God’s Word of Wisdom
Luke 11:29-54: Today’s reading begins with a reference to the preaching of the prophet Jonah and the people of Nineveh turning away from their sins (see Jonah 3:1-10). The reading continues with a teaching on one’s life being filled with light and concludes with Jesus accusing the Pharisees and teachers of the Law of their hypocritical behavior.
The Demand for a Miracle
29 As the people crowded around Jesus, he went on to say, “How evil are the people of this day! They ask for a miracle, but none will be given them except the miracle of Jonah. 30 In the same way that the prophet Jonah was a sign for the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign for the people of this day. 31 On the Judgment Day the Queen of Sheba will stand up and accuse the people of today, because she traveled all the way from her country to listen to King Solomon’s wise teaching; and there is something here, I tell you, greater than Solomon. 32 On the Judgment Day the people of Nineveh will stand up and accuse you, because they turned from their sins when they heard Jonah preach; and I assure you that there is something here greater than Jonah!
The Light of the Body
(Matthew 5.15; 6.22,23)
33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a bowl; instead, it is put on the lampstand, so that people may see the light as they come in. 34Your eyes are like a lamp for the body. When your eyes are sound, your whole body is full of light; but when your eyes are no good, your whole body will be in darkness. 35Make certain, then, that the light in you is not darkness. 36If your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be bright all over, as when a lamp shines on you with its brightness.”
Jesus Accuses the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law
(Matthew 23.1-36; Mark 12.38-40)
37When Jesus finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and sat down to eat. 38The Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus had not washed before eating. 39So the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of your cup and plate, but inside you are full of violence and evil. 40Fools! Did not God, who made the outside, also make the inside? 41But give what is in your cups and plates to the poor, and everything will be ritually clean for you.
42 “How terrible for you Pharisees! You give to God one tenth of the seasoning herbs, such as mint and rue and all the other herbs, but you neglect justice and love for God. These you should practice, without neglecting the others.
43“How terrible for you Pharisees! You love the reserved seats in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. 44How terrible for you! You are like unmarked graves which people walk on without knowing it.”
45One of the teachers of the Law said to him, “Teacher, when you say this, you insult us too!”
46Jesus answered, “How terrible also for you teachers of the Law! You put onto people’s backs loads which are hard to carry, but you yourselves will not stretch out a finger to help them carry those loads. 47How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets—the very prophets your ancestors murdered. 48You yourselves admit, then, that you approve of what your ancestors did; they murdered the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49For this reason the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and messengers; they will kill some of them and persecute others.’ 50So the people of this time will be punished for the murder of all the prophets killed since the creation of the world, 51 from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the Holy Place. Yes, I tell you, the people of this time will be punished for them all!
52“How terrible for you teachers of the Law! You have kept the key that opens the door to the house of knowledge; you yourselves will not go in, and you stop those who are trying to go in!”
53When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to criticize him bitterly and ask him questions about many things, 54trying to lay traps for him and catch him saying something wrong.
Today’s Key Verse: Luke 11:36
[Jesus said:] “If your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be bright all over, as when a lamp shines on you with its brightness.”
When referring to Jonah as a “sign” to the people of Nineveh (verse 30), Jesus says he, too, will be a “sign” for the people. In what ways does Jesus serve as a “sign” for us today? Reread verses 33-36. What do you think it means for your whole body to be full of light?
Lord Jesus, you are a true sign from heaven, leading me in the way of truth and offering me salvation. Teach me to be a shining light that reflects your love. Amen.
Luke 12:1-21: Jesus warns against hypocrisy.