Building Tombs – (Luke 11)

In verse 29, Jesus tells the increasing crowd that ” this generation is an evil generation,” which seeks a sign. It is an evil generation because they have the Son of God in their midst, and they will, by and large, reject Him. He compares them to Nineveh, who repented because of Jonah’s preaching, and the Queen of Sheba who came from so far away to witness Solomon’s wisdom. They have one greater than both of those, yet they will not accept Him.

English: A dispute with the pharisees. Passeri...

English: A dispute with the pharisees. Passeri. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 4384. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section D. Jesus confronts uncleanness. Mark 1:21-45, 2:1-12, 5:1-20, 25-34, 7:24-30. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The only sign they will get is the sign of Jonah, He says. Jonah was in the belly of the “great fish” for 3 days, just as He will be in the tomb. But even this greater sign will not be enough for so many of them. It is in this context that Jesus tells them that the eye is the lamp of the body. Those who see the truth for what it is will have this light affecting their entire lives. Those who choose not to see the truth will have the darkness.

While Jesus was speaking to them, yet another Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. He was amazed that Jesus did not wash first. This was not a matter of hygiene to the Pharisees, but a ritual that they had dictated – and so it also was a rejection of the Pharisees’ authority. Jesus then chides them for cleaning the outside of their cups and dishes, yet inside themselves they are corrupt.

Jesus pronounces three “woes” on the Pharisees then. He says they tithe even the herbs they cook with, but they neglect justice and the love of God. It is their love of having the best seat in the synagogue, and their love for the honors bestowed on them by men that He condemns in the second woe. Then he says they are like unmarked graves that people walk over without knowing. Contact with a grave would make one ceremonially unclean. Yet people follow the teachings of these hypocrites, thinking that they are pleasing God, when they are actually being tainted by them.

The lawyers that He next pronounces woes upon are the Scribes. They are responsible for keeping the law (as the Pharisees see it), and for teaching it. Yet they push rabbinical laws that God does not command upon the people, while not holding themselves to the same standards. The statement that they build the tombs of the prophets that their fathers killed is not hard to understand, once we look at the next sentence. It says that they are witnesses, and they consent to the deeds of their fathers. They are witnesses to the very Messiah that the prophets died proclaiming, and by their rejection of Jesus, they “build the tombs” of those prophets that their fathers killed. The last woe refers to them taking away “the key of knowledge.” This refers to the knowledge of the Messiah. And though they do not enter the kingdom of God, they hinder others from entering in.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  

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