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Friday, March 19, 2010

Luke 5:30-6:11, “Are you a Pharisee too?” A Bible Study Devotion.


Luke 5:30-6:11, “Are you a Pharisee too?” A Bible Study Devotion.

Read Luke 5:30-6:11

In these verses we will see four different interactions with the Pharisees. In each case the Pharisees are trying to “catch” Jesus in the act of breaking some of their rules. I have a mental image of Jesus out walking around going about his normal business. About 30 feet away is a small group of people all whispering and pointing. They are watching Jesus’ every move waiting to pounce on him for anything that he might do wrong; wrong in their eyes anyway. Does this sound like a good uplifting and positive job for a preacher? It is pretty obvious when we watch the Pharisees do what they do, but can we learn a lesson about ourselves too?

• Encounter One, verse 30,31: After a man has repented and come to follow Jesus, we see a bunch of sinners at a celebration banquet. The Pharisees are watching from distance and ask Jesus, “why do you eat and drink with sinners?” Jesus responds, verse 31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.” What does the Pharisees question imply? Do they not think that they are sinners too? Jesus is telling them that they are sinners too, but they miss it…

• Encounter Two, verse 33,34: The Pharisees then say to him, “John’s disciple often fast and pray, and so do the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus responds, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?...” What is Jesus saying to them? Who are they talking about praying to? It’s like Jesus is saying to them, “Guys! Pay attention! I’m standing right here! You talk about praying to God yet miss the fact that I am standing right in front of you! It’s like being at a live play with your head down missing the action because you want to read someone else’s review of the very play that you could be watching. Jesus is telling them that he is available and standing right in front of them, but they miss it…

• Encounter Three, verse 2-5 chapter 6: While walking on the Sabbath, Jesus’ disciples pick some grain and eat it. The Pharisees ask, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus responds, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?...” Look how crazy these rules of the Pharisees had become. You are not allowed to pick grain on the Sabbath? The Sabbath was created by God in order to rest and be closer to God. It was not created so you were a slave to a bunch of man-made rules. Jesus is telling them that he is not subject to their rules about the Sabbath, He created the Sabbath! But they miss it…

• Encounter four, verse 6-9: Again we see the Sabbath day. Jesus is in the synagogue and a man has a shriveled hand that he is about to heal. The Pharisees are watching him waiting for him to “work” on the Sabbath and break their rules. Jesus knows what they are thinking and asks them this, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” This one is hard to believe… What is Jesus pointing out to them? They don’t want him to heal a man! Their rules are more important than this man is to them. They do not rejoice when the man is healed. They do not notice the miracle performed and what it implies about Jesus. All they notice is that He “worked” on the Sabbath. …and this is the best part… The notice that He worked, but they do not notice that they themselves are plotting a murder at the same time! Jesus’ response is directed towards them, but they do not understand what he means by “better to do good or do evil…” Jesus is telling them about the irony of them pointing a finger at him at the very time they are plotting evil against him, but they miss it…

It seems utterly crazy that we can read this now and see what is going on, but the Pharisees could not when they were standing right there. However, I’m willing to bet if you think about it, you can put yourself in the same situation. Do you ever stand and judge someone else for not following the “rules” while you miss the big picture? Have you ever watched someone doing something you might not approve of, missing the fact that you may be sinning yourself for your thoughts about them? Maybe Jesus made the actions of the Pharisees so obvious in order that we might learn from their mistakes…

Written by Chris Vasecka


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