Prayer: Save us, O Lord, while we are awake and guard us while we are sleeping... that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in Your peace. Amen. #605 Oxford Book of Prayer.
Read St. Luke 11: 37 – 41
This portion of scripture from verse 37 to the end of Chapter 11 are teachings concerning right living of the Pharisees. Each of the teachings by Jesus begin with the words “Woe to you”. There are six Woes which we will look at each day this week.
The Woes begin when a Pharisee invites Jesus to his house for a meal. That in itself is amazing. On the whole, the Pharisees were hesitant about Jesus’ teaching. Yet here is one Pharisee that has provided Jesus with hospitality.
The Pharisee is surprised when Jesus does not wash his hands before the meal. This was standard Jewish law. Washing one’s hands before the meal was not only for hygienic purposes but also part of the elaborate laws kept by the Pharisees. It was expected.
Pharisees were the group of people who kept the law well beyond the law. They had laws for governing the laws of Moses. They thought this was the best way to follow in God’s path. In answer to the Pharisees question of why Jesus didn’t wash his hands, Jesus gives an example of what really keeps a person religiously clean. Jesus compares the Pharisees love to God and keeping the laws to keeping the outside of the cup and plate clean but the inside is dirty. The Pharisees keep the law outwardly so everyone can see them keeping the law, but inwardly…. inside their hearts and souls and minds the Pharisees are greedy and wicked. Wow! This is a powerful statement to make when you are in the home of a Pharisee. Jesus states to the Pharisee that he should give what is inside the dish to the poor.
This seems extremely harsh doesn’t it. The Pharisee invites Jesus to his home and all he gets is blasted by Jesus for not living within the love of God. But perhaps we also need to reflect why the Pharisee invited Jesus to his house in the first place. Was the hospitality one of kindness or was it one where the Pharisee was going to teach Jesus all that he was doing wrong. Something to reflect upon.
Prayer: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the garment of Your light. May our inward thoughts and our outward actions this day be acceptable in Your sight. O Lord our maker. Amen.