by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/13/1995     0 reads



Luke 11:29-54

Luke 11:42

"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your

mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you

neglect justice and the love of God. You should have

practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

Study Questions

1.  For what did Jesus rebuke the "wicked generation"? Who was Jonah

and why did Jesus say that he could give them no sign except the

sign of Jonah? How was Jonah a sign to the people of Nineveh? How

was Jesus, the Son of Man, a sign to his times?

2.  Read verses 31-32. Who was the Queen of the South? Why was she

much better than the religious leaders of Jesus' day? Why did Jesus

tell them this story? Why were the people of Nineveh saved? How

does a sign-seeking mentality keep people from God? (1Co 1:22) How

is it like a slave mentality?

3.  Read verses 33-36. What is the purpose of a lamp? Why were the

religious leaders in spiritual darkness? How could they have

spiritual insight? How can we?

4.  Read verses 37-38. How did Jesus shock the Pharisee who invited

him to dinner? Read verses 39-41. What is really dirty and what is

the way of cleansing? Read verse 42. What is more important than

religious ritual?

5.  Read verses 43-54. How did Jesus' humility contrast with the

attitude and goals of the Pharisees? (43-45) Why are religious

leaders responsible for the godlessness, injustice, and corruption

of society? (46-54)





Luke 11:29-54

Luke 11:42

"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your

mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you

neglect justice and the love of God. You should have

practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

In the last passage, we studied that Jesus healed a mute and

deaf man with the finger of God. Moreover, Jesus did his best to win

the crooked religious leaders' hearts over to God. Jesus said, "If

you believe that I drove out demons by the finger of God, then the

kingdom of God has come to you" (11:20). It meant that if you believe

in God you will be the members of God's kingdom. In today's passage,

Luke records Jesus' deep sorrow toward corrupt religious leaders.

First, Jesus rebukes miracle-seeking people (29-32).

We must remember Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to become a

ransom sacrifice for the sin of the world. But the crowd of people

did not leave him alone. Look at verse 29. "As the crowds increased,

Jesus said, 'This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous

sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.'"

Throughout the Bible history, God had given so many miraculous signs

to his people so that they might understand the heavenly things or

the spiritual things. But people had no idea about the spiritual

world. For example, just a few minutes before, Jesus healed a mute

man and enabled him to speak. But they completely ignored such a

miraculous sign through which one precious human being was able to

be normal and could have a promising future. They did not appreciate

God's deep compassion for one individual person who was once a mute

man. They had no compassion on the man who had been healed. They had

no thankful mind toward God who had cared for a mute man. Jesus also

cared for them and taught them the way to come to the kingdom of God.

But they didn't care about Jesus' healing and preaching. They were

only interested in miraculous signs. Jesus lamented over the

religious leaders' sign-seeking mentality and rebuked them in verse

29b. It says, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous

sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah."

Why did Jesus say that he can give them only the sign of Jonah?

It is because Jonah was a nationalistic prophet when he had to be a

universal prophet. As a result, he disobeyed God's word. God wanted

to send him to Nineveh, a Gentile nation, to proclaim the kingdom of

God so that they might repent their sins and come to God. When God

wanted to send him to Nineveh, the largest city of the time, Jonah

attempted to escape to Tarshish by boat. On the way to Tarshish, the

sea became turbulent and the sailors cast lots to find who was the

cause of the turbulence. The lot fell on Jonah. So no sooner had the

sailors thrown Jonah into the sea than a big whale swallowed him up

before he landed in the water.

Jonah was in the stomach of the whale for three days. He prayed

to God earnestly for his rescue. Then God let the whale vomit Jonah

on the seashore of Nineveh. He really didn't want to come to proclaim

the message of the kingdom of God to the people of Nineveh because

he was afraid that the people of Nineveh might repent and not perish.

But when Jonah unintentionally proclaimed the message of the kingdom

of God,  a most unlikely people received the message of the kingdom

of God and all came and repented in sackcloth. They received the

message of the kingdom of God.

Jesus told them Jonah's story in the hope that the religious

leaders of the time might also repent and proclaim the message of the

kingdom of God to people. Jesus also said to them that he would speak

only the story of Jonah to the religious leaders of the time, for the

religious leaders of the time were so wicked. They saw so many

miraculous signs but they did not believe. Instead they demanded

another miraculous sign again and again. In short, they did not

repent. They only wanted to realize their fabulous idealism through

Jesus' miracles. For example, once Jesus saw 5,000 hungry people and

fed them with five loaves and two fish to their fill. The next day,

they came to Jesus again. This time Jesus wanted to tell them about

the spiritual bread, not the physical bread. But they didn't want to

hear about the spiritual bread. When Jesus claimed that he was the

bread of life, some argued that Jesus must be a cannibal (Jn

6:52,53), and all left one by one and two by two until no one was

left except the twelve disciples.

In his deep grief for the religious leaders, Jesus told them a

story in the hope of drawing them to the word of God and proclaiming

the message of the kingdom of God. At the time of King Solomon, the

Queen of the South heard the wisdom of Solomon. She visited King

Solomon with a large amount of gifts and asked Solomon all the

questions she had in her mind. Solomon answered her questions

perfectly. Solomon, in his wisdom, expounded all the terrestrial

secrets. He also explained the first cause, harmony, and the

mysteries of nature. He also knew innumerable names of fish in the

sea. After listening to Solomon, the Queen of the South repented and

accepted a universal truth that God made the heavens and the earth

and everything in it. Jesus urged them to listen to the message of

the kingdom of God as had Jonah. Jesus urged them that they might

escape the judgment of God. We thank God that Jesus is so kind and

humble and lowly that he could rebuke the religious leaders to


Second, miraculous sign-seeking mentality.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:22, "Jews demand miraculous signs

