What does Luke 11:46 mean?
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.
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
Luke 11:45–52 comes after descriptions of the cruelty and pride of the Pharisees (Luke 11:39–44). Now, Jesus turns to the lawyers—the experts in the Mosaic law. Greed and wickedness revealed the Pharisees to be like tombs: clean on the outside and filled with death on the inside. The lawyers are said to fill tombs by rejecting God's prophets. In response, the scribes and Pharisees conspire to destroy Jesus (Luke 11:53–54). In the next section, Jesus gives His disciples instructions on how to reject the world and persevere for the sake of the kingdom of God (Luke 12:1—13:9). Jesus will cover this judgment again in 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 4/17/2024 8:31:30 PM
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