!!!