Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 11:38-49

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Luke 11:38

did not wash. This was not for the purpose of hygiene, but for ritual purity. Before the Pharisees touched their food, they had water poured over their hands so that the defilements of the world might be washed away. However, this was not commanded by the Old Testament law. It was a tradition meant to keep one from breaking the law.

Luke 11:39

outside . . . inside. Jesus taught that most Pharisees worried about an external obedience and an appearance of righteousness. But their hearts were not right with God (Mark 7:6; Rom. 2:23).

Luke 11:40

senseless men. A fool. Such people are blind to God and his ways (Prov. 1:22; 10:8; 12:15; 14:9; 15:2). made. God created humanity, inside and outside. It is foolish to only worry about cleaning the outside and not the inside. Jesus called them to examine and clean their hearts with repentance and faith.

Luke 11:41

clean. Acceptable to God, when offered with pure hearts (see 19:8).

Luke 11:42

woe. See notes on 6:20-26. tithe. The Old Testament law commanded all people to give a tenth of what they owned to God in a tithe (Num. 18:21-24). The Pharisees went beyond what was required. neglect. The Pharisees were very careful to obey some particulars of the law but missed the main point. They failed to act justly toward their neighbor (Isa. 1:17; Mark 7:9-13) and love God with all their heart (Deut. 6:4-5).

Luke 11:43

Woe. See notes on 6:20-26. front seats . . . greetings. The Pharisees enjoyed having reputations of godliness. But they failed to seek God and cultivate true godliness.

Luke 11:44

Woe. See notes on 6:20-26. unmarked graves. Contact with death made a person ritually unclean under the Old Testament law (Num. 19:16). If a grave was unmarked, someone might walk over it without knowing it. Jesus said the Pharisees were such graves — unknowingly spiritually dead inside and unclean before God.

Luke 11:45

teachers of the law. See note on 5:17.

Luke 11:46

Woe. See notes on 6:20-26. burdens. By adding extra rules and traditions, the teachers of the law, made it hard and miserable to keep God's word. It should have been a joy (Ps. 119:97, 103, 165). Worse, as hypocrites they did not try to keep the burdens themselves.

Luke 11:47-48

Woe. See notes on 6:20-26. prophets. During Jesus' day, teachers went to the traditional burial places of the prophets and built memorials. It was supposed to be a sign of piety. But Jesus showed their hypocrisy. It was easier to pay empty tribute to a dead prophet than to listen to a living one. killed. All throughout biblical history, God's prophets were killed for speaking God's truth. The same spirit of hard-heartedness existed in the teachers of that day. They rejected Jesus, God's perfect prophet (Heb. 1:1). Eventually, they would kill him as well (9:22; 19:47; 22:2; Matt. 20:18).

Luke 11:49

this reason. That is, the sins laid out in vv. 39-48. God's wisdom. Is often contrary to human wisdom (1 Cor. 1:20-25). Though they will suffer, he sent prophets and apostles to preach to his people (1 Thess. 2:15; see Eph. 3:5; 2 Pet. 3:2; Rev. 18:20). These words of God are not quoted from the Old Testament.

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