Luke 11 v 48. “So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets and you build their tombs.


This is a serious charge Jesus makes against the teachers of the law. He is telling them that they were in essence no different from their ancestors who had murdered the prophets. At first sight this may seem an unfair charge. But the way to honour a prophet is not to build him a tomb but to carry out his message.


The people to whom Jesus was speaking at this time were about to join the Pharisees in persecuting Jesus because he criticised their legalism and spiritual inconsistency. Furthermore they would persecute Him with the same murderous hatred their fathers had shown to the prophets in their day. So for these men to build tombs for the prophets was nothing more than superstition and hypocrisy.


Now read verses 49 and 50. What did Jesus mean? Well, God’s patience had waited year after year with these people. But now, in the generation in which Jesus lived, the people were privileged to have the greatest of all the prophets – John the Baptist, and no less than the Messiah Himself. They would be followed by the Lord’s apostles. But all these would be persecuted and killed showing that this generation was more guilty than their ancestors because of their rejection of the great prophet John the Baptist, Jesus whom they crucified, and also the apostles later on.


Justly then, vengeance fell on this generation for the murder of all the prophets from the beginning of the world.


This is the way David Gooding writes it:


“This solemn principle of judgement operated in AD70 and again in AD135 when God allowed the Romans to destroy Jerusalem and its temple, to decimate its citizens, to deport droves of them as captives and to turn Jerusalem into a Gentile city (Read ch 20 vs 20-24). It will operate in even greater measure on apostate Christendom and Judaism at the end of the age”.

(According to Luke p 236)


This is heavy stuff, but it makes you think, doesn’t it!