Luke 11:37–44

Read the passage.

While Jesus was talking about giving light to your whole body through your eyes, He gets a chance to show how this works out practically in a person’s life. A Pharisee asks Him to dine, and there are other guests too, as we shall see. Now, Jesus doesn’t wash His hands before dinner, and this astonishes the Pharisee, but not because Jesus’s hands were dirty. At least, they didn’t appear dirty, but the Pharisees ritually wash to remove the uncleanness they may have gotten from touching something unclean, so that the food won’t become unclean, so their insides won’t become unclean.

Jesus lambastes them by letting know that their insides are already unclean. They have wicked, greedy hearts, even though their outward actions appear holy. They tithe even the tiny herbs from their gardens in accordance with the Law of Moses, but they corrupt justice and don’t love God. Instead they live for the praise of man and the comforts of this life. He compares them to unmarked graves, which make people unclean when they walk over them, even without knowing it.

The Pharisees had missed the whole point of the Law. Tithing isn’t meant to be a bean-counting exercise, to make sure you are giving precisely 10 percent to God. It’s about thanking God for giving you what you do have, providing for the needs of the priests who spent their time serving God and the people instead of farming, and trusting God to provide enough for you and your family even after you have given some away. The ritual purity laws were to show that God is holy and that we can’t help but be defiled. The civil laws were to protect the weak from the wickedness of the strong, and promote justice and mercy among all the people. The Pharisees made the means into an end, and neglected the end in their own lives.

Reveal the wickedness in our own hearts where we do not follow Your laws, and help us repent and turn back to You.

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