Luke 11 v 52. “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
It was the task of the teachers of the law to expound the law so that ordinary people could understand it, be saved and enter into God’s blessing.
Yet they had drifted so far in their understanding of the true purpose of the law that their explanations left them and their hearers ignorant of the true riches of God’s Word. They made it more difficult for the ordinary man to understand God’s Word. When scripture is expounded in that way it stands self-condemned.
The whole thrust of Luke’s narrative is to tell us how important it is to hear the word of God and to keep it. God’s Word is given to us for our salvation. To misuse it or pervert it is a serious crime indeed.
Remember in v 37 Jesus was at a dinner party given by a Pharisee. Imagine how angry his host and his other guests must have been after Jesus’ remarks. Verses 53 and 54 show us just how angry they were. They opposed him fiercely, they besieged him with questions. They waited, like hunters after prey to catch him in something he might say.
You can see in these verses the build up to the final rejection of Jesus by the leaders. Wherever the words of Jesus are taught it exposes hypocrisy, lies deceit and spiritual emptiness. What was wrong with these people? They were spiritually blind. In John 8 vs 42-47 Jesus told them that their father was not Abraham, as they supposed, but the devil, who was a murdered from the beginning. Jesus says, tellingly in John 8 v 47: “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Coming back to our passage in Luke, we can see why these people were so angry with Jesus. Even though they practised and taught what they thought was the law of God, in fact the light that was in them was darkness (Luke 11 v 35).
It is for this reason that Christians so often say that they do not practise religion i.e. a set of rules and regulations, but rather a relationship. The amazing claim that Christians make is that they know God and are known by Him. This is a far cry from what is depicted in the hearts of the people who wanted to ensnare Jesus.