Luke Chapter 11 Prayer, Casting Out Demons, Sign of Jonah, and National Guilt of Israel

Jul 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Luke, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Luke Chapter 11 Prayer, Casting Out Demons, Sign of Jonah, and National Guilt of Israel

Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. John the Baptist’s disciples did not pray “Our Father” but “Almighty God,” “Jehovah,” etc., and the prayers were for repentance.

Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer. First comes a recognition of the Father, a hallowing of His name, and then an asking that the Kingdom will come, so that the Father’s will might be done on earth as it is now done in heaven. (We all pray it, but do we really understand what this means about the Kingdom on Earth, when God’s will shall be done here, just like it is done and always has been done in heaven?)

“Give us day by day our daily bread” is better translated in the King James margin: “Give us for the day our daily bread.” (both Spiritual and natural)

“Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” Matthew 6:12 is better: “Forgive us our debts [or trespasses], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us].” The same Greek word was translated “for” in one case and “as” in the other. “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” The thought is “Abandon us not in temptation.” Depending on the nature of the trial, the thought can be, “Deliver us from the evil one [Satan].”

Although the remainder of the Lord’s Prayer is spurious, the sentiment is correct. In John 14:13,14 and 15:16, Jesus said to ask in his name.

Luke 11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

Luke 11:6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

Jesus began with a hypothetical situation. One who had no food on hand went to a friend at midnight and asked for a loan of three loaves of bread for a visitor. Hospitality was a must in those days.

Luke 11:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

The friend refused and gave excuses.

Luke 11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

Jesus was saying that importunity would cause the friend to change his mind and give the three loaves of bread. Hence importunity is important in prayer—if the prayer is in harmony with God’s will.

An understanding of human nature is seen here. A person went to the house of a friend and made a request. At first, the request was refused because the friend was settled comfortably for the night with his children. (This could be the initial response in a real-life situation.) Eventually, however, the friend got up to help—his conscience bothered him.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Luke 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask, and it shall be given unto you.

Seek, and ye shall find.

Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

This is a true principle, generally speaking, but of course we must ask in harmony with the Lord’s will. If we know our request is according to His will, we should keep asking. The answer may be delayed to make us ask more and more, to test the sincerity of the prayer, or to develop more sincerity in the prayer and make it more in depth.

To ask, seek, and knock shows perseverance but also progression. Asking does not take as much effort as seeking, and seeking does not take as much effort as knocking. If we know the request is proper, we can increase the intensity of the asking. We can “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16).

Many do not pray, do not ask, even though they desire something proper. We should utilize the privilege of prayer. We are not to be discouraged if the first prayer request is not answered. As we importune and plead and progress in intensity of desire, we approach nearer and nearer to the answer or reward of that prayer.

Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

These verses are still related to the Lord’s Prayer in the beginning of the chapter. Notice the qualification: “IF A SON….” Only the consecrated have the real privilege of prayer, with a guarantee of being heard one way or the other.

Jesus used natural illustrations. If a son asked his father for bread, a fish, or an egg (small requests that are necessities), his father would not give him a stone, a scorpion, or a serpent. However, the higher lesson is of a “son” asking the Heavenly Father. These verses are an invitation to prayer.

The asking does not just pertain to spiritual things. We are living in a very affluent period of time, but many Christians down through the Gospel Age were concerned with getting daily food—the barest of food. Under those circumstances, it would not be amiss to ask for temporal necessities. But, on the other hand, if our chief desire is the Kingdom of heaven—if we seek that first—we are told the other things will be supplied. We can still ask, however, but we should be sure our thoughts are mainly along spiritual lines or our prayer may be inhibited.

Verse 13 raises the request to the higher level. “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (paraphrase). Those who hunger for spiritual things will be fed and get a good answer.

Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

Jesus cast out a devil of one made dumb by it. When the devil was cast out, the person spoke. Jesus’ subsequent sermon was based on this miracle. When he exorcised the invisible demon, the people could see a visible change in the person. On another occasion, Jesus said, “You cannot see the wind, but you know it exists by the effect it has on certain objects.”

Luke 11:15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

Luke 11:16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

The scribes and the Pharisees (other Gospels include them) ascribed evil motives and/or tempted Jesus concerning the miracle. Some accused him of using an occult power to cast out the demon, saying he possessed the chief of the demons (a more powerful evil spirit) in order to be able to cast out the demon possessing the man.

