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Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on Luke 11:33-54

The lamp of the body - Luke 11:33-36

Luke 11:33-36 forms a chiastic structure (a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and emphasis) focusing upon light and darkness, good and evil:

  • A. lighting a lamp . . . light (Luke 11:33)
    • B. (Luke 11:34)

      • i. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light (Luke 11:34)

        • ii. when it is bad, your body is full of darkness (Luke 11:34)
      • C. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness (Luke 11:35)
    • B'. (Luke 11:36)

      • i. if then your whole body is full of light (Luke 11:36)

        • ii. having no part dark (Luke 11:36)

      • i'. it will be wholly bright
  • A'. a lamp with its rays gives you light (Luke 11:36)
This saying of Christ is covered in detail in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (below). A one-room home is envisioned. A light covered with a bowl would be useless, but on a stand it would light the whole house. The truth of Jesus' preaching is evident and must not be hidden. The light of Jesus is meant to be placed in a prominent place in the house so that it gives light to everyone. The Christian life is to be one of walking in the light (1 John 1:7).

The second part of Jesus' saying refers to the fact that when the eye is functioning correctly, the body receives the full benefit of the light it takes in, or "is full of light" (cf. Psa. 18:28). Jesus is here speaking metaphorically of one's spiritual perception. The eye is the lamp of the body because it lets light in. This refers to allowing the mind, will, emotions, strength, and body to gather, understand, and respond to what the light reveals. If one's eyes are good, everything can function as it should. The whole being of the person is effected in a godly way! However, if these eyes are defective, the body is, as it were, "full of darkness." Everything is adversely affected. The people seeking a sign did not need more light; they needed to be healed of their blindness (2 Cor. 4:4) - as the Kingdom was already present. What God was doing in Jesus was plain enough.

Woes - Luke 11:37-54

The "woes" are covered in detail in the Gospel of Matthew (below). Hendriksen notes the differences between Luke 11:37-54 and Matthew 23:13-36:

a. Luke 11 records six woes; Matthew records seven.

b. Those reported by Luke were addressed to Pharisees (Luke 11:42-44) and law-experts, scribes (Luke 11:46, 47, 52). Those reported by Matthew, though also directed to the scribes and Pharisees, were addressed "to the crowds and to Christ's disciples."

c. Those found in Luke were spoken somewhat earlier than those found in Matthew (the latter on Tuesday of Passion Week).

d. The six were pronounced in a home, the seven in the temple.

However, there are also similarities:

Luke 11
Matthew 23
Luke 11:39
"but inside full of"
Matthew 23:25
Luke 11:42
"you tithe mint," etc.
Matthew 23:23
Luke 11:43
"you love the chief seat"
Matthew 23:6, 7
Luke 11:46
"heavy burdens"
Matthew 23:4
Luke 11:47, 48
"prophets tombs"
Matthew 23:29-32
Luke 11:49
"some they [you] shall kill"
Matthew 23:34
Luke 11:50, 51
"the blood of Abel"
Matthew 23:35, 36
Luke 11:52
"you not entering"
Matthew 23:13

The reader should note Luke forms a chiastic structure (a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and emphasis) focusing upon the double witness of the testimony (Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28; cf. Num. 35:30) of the guilt of his enemies:

  • A. you build the tombs (Luke 11:47-48)
    • B. your fathers killed (Luke 11:47)
      • C. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers (Luke 11:48)
    • B'. they killed them (Luke 11:)
  • A'. you build their tombs (Luke 11:48)
Of particular interest here is Luke 11:51 saying, "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation" (cf. Matt 23:35 says "blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah," for "Berekiah" see Zech 1:1, 7). The "altar" = bronze basin. The "blood of Abel" is seen in Genesis 4:8. The "blood of Zechariah" is seen in the last book of the Jewish Bible (not English) in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22. Here Jesus lays out the canon of the Old Testament - 39 books. Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning (Abel) to the end (Zechariah) which did not include the time of the Apocrypha, which was after the time of Zechariah. The Apocrypha were written during the 400 years of silence after the canon of the Old Testament was "biblically" closed. See "The Intertestamental Period - Years of Silence" below. Jesus is very clear about the Old Testament canon - we should not add to it!

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