One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 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. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” Luke 11:45-52
In today’s verses we see that the lawyers took offense to what Jesus said about the Pharisees. Jesus did not hold back as he told them that they “you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” To really understand this, one needs to read some sections of one of the Talmuds. The lawyers and Pharisees had put so much man made rules around God’s law that what God wanted from His people was lost. Their intentions were good as they thought that is we put layers upon layers over God’s law than is someone breaks the man-made rules they still have not broken God’s law. They problem is that these man made rules became more important than God’s Law and it put extra burdens on the people.
One example I read in the Babylonian Talmud the described what a woman had to do to make sure there was no leaven, yeast, in her house in preparation for Passover went on for 10 pages, “TRACT PESACHIM (PASSOVER). CHAPTER I. REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE REMOVAL OF LEAVEN FROM THE HOUSE ON THE EVE OF PASSOVER AND THE EXACT TIME WHEN THIS MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED.” Jewish scholars argued as to what constituted clean enough and how small could one leave a spot of yeast or crumb of bread and still be sure the home was clean enough to bake the unleavened bread. What God told the Israelites was that they were to bake bread without adding leavening.
What God wanted to be done and what the man made law required to be done were totally different. Yes the laws made sure that no yeast was present but it put too many burdens on the people that God did not intend. The lawyers and Pharisees were turning God’s Law into a check off list of what to do to be in God’s good graces.
We need to ask ourselves what obstacles we are putting in front of others that burden their walk with the Lord. When we let manmade rules overshadow God and the path to salvation we are playing the role of the lawyers and Pharisees. Jesus told the disciples not the hinder the little children in coming to Him. Since we are all God’s children let’s not hinder each other.
Have a blessed day,