Luke 11 verses 45-53
Luke 11 v 46. “Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
The teachers of the law, were local expert scholars who were the ones who exegeted the scriptures and deduced from the Old Testament the elaborate rules which the Pharisees then tried to keep. So, when Jesus denounced the Pharisees, he also by implication was denouncing the “experts’” understanding of the Old Testament. He in effect told them that their way of understanding the Old Testament was invalid. More than that, it was perverse because it led people astray.
This was a radical thing for Jesus to do. Nobody enjoys being told they are wrong, but that is what Jesus did.
In today’s world we are taught that when it comes to religion NO one is wrong. All are right and we should all be tolerant of each other. But this is not seen here – where Jesus ruggedly confronts these false teachers and tells them they are wrong. When they confront him he does not apologise to them but rather denounces their theological structures and beliefs.
He told them they put burdens on people’s backs which no one could carry. This referred, of course to the thousands of rules and regulations which they manufactured. These rules were complicated, numerous and burdensome.
They were zealous in laying down the law but made no move to help the common people or relieve them of their burden.
How different is the Gospel of Grace – that welcomes sinners who can do nothing to make themselves pleasing to God. And how sad that so many people in the world today still follow rites, rituals and rules in an attempt to win favour with God.
Let us value God’s grace; glory in it and live by it day by day.