The Gospel of Luke: Jesus is for everyone – Jesus confronts religious legalism
Jesus was offensive to the Pharisee and the other guests. What was so wrong with their beliefs and practices?
- True purity is not separation, but solidarity – Jesus not washing was a religious cleansing issue and not about hygiene. Ritual washing cleansed you from the world around you. It separated you from others. Jesus said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus defined true purity as being generous to the poor. Jesus did not separate Himself from sinners, He was known as the friend of sinners. We should not separate ourselves from the world, but making a difference for God in society.
- True love for God is not about religious duty, but passion for God and justice – the Pharisees were strict to the extreme about their tithing. Jesus doesn’t criticise their tithing. He says religion and legalism should not be a substitute for loving God and having a passion for Gid and a passion for justice. We should love God with everything (Matthew 22:37).
- True leadership is not about show, but about humility – True faith is about serving and not being served. Jesus is saying that their love for self importance and being seen as super spiritual was making others unclean.
- True faith is not about legalism, but about freedom – The legal experts were putting up barriers for ordinary people approaching God. The only barrier to being a Christian should only be the offence if the cross. Nothing should be a barrier to people receiving Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
- True religion is not about worshipping the past, but about the present – The Pharisees were honouring the very prophets their ancestors had rejected and were rejecting the Messiah that the prophets had prophecies about. We need to be serving Jesus in society today.
- True spiritual knowledge should not be locked away, but released – Jesus was saying the Pharisees and experts in the Law had locked away the knowledge of God. They were hindering people from finding God. Are we a bad or good witness for Jesus? Are we helping or hindering people from finding God?