37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 39 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. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” 45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” 46 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. 47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. 52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” 53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.
Jesus has just been teaching about letting God’s light reach into the darkest corner of our lives. One of the Pharisees invites him to eat a meal.
Jesus walks in and sits down to eat without doing the hand washing ceremony. It’s not that he’s forgotten. Jesus hasn’t finished teaching and he has a point to make.
His host is focused on a ceremony of cleaning, but Jesus has seen into his heart. He has invited all the ‘important’ people that he hopes to impress, all of whom probably had no lack of food, but there is no-one there who really needed feeding. Jesus leaves no doubt about what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.
So how do they respond?
One of the teachers sees the same problem
in his own life, but his response is not to repent – he’s insulted. The others become hostile, hoping to divert attention from their own failings by finding fault in Jesus.
How do I respond to having my faults exposed by God’s light shining into the dark corners of my life? Am I glad that a hidden sin has been revealed and can be dealt with? It’s often so easy to become defensive, to try to justify myself or to attack the one who has revealed me.
Lord, shine your light into my darkest corners. Find any sin lurking there. Thanks that you’ve already paid for it. Help me to get rid of it so that every corner of my life can happily receive your light.
Written by David Cornell