Luke 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

Jesus knew their thoughts. They must have been murmuring on the side, trying to disparage and contradict his influence—even though he did the miracle right before their eyes.

Luke 11:18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

Luke 11:19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

The exorcising of evil spirits was done by a few others in Israel (not frequently, though, or the  people would not have gone to Jesus). “By whom do your sons cast them out?” Jesus asked. (And this is true today—there can be legitimate exorcisms in Jesus’ name. However, we must know the circumstances in order to properly evaluate an exorcism.) The critics accused Jesus of using demon power but did not so accuse their own sons. In other words, they made allowances where it suited them. Jesus did many, many miracles, so for the scribes and Pharisees to react this way shows much envy over his popularity with the masses. How small was their thinking!

The power to make one dumb exists along both holy and unholy lines. Zacharias was struck dumb by God until John the Baptist was born and named. Ezekiel was made dumb and could speak only when the Holy Spirit caused him to do so. Therefore, we must evaluate each situation.

After witnessing such a miracle, the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign from heaven (verse 16). They wanted to see visual action, not just the effect of the miracle. In verses 17-26, Jesus answered his detractors (those accusing him of using Satan’s power as well as those wanting a sign).

Jesus said that Satan’s kingdom, a house, or even Satan himself cannot stand if divided against itself. He was saying that their logic was unreasonable, thoroughly inconsistent. What Satan does is to his own advantage. If he performs a miracle, it is to further his own cause, and such was not the case with the demon that was cast out. Satan hates Jesus, and the only way he would popularize Jesus would be if he got greater gain out of it for himself as a devil. Mark used statements, not questions, so his account is clearer that the reasoning of the scribes and Pharisees was fallacious.

“Beelzebub” means “lord of the flies [or bees or hornets],” all of which are annoying. A king of Egypt was called “the fly” and a king of Assyria “the bee” (Isa. 7:18). Supernatural power is needed to direct a horde of flies for a specific purpose. Satan is the “prince of the power of the  air” both spiritually and naturally, for Jesus had to rebuke the wind and the waves when they beat on the boat on Galilee.

At the time of the First Advent, many demons were cast out, and demon possession was generally recognized as such. Medical advances today have eliminated a number of diseases and weakened conditions that predisposed people in the past to demon possession. At present, demon possession is more prevalent in countries that are backward medically. Satan has the power of death; that is, he takes advantage of depraved desires of the flesh. The whole world lies in the Wicked One.

To assess the legitimacy of healings, we must know the circumstances. If done en masse, they are probably not legitimate. Also, if they honor an institution or an individual, they should be viewed with suspicion. Some who have given their minds over to Satan have received miraculous cures.

The lying signs and wonders (miracles) at the end of the age will honor the froglike, unclean spirits coming from the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. These “spirits” (doctrines) will be of demons. Overall, the lying miracles will advantage Satan and his cause.

Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Jesus said he was casting out devils with the “finger of God.” He was saying in effect, “I cannot be casting out devils with the finger of Satan. Your reasoning is wrong. Therefore, I have to be using the finger [or power] of God, and you are receiving a witness. The one who will head this Kingdom of God is before you, and you do not recognize him.”

The term “finger of God” is used in Exodus 8:19. When the magicians could no longer duplicate the plagues, they said of the fourth plague, “This is the finger of God,” meaning it was accomplished by God’s power.

Here in verse 20 Jesus used the expression “finger of God” to mean that the miracle he had just performed—his casting out the demon—was but a small example of what will be done in the Kingdom. Then the whole hand and arm of God will be used. He was saying, “This is only a small fragment of God’s power, a small sample of what can and will be done.”

“The kingdom of God is come upon you.” Another translation of the Greek is, “His royal majesty is in your midst.” Since Jesus will be the King of the coming Kingdom, verse 20 can be either left as it is or translated, “If I cast out devils with the power of God, then the King of God is come upon you.”

Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

In other words, “As long as Satan keeps his personal headquarters or capital in earth’s atmosphere, his goods are in peace.”

Luke 11:22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

Of course the “stronger” is Jesus. The fulfillment of this verse is future when Jesus will overcome Satan, take his armor, and divide his spoils. Satan’s “armour” would be his fellow associates (the fallen angels), his capabilities to do evil. His “spoils” are the people, the subjects underneath his control and influence.

Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

This verse is easier to understand if the order is reversed: “He that is against me is not with me.” Although Jesus was referring to the scribes and Pharisees, he also stated a general principle. Those making the accusation and those demanding a sign were against Jesus.

Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

This verse contains some literal truth. When an unclean spirit “is gone out of a man,” it walks through dry places, seeking rest. Finding none, it decides to return to the same man. When we consider the number of fallen demons and the number of those down here possessed with demons, there is a shortage of human contacts. (The “house” for a fallen angel is a human being he can possess.) A legion of demons was in one man. If there were enough human subjects, each demon would want his own house, his own puppet, completely at his disposal.

The exorcised unclean spirit’s difficulty in finding a subject is described as walking “through dry places.”

Luke 11:25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

Returning to the man from whom he was dispossessed, the unclean spirit found him “swept and garnished.”

Luke 11:26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Then the unclean spirit took seven even more wicked unclean spirits and entered into the same man. The man was now worse off than before the exorcism.

This principle applies to the consecrated too. If, through gross sin, the consecrated lose the Holy Spirit, they are worse off than prior to consecration, for they are specially targeted by the Adversary. How great is that darkness! (Compare verse 35 and Matthew 6:23.)

If a demon is cast out of a person and the person stays empty instead of becoming occupied with God’s Spirit, or power, the empty “house” is an invitation for evil spirits to enter. In fact, because of the weakness, the person is more liable for spirit possession and control than he was originally, that is, prior to any occult control. Stated another way, for a person who is the recipient of such a miracle, the contrast is so great that if he does not humble himself and consecrate to the Lord, he is more vulnerable to demon possession than he was before. It is like a person being healed, forgetting, and continuing to do evil. The individual is momentarily happy, “swept” clean of disease, but what does he do about it? Sinning against light after being delivered puts one in a worse state than when originally possessed.

We are reminded of the ten lepers, only one of whom came back to thank Jesus. If one who is healed does not have a very thankful heart, that is not a good indication of his character. How would the Kingdom make a difference to such an individual? His very destiny would be jeopardized.

Several lessons can be gleaned from verses 17-26, as follows:

1. The expression sometimes heard today that Satan is casting out Satan should not be used, for it is a misappropriation of the parable.

2. The exorcised individual is in danger if he does not drastically change his life.

3. Being schooled in the Law, the scribes and Pharisees considered themselves blessed to have more intelligence than the common people. However, their background and their positions of prestige and influence gave them a feeling of superiority. When they reacted unfavorably to truth manifested in Christ, their characters deteriorated. How hardly shall they escape damnation in the Kingdom Age!

Luke 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

This incident, which occurred on the same occasion, momentarily stopped Jesus’ sermon. A woman, moved by Jesus’ words, interrupted him and said enthusiastically, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” In other words, “What a wonderful mother you have!” But Jesus’ answer gave the proper perspective: “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Jesus’ words were a rebuke to those who heard the Word of God and criticized it.

Here is another example—at least the third—where the Scriptures refute Roman Catholicism’s worship of Mary. (1) When Jesus turned the water to wine at the marriage in Cana, he said to his mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (2) When Mary and his stepbrothers were outside and wanted to speak with him, he said, “My mother and brothers are those who do my Father’s will.”

Luke 11:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

Jesus continued his sermon. Earlier in the chapter when he cast a devil out of a man, we were informed that two classes of detractors witnessed the miracle. One class accused him of using Satan’s power (verse 15), and Jesus refuted that accusation. Now he began to refute the other class, that is, those who tempted him, asking for a sign from heaven (verse 16).

As Jesus discoursed in reply, more and more people congregated until they “were gathered thick together.” Then he said, “This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.”

To ask for a sign in itself was not wrong—if their hearts had been right and under other circumstances. After all, Israel was given to signs, and God granted many. Here, however, the motive was evil. The sincerity of the question was the determining factor. Sometimes people like to raise an inflammatory issue just to liven up a discussion, but that is a superficial reason and not a proper heart desire to know truth. Here the people had just seen a miracle performed, but they wanted a sign from heaven, something even more dramatic. Jesus would give no sign except the “sign of Jonas the prophet.”

Luke 11:30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

Jonah was on a ship in the Mediterranean when an unusually severe storm arose—in fact, so severe that those on board thought the ship would sink. They felt a guilty party in their midst was the cause of the storm. When Jonah confessed, they threw him overboard. The storm ceased and a “great fish” prepared by God swallowed him alive (Jonah 1:17). After parts of three days and nights, the “whale” regurgitated Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah had been told by God to go and preach repentance to the Ninevites, but he deliberately went in the opposite direction. He thought he had righteous indignation, for Nineveh was like Sodom and Gomorrah.)

