What does Luke 11:39 mean?
ESV: And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
NIV: Then the Lord said to him, 'Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
NASB: But the Lord said to him, 'Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish; but your inside is full of greed and wickedness.
CSB: But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and evil.
NLT: Then the Lord said to him, 'You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy — full of greed and wickedness!
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus accepts an invitation to dine with a Pharisees and other lawyers. Jesus immediately horrifies His host by not adhering to the extra-biblical rule of ceremonially washing hands before a meal (Luke 11:37–38). Jesus now responds.

This metaphor is particularly appropriate. The Pharisees rinse their hands before a meal, but their hearts are still darkened: unclean. Jesus' reference to "cleanse" and "clean" follow the Pharisees' ceremonial interpretation. If an unclean insect fell onto a cup or plate, no Pharisaical tradition-abiding Jew would just wipe off the outside. A wooden bowl would be thoroughly cleaned and a ceramic bowl would be broken and thrown away (Leviticus 11:32–33). Jesus implies that these Pharisees are more concerned about how they look—how they're perceived by others—than how they really are.

Jesus elaborates on His charge of "greed and wickedness" at other times. He warns the disciples that the "scribes"—the lawyers of the Pharisees—"devour widows' houses" (Luke 20:47). They value the money in the temple more than the temple itself (Matthew 23:16–22). And they keep money that should go to the care of their elderly parents by "promising" it to the temple (Mark 7:9–13).

This event is not found in the other Gospels, but Matthew records Jesus saying similar words to His disciples shortly before the crucifixion (Matthew 23:25–26).
Verse Context:
Luke 11:37–44 is a shocking indictment which completes the Pharisees' rejection of Jesus. They appear to be holy, but they are filled with spiritual death. Next, Jesus will turn to the lawyers who claim to follow the Mosaic law but are more faithful to the long tradition of persecuting God's prophets (Luke 11:45–52). While the lawyers and Pharisees attempt to destroy Jesus (Luke 11:53–54), He warns His disciples to stay strong in persecution, knowing the kingdom of God is near (Luke 12:1—13:9). Jesus will speak further about the scribes and Pharisees right before His crucifixion (Matthew 23).
Chapter Summary:
Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and explains God's intent to give "good" to those who ask. He then exorcizes a demon and refutes the claim that His power is satanic. Jesus explains that unreasonable skeptics will only see the "sign of Jonah." He then criticizes the superficial legalism of the Pharisees. In response, they plot against Him.
Chapter Context:
In what some scholars refer to as "The Travelogue to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51—19:27), Jesus prepares His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection and the establishment of the church. The description begins with Christ teaching the disciples how to spread the news of the kingdom of God and reaffirming how they will be blessed, culminating in the Lord's Prayer (Luke 9:51—11:13). Luke 11 finishes with accounts of leaders who reject Jesus. The remainder of the travelogue gives a pattern of teaching on the kingdom of God, miracles, and explanations of salvation. Then Jesus enters Jerusalem to face the cross.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 5/27/2024 11:44:19 PM
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