What does Luke 11:43 mean?
ESV: Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
NIV: Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
NASB: Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the seat of honor in the synagogues and personal greetings in the marketplaces.
CSB: "Woe to you Pharisees! You love the front seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
NLT: What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces.
KJV: Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
NKJV: Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has been judged by His host for not rinsing His hands before He eats. The Pharisees do this when they follow the Oral Law. What follows are strong words about how the Pharisees value outward displays of piety and honor from the public more than pure hearts and justice (Luke 11:37–42).

Luke 11 includes several stories of how the Jewish religious leaders reject Jesus. Even though He has already healed the blind, deaf, and mute—healings specifically related to the Messiah in Isaiah 35:5–6 (Luke 7:21–22; 11:14–23; Matthew 12:22–24)—some of the scribes and Pharisees demand even more miraculous signs from Him.

Here, we see another way their thinking is twisted. What they value most is the praise of men. The Pharisees "do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long" (Matthew 23:5). The disciples are to obey and serve quietly, with no fanfare, so their reward will be from God, not on-lookers (Matthew 6:1–4).

These religious leaders like being the main act in a religious "show." They like to see flashy miracles though they don't trust the power behind them (Luke 11:14–16). It's stunning to think they watched Jesus cast out a demon, then called Him unclean because He didn't rinse off His hands before He eats.

It is possible to have a good, godly reputation and be respected in both church and in the community, while remaining humble. We can obey God and do good while keeping a "broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17). We must remember that everything good in us is from Jesus (James 1:17). We deserve neither the good He gives us nor the good He puts in us. It should not be our goal to win adoration for what Jesus has done for us but to serve others in His name and to His glory.

Matthew 23:6–7 also records Jesus condemning the Pharisees' hypocrisy at a later event.
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 5/28/2024 6:31:05 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.