On Avoiding Conflict and Calming Everything Down

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Noticed something quite striking as I look ahead in Luke’s gospel for our ongoing sermon series.

Luke 11:43-44    “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

This is a famous tirade from Jesus against the Pharisees. He holds back nothing, taking square aim at them. And it seems that in doing so He causes some collateral damage too…

Luke 11:45    One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

The legal professionals are offended. They feel themselves caught up in the criticism that Jesus has aimed at the Pharisees. Overly sensitive? Or perhaps feeling slightly guilty? Either way surely common courtesy on Jesus’ part here would be to clarify what He was saying and who it was aimed at. No hard feelings, experts in the law, it wasn’t you I was particularly concerned about.

Or alternatively…

Luke 11:46    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.

Turns out the experts in the law were correct in their assessment.

What I find challenging here is that Jesus does not shy away from confrontation. A related party to His initial object of complaint points out that some of it is splashing onto them. So Jesus chucks another bucket right over them. The critique He has applies to them too and so He isn’t afraid to make it all perfectly clear.

The cap fits and He’s not afraid to make them wear it.

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  1. Nigel Poore

    Yep 100%!!

    In my mind the beauty in this is the compassion Jesus has towards Mr and Mrs Ordinary Sinner I.e. “Coming to save and yet not condemn the sinner”, but at the same time being pointed and cranky with those spiritual leaders in authority burdening the sinner.

    This, in direct contrast to the horror when the age of grace and chance to repent finishes and the unrepentant are judged by Jesus and cast into hell for eternity.

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