Jonah was a type of Jesus. His experience in the belly of the whale prefigured what would happen to Jesus—that he would be buried for parts of three days and nights and then be resurrected. And within a year this very thing did happen to Jesus.

Luke 11:31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Luke 11:32 The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The “queen of the south” is the queen of Sheba, who traveled from Ethiopia, Upper Egypt, the “ut[ter]most parts of the [civilized] earth,” to Israel to see and hear about Solomon, whose fame had spread (1 Kings 10:1-8). When she returned, she said, “The half was not told me”; that is, Solomon’s wonders far exceeded the reports. This was Israel’s golden age.

Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was founded by Nimrod, “the mighty hunter before the LORD” (Gen. 10:9-11). “Nin” of the name Nineveh means “fish,” and the Ninevites worshipped the fish god. In history, God has pictured certain noble people as truly honorable. One of them was righteous Noah. But as so often happens, a great person can be idolized in time, and after Noah’s death, he came to be regarded as a god. “Nin” comes from “Nun” and “Noe” (Noah), who was saved in the Ark.

Jesus used two illustrations: the queen of Sheba and the Ninevites, who repented at Jonah’s teaching. The queen of Sheba may have been a little skeptical until she saw with her own eyes Solomon’s great wealth and wisdom. Jesus said that both the queen of the south and the men of Nineveh would “rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them [the Israelites who rejected Jesus, for in so doing, they rejected one greater than either Solomon or Jonah].”

What is the final point Jesus was making? Both Solomon and Jonah were types of Jesus and both were great, but Jesus was greater. Verse 31 about the Queen of Sheba emphasizes wisdom, and verse 32 regarding Jonah emphasizes repentance. If those who heard Jesus speak had truly recognized his wisdom through the proper heart condition, they would have repented. The Jewish nation at large rejected Jesus.

The repentance of the Ninevites was predicated on some groundwork by the Lord. Jonah, a lone individual, entered the city as a stranger and preached, “Repent! Repent!” However, prior to his entry into Nineveh, a report reached the inhabitants, who worshipped the fish god, that Jonah had been swallowed by a whale and three days later spewed out alive onto dry land.

Since Jonah’s experience fit their tradition about “Nun,” the fish, they thought he was a messenger from God.

Verses 31 and 32 prove that the dead will be resurrected, for Jesus said the Queen of Sheba and the Ninevites would rise up in judgment with the current generation, that is, the generation living at the time of the First Advent. Since the Queen of Sheba and the Ninevites had died centuries before, Jesus was indicating that all will be raised in the judgment period—yet future. The judgment of Jesus’ critics will be less favorable than the judgment of those who never heard him in person or saw his miracles. Lesson: There is responsibility for light received.

Luke 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

The purpose of a candle is to give light, so its light would not be covered. Neither should we hide our light.

The eye should be “single.” In other words, we should have the single goal or purpose of serving the Lord. The eye is a symbol of intelligence, but there is right and wrong intelligence.

We are to look for knowledge and understanding in the right direction. The Matthew account says that we cannot serve both God and mammon. If both eyes are focused on God, the eye will be “single”; that is, our primary goal will be to serve Him.

Luke 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

Luke 11:36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

Jesus equated these verses to the miracle he did in casting a demon out of a man (verse 14).

Jesus used the man as an object lesson, likening him to the body politic of Israel, the nation, the “generation” who was rejecting him. His work in cleansing lepers, healing the sick, raising the dead, preaching the gospel, etc., was like casting out demons in the nation of Israel. However, these works did not produce real repentance. When a person or nation is “swept and garnished” and nothing constructive of the Lord is put in place of the former sins, a problem is inevitable. The people saw great light but did not respond. Lesson: We should seek light (truth and understanding) and then take heed lest the light that is in us become darkness.

Luke 11:37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

Luke 11:38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Luke 11:40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Luke 11:43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

Luke 11:44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

As Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee who probably lived nearby invited him to dine. Jesus went to his house, and when he sat down to eat, the Pharisee was surprised that Jesus had not  washed before dinner. No doubt Jesus intentionally did not wash, and he knew exactly how his host would react, for washing was a religious ritual for the Pharisees. (Of course Jesus washed normally—but not hypocritically, not for show.) He deliberately ignored the custom in order to teach a lesson—and what a strong sermon he delivered! Jesus could read the Pharisee’s thoughts and could see the expression on his face. (Note: To be polite, we sometimes honor a custom, and this is proper as long as conscience is not violated.)

