Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

Gospel Meditation

Luke 11:37–54

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Recite

the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and

yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage above and

the Bible passages listed under the title, “Scripture


1.    Pharisees, a religious party, not priests, and lawyers, also known as scribes, the professionals, these held enormous influence throughout Israel, and ruled over the synagogues.

2.    For a second time, a pharisee invites Jesus into his house for a meal. Jesus does not conform to the pharisee’s extra-biblical demands and so invites an attack on Himself.

3.    Jesus proceeds to mention three woes, or warnings, to the pharisee. The pharisees may be careful with their extreme rule keeping, but essentially, they miss the whole point of what is said in the Hebrew scripture.

4.    Following the three woes spoken to the pharisee, Jesus next turns to a one of the lawyers, or scribes, who must have also been at the meal. And Jesus issues three woes to this person as well.

5.    The pharisee and the lawyer lay upon the common person burdens that are difficult if not impossible to perform, while at the same time, do not observe such themselves.

6.    Jesus, out of His agape love for these religious persons, confronts them with their hypocrisy. Yet, their response is an ongoing effort to challenge and harass Jesus, “lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” (Verse 54)

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