Luke 11:41 – Woe to You
Opening Thoughts: Have you ever been in the situation where you have been invited over to someones house for dinner and there is ongoing friction between you? Is it hard to enjoy yourself or even keep your cool for that matter? Let’s see what Jesus does. For those of you who are reading in for the first time I will set a bit of a background to the text. Jesus was invited to one of the Pharisees homes to eat. However He quickly stirred up a hornets nest when he failed to follow the traditions of men by way of ceremonial hand washing. Jesus purposely stirred things up so that He could point out areas of hypocrisy, how’s that for a meal with Jesus? Once the ice has been broken Jesus begins to pronounce woes on them along with revealing their sin.
Luke 11:42 ESV – “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
Tithes: Tithing is one of those topics that usually makes me cringe a little. Tithing was first mentioned when Abraham gave Melchizedek a 10th of all the spoil after winning a victory over his enemies. Tithing became mandatory in the Mosaic Law in which the Levites and the Priests were to eat from that which was returned. If you continued to tithe blessing would come to you and your family, but failure to tithe would bring on curses. Jesus, as we know, did not come to abolish the LAW but instead He came to fulfill it’s legal requirements which include taking every curse of our lack of fulfillment of the law. He once and for all fulfilled the law freeing us from it’s legal hold. Now we are able to give freely not as slaves to the law but as bond servants to Christ.Tithing should not be compulsory for a New Testament Christian nor should it be done under threat of a curse, but should be offered to God as a gift of gratitude for the debt He paid not as a requirement for His approval, that is legalism to the core.
“But you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the Gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your liberality! There is no law to tell me what I should give my father on his birthday. There is no rule laid down in any law book to decide what present a husband should give to his wife, nor what token of affection we should bestow upon others whom we love. No, the gift must be a free one, or it has lost all its sweetness.” ~ Charles H Spurgeon
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Romans 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Near Sighted: Jesus wasn’t accusing the Pharisees of acting wrongly in their obligation to tithe under the Mosaic Law, for He said, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”. So what are the things that they neglected? Justice and love of God, they were so concerned with mechanical obedience that they left out the more important things.
1 John 3:17 ESV .. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
James 2:15-16 ESV .. If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Justice & Love: Our hearts should be so abandoned to Christ that our labor to Him is out of love, not obligation, but gratitude. If someone comes to your door and needs food and clothes and all you have left in the house is that 10 percent you had set aside for Sunday do you give them that money or do you send them away in need? Is giving to them not giving to God? The Pharisees even used the “God owns everything we have” line so they could get away with not helping their parents. If you religiously give 10 percent of your income to the Lord then lie to the homeless man on the street about not having money in your pocket, then you’ve missed the gospel somewhere along the way. Let’s be freed from the legal bonds of tithes percentages and let’s start giving like New Testament Christians in money, personal items, time and much more.
“God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep.” ~ Randy Alcorn
Preparing The Way