The host was a single Pharisee, but Jesus directed his remarks to the Pharisees (plural), to a class. He was saying, “You are just like the rest of the Pharisees. You clean the outside of the cup, but inwardly you are full of wickedness.” That was a powerful comment for a guest to make to the host.

Many have the wrong impression of Jesus. They do not realize that much of what he said was not gentle but strong. However, all of his words were constructive. If he punished with the tongue, the purpose was to awaken the individual to the wrong. Jesus gave logic, explaining what was wrong and what was right.

“Ye fools!” he called the Pharisees. Jesus’ sermons got more powerful as the time for his death neared. He knew the Pharisees would put him to death. When Stephen gave his sermon, the scribes and Pharisees were like ravening wolves wanting his death.

“Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?” God made the outward laws (such as eating only clean animals), but He also made the inner requirements of justice and love. Tithing was outward—outwardly pleasing—whereas love was from the inner heart.

The scribes and Pharisees ceremonially wiped off the outside of the cup with a light flick of a cloth, but the inside of the cup, which was more important, was not cleaned. Extending the lesson, Jesus was saying, “Man himself is a vessel. The inside of the vessel is the intent of the heart. A person can be outwardly clean but inwardly wicked.”

“Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The Pharisees were very exact on tiny matters but ignored alms for someone in need. The small mind concentrated on little things and passed by the weighty things of God, which are much more important. They strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel (Matt. 23:24). Jesus was saying that it was fine to be strict on small matters, but there were more important things.

“Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.” Paraphrased, “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for you love the best seats in the synagogue and homage in public.” They loved the adulation and inordinate respect they were getting. This was PRIDE. They should have been servants to the people instead of being exalted over them.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.” Paraphrased, “Woe unto you, hypocrites! You are hidden graves unseen by those who walk over them.” Jesus also called them “whited [seen] sepulchres” (Matt. 23:27). In other words, the Pharisees were rottenness, deterioration, and decay inwardly, and those they instructed were unaware.

Luke 11:45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

Luke 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Luke 11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

The lawyer walked right into the trap. He said, “Master, you reproach us also.” Then Jesus gave another powerful sermon. Paraphrased, “You lade men with grievous burdens but do not touch the burdens yourselves with even one of your fingers. Woe unto you! You build the graves of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.” The lawyers and their fathers were responsible for killing the prophets.

Jesus was saying, “The upper strata of society are, to a large extent, leeches.” What good they do is usually for self-aggrandizement. This is the story of mankind. Kings, for example, build “monuments” to self by oppressing the people.

Luke 11:48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

Accumulative guilt is passed down until the time comes for an explosion that cleans the slate.

When the judgment is due, it weighs heavily on those then living. However, when the responsible individuals come up in the resurrection, they will be held accountable for what they did willfully. Hence having the judgment at the end of the Gospel and Jewish ages does not mean those of other generations escape. They may escape judgment in the present life but not in the next. “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men[‘s sins] … follow after [with judgment occurring in the Kingdom]” (1 Tim. 5:24).

Luke 11:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Zacharias was John the Baptist’s father. He cannot be the usually referenced Zechariah, for that prophet lived too early and there would be a big gap in blood guilt up to Jesus’ day. Moreover, Zacharias was a priest, so he would be “between the altar and the temple.”

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Paraphrased, “Woe unto you lawyers! You take away the key of knowledge. You do not enter yourselves and you keep others from entering.” This verse shows the responsibility of leaders (lawyers, scribes, Pharisees, etc.). Not only were these leaders astray themselves, but they were leading others astray.

Jesus used the Pharisee and the lawyer as representatives of a class or culture. They tried to undermine Jesus’ teachings, yet they could perceive that he had a greater depth of teaching and understanding than they did. Rather than encourage those under them to seek Jesus for knowledge and help, they tried to stop the knowledge.

Luke 11:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

Luke 11:54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

Verse 53 reveals that other scribes and Pharisees were present at the dinner table. All were being addressed by Jesus. Now they were getting angry and wanted to trip him up, but he stayed under control and parried everything they said.

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