Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 11:37-54

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Chapter 11:37-54

A Dinner Party Turns Ugly—Again

  • Another Pharisee asks Jesus to dine with him. Evidently, he wasn't at the first dinner, which wasn't pretty (look back at 7:36-50).
  • Jesus accepts, goes, and stretches himself out on one of the couches. Sounds comfy.
  • But the Pharisee is shocked at his failure to wash before eating. Did his mom tell him to wash his hands? The concern is not with hygiene, though, but with ritual purity.
  • Jesus isn't afraid to take his host to task. He's getting snippy again.
  • You Pharisaic highbrows wash plates and cups good and clean, at least on the outside. But the inside (not of the tableware, but of y'all) is still filthy, full of greed and wickedness.
  • These guys are a bunch of idiots, who are unaware that God made both inside and outside. What they need to do is give away their innards in acts of compassion. Then they'll be totally clean.
  • In fact, boo to you Pharisaic highbrows. You're so busy tithing stuff that you neglect justice and love for God, i.e. exactly what's required for earning eternal life (rewind to 10:27).
  • Boo to you again! You cherish your seats of honor in synagogues and all of the attention people give you in town square.
  • Boo for the third time! (This is fun.) You people are like graves unmarked by tombstones. People are walking over a bunch of corpses without even knowing.
  • One of the highbrow professors of religious law at the dinner points out that Jesus is being offensive not only to Pharisees, but to everyone else. He's really snubbing their honor.
  • In reply Jesus more or less says "good." He wants to offend them.
  • And wait, there's more! Boo to you highbrow legal scholars, too! You weigh people down with heavy burdens, which you yourselves won't even touch with your finger.
  • Guess what—more booing! You're building tombs for the prophets of old, but by doing that, you're praising your ancestors—the ones who killed them.
  • The sad fact of the matter is that this generation will be held responsible for every murdered prophet in the world's whole history. Yikes.
  • Jesus really won't let this one go. He continues: This means that you will be punished for all the blood spilled from Cain's very first murder of Abel all the way up to the murder of Zechariah. For these murders, check out Genesis 4:1-16 and 2 Chronicles 24:20-22.
  • So yeah, this generation will be punished for all of that. How? When?
  • Who cares? We have more boos to dole out. Boo to you highbrow legal scholars! You've grabbed control over "the key of knowledge" (11:52), but you fail to enter and block the entry of others as well.
  • Relieved that this dinner party's over, the religious highbrows head out. And they're not happy with Jesus.
  • They start to interrogate Jesus tirelessly in the hopes that they'll catch him in some statement that they can use to discredit or charge him.

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