Luke 11:46

ESV And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
NIV 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.
NASB But He said, 'Woe to you lawyers as well! For you load people with burdens that are hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
CSB Then he said, "Woe also to you experts in the law! You load people with burdens that are hard to carry, and yet you yourselves don't touch these burdens with one of your fingers.
NLT Yes,' said Jesus, 'what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.
KJV 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.

What does Luke 11:46 mean?

A lawyer, an expert in the Mosaic law and the extra-biblical Oral Law, has practically invited Jesus to express His true feelings about that profession (Luke 11:45). Jesus walks right through the open door of that opportunity.

Pharisees follow the Oral Law with an emphasis on public performance: seeking praise from other men. They then twist their tradition to feed their greed. But it is the lawyers—elsewhere called "scribes"—who wrote those regulations. God did not intend or author the Oral Law. Lawyers created it to try to keep the people in line so God would not send them into exile again.

As tiring as the Mosaic law seems to modern, non-Jewish cultures, it would have been simple to keep had the Jews trusted God. Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 spell out that, had the Israelites attempted to keep the Law, God would have blessed them to overflowing. The Oral Law, later written down and named the Mishnah, was far from simple.

When Peter later speaks about whether Gentile Jesus-followers should be required to obey the Jewish law, he will say, "Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" (Acts 15:10). It is the grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ that saves, not meticulous observance of rules.

There are some leaders today who do the same thing the scribes did. Any teaching that focuses on not making God angry, instead of obeying Him in response to His love, is not biblical. Any teaching that promises salvation through works, and not through grace and repentance, is a false gospel.

Jesus will revisit this accusation in the week before His crucifixion (Matthew 23:4).
What is the Gospel?
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