and Greeks look for wisdom...." These two trends of the world brought

forth Hebraism and Hellenism. These two trends of world philosophy

had been flowing in world history. Both trends brought forth many

human ideas. These human ideas became the instruments of wicked men

for doing evil. It is because these trends helped people not to obey

the absolutes of God. Especially, sign-seeking people's mentality is

very wicked. For example, before going into the promised land, God

trained the people of Israel in the wilderness with daily bread

training. This training was designed to discipline them to eat three

meals a day regularly and depend on God only for their future

security. The training could have finished in 15 minutes if they

overcame their sinful nature and listened to the word of God. But

they really liked daily bread from heaven free of charge. They didn't

have to work. They had no future security problem. They didn't have

to send out many resumes to look for jobs. This daily bread training

was very necessary for their spiritual enlightenment and their

spiritual leadership for the people living in the promised land. But

this bread of heaven made them grow in slave mentality instead of

opening their spiritual eyes.

When we look at President Lyndon Johnson, he was desperate for

his re-election. So he passed around 200 kinds of welfare programs

in the hope of procuring poor people's votes. As a result, welfare

spending rose 25 times from $10.6 billion to $259 billion. Because

of the welfare system, the definition of poverty changed in this


Nikita Khrushchev, Secretary General of the Soviet Union, really

wanted to improve his nation's political climate. Before he rose to

power, mass murder and hard labor and oppression had been too severe.

When Khrushchev thought about the political climate of the Soviet

Union, it was not Marxism, but it was Leninism. He really wanted to

practice Marxism so that people might live in peace as well as in a

socialist republic. But when he once had a weekend vacation to the

Crimea in October 1964, the Presidium voted him out of office and

their decision was confirmed by the Central Committee the next day.

Nikita Khrushchev's idea to fulfill Marxism in the Soviet Union was

good. But it was nothing but a sign-seeking mentality in the climate

of the absolute totalitarian Leninist country. People with a sign-

seeking mentality do not care about the law of God, they only care

about how people see them. As a result, they abandon the law of God.

They become lawless people. They are lawless because they do not keep

the law of God. As we have experienced, lawlessness is the most

fearsome thing to human beings in the world.

Third, Jesus encourages people to have spiritual insight (33-36).

Look at verse 33. "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place

where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its

stand, so that those who come in may see the light." This verse tells

us that we must use the light properly and live in the light, not in

the darkness. Look at verse 34. "Your eye is the lamp of your body.

When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But

when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness." In this

verse, the light is compared to the light of men. If one cannot see

with his eyes, he is full of darkness and he cannot see anything. So

Jesus warned in verse 35. It says, "See to it, then, that the light

within you is not darkness." This allegorical verse is very simple.

If we have no spiritual insight to see man and the world, we are in

the darkness. On the other hand, if we study the Bible and receive

spiritual insight to see man and the world, we are full of light

(36). And we can see what's going on in the world with our spiritual

insight. We can see how we should help the flock of God in our


Fourth, Jesus rebukes corrupt religious leaders (37-54).

The religious leaders of the time were of two kinds. The first

was the Pharisees. The second was the Sadducees. The Pharisees were

ritualistic in worshiping God, and political in helping people. The

Sadducees did not care for people. They wanted money and fame and the

position of the high priestly office down through the generations.

In view of Bible history, they were chosen people. But in the time

of Jesus they were so corrupt that they did not deserve Jesus'

rebuking. If Jesus abandoned them like garbage, it would be very

proper treatment for them. But Jesus cried sorrowfully and urged them

to repent their sins and come back to God so as to take care of God's

flock of sheep.

Jesus rebukes them to practice justice and the love of God. They

were experts of ritualism in worshiping God. But they ignored the

holiness of God, that is, the justice of God. They also ignored the

love of God. So Jesus rebukes them not to neglect justice and the

love of God (42).

The servant of God must be humble and lowly like Jesus. The

servant of God must be a wonderful friend like Jesus. But the

Pharisees only wanted important seats in the synagogue and people's

admiration in the marketplace. So Jesus rebukes them, "Be humble and

lowly" (43). Jesus rebukes them because they are whitewashed tombs

(Mt 23:27b). Outside was beautiful. But inside was full of dead men's

bones and everything unclean. Jesus rebukes them so that they would

repent of their corruption due to greediness (44). In addition, they

were as proud as they could be.

Jesus also rebukes the experts in the law. While Jesus was

rebuking the Pharisees, they felt that Jesus was insulting them, too.

Then Jesus began to rebuke them, saying that they spoke well and

interpreted the law of God very well. But they abused their authority

and loaded people down with burdens. And they did not lift one finger

to help them (45-46).

Jesus rebukes the religious leaders that they had killed so many

prophets. Historically, the wicked religious leaders killed the

prophets. After killing them, they had beautiful funeral services and

made for them very beautiful tombs. Jesus rebukes them that they are

responsible for the blood of all prophets from Abel to Zechariah.

Good prophets taught the law of God and rebuked the leaders of

nations and they especially rebuked the religious leaders of God's

chosen people. It is surprising that Jesus did not rebuke politicians

of the times, but the religious leaders. Jesus thinks that the

corruption of the religious leaders is the cause of miseries of his


Jesus rebukes experts in the law because they interpret the law

of God pragmatically. They took away the righteousness of God and the

love of God and the sacrificial lives of God's people. In this way,

they led people not to keep the law of God. They did not have hope

in the kingdom of God. They wanted to live in this world permanently.

When they did not keep the law of God, they could not enter the

kingdom of God. More, they took away the key of the kingdom of God

from people. They were like Christian dispensationalists of these


We must live by the law of God. May God help us to do so.