Are We Modern Day Pharisees?: Jesus Might Get All Luke 11:37-54 On Us

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 11:37-54 — Jesus be gettin’ serious up in here. Tellin’ like it is. Gettin’ real with the Pharisees.

Have you ever met people that are so concerned with appearances. There’s our mothers who seem obsessed with clean underwear when you have a wreck. LOL. But seriously, why is it that, especially a lot of people who claim to be Christians are obsessed with appearances.

It is funny how God has perfect timing. It is ironic that I read this passage on this day. I recently (as in this week—and it’s only Tuesday) had friend get rebuked by her church friends (at a different church from the one I attend) because she shared a picture from her past on her Facebook page, from her pre-redemption days, from her previous party lifestyle. The purpose of her sharing it, according to her caption to the picture, was to demonstrate that God redeems us from the pit of our own self-destructive paths. He can redeem even the biggest partier, the biggest sinner. Maybe, yes, should have thought a little more about her Facebook audience before she posted her picture, but her point is a valid one. We all have our pre-redemption stories. It is these paths that lead us to our knees before Christ and beg Him to come into our lives and redeem us from the pit.

For church members not to see the beauty of her redemption story is to be a Pharisee, the very people that Jesus is rebuking in our passage. For these church members to condemn someone for having a past is simply unfathomable to me. Jesus criticized the Pharisees harshly. They washed themselves outwardly (gave all the right appearances). They gave of their income but they participated in injustice. They loved praise and attention, but they loaded the Jewish people down burdensome religious demands. They would not accept the truth about Jesus, though He was the Messiah. He was a threat to their power so they prevented others from seeing the truth. They were concerned about outward appearances but not the inner condition of the heart. People do the same when their service to the church comes from a desire to be seen rather than from a heart overflowing from the joy of salvation and from a simple love for the Lord that leads us to love on others.

It is like when the people dig up dirt on people running for president for something that they did thirty years ago. Wow. It just seems insane. To condemn a person for the lifestyle they led before they met Jesus just boggles my mind. God love us when we were yet sinners. There is no one righteous not even one. We continue to commit sins daily and are not perfect until we are joined with Jesus in heaven after our life’s journey is complete. At this friend’s church, I would ask this questions. Who among you is without sin? Who among you does not have a past that you are glad to be free from? Are you not glad to have this lady that has come into your church and energized its youth program? Are you not energized by her story of redemption? Her story is the story we should be sharing with the world not condemning her. She is redeemed from the life she used to lead. Her testimony is filled with how Jesus redeemed her from the destructive path that she was leading. We should celebrate this Jesus victory. Let us make our churches what they are supposed to be – spiritual hospitals. Let us make our churches welcoming to those who are sinners. It is here that where they are supposed to get healed. We are to welcome the saints to our door and we are to especially welcome the harlot, the murderer, the liar, the adulterer, the thief and the whole host of sinners to our doors.

White washed sepulchres, all beautiful and white on the inside and nothing but dried up bones and death on the inside. That is what Jesus said of the Pharisees. Is that what Jesus would say of us today when we condemn people for not having been perfect from birth, for having a past. Is that what Jesus would say if we are more concerned about someone’s past than we are about her present and her future in Christ. Why aren’t we celebrating the victory of Jesus over the past. No wonder so many churches have so few people in them. Churches should be out in the street witnessing to the redemptive power of Jesus in their own lives so that others will see that nothing is so horrible that Jesus cannot redeem it. Then, our churches will not be empty. Churches should be places of redemption rather than places of judgment.

Jesus cares more about the condition of our heart than anything else. How is your heart? Are you more concerned with appearances and keeping rules than really getting to know Jesus? Jesus wants you to confess all before Him, make Him the Lord over your life and He will make you pure and clean. Jesus help me to see my own sins and confess them. Give me a heart of thanksgiving for my salvation such that I can serve you out of my desperate love for you for having redeemed me and made me a new person. Father, Father, I love you so much for making into a new creation! Help me to celebrate the thankful celebrations of others who have been redeemed as well. It is the beggar who is truly thankful for his food. Amen.

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