As Christians, we should maintain a desire to serve the Lord. A problem arises because some people don’t know what that looks like. To effectively serve the Lord we must steer clear of what the Pharisees did.
I believe the Pharisees’ attitude hinged on the statement. “What you see is what you get,” because they acted “holy” when others were watching. Jesus, however, assured them that holiness begins on the inside and not just what others see.
Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness!” Luke 11:39
Upon a dinner invitation, Jesus went in and took his place at the table. His host was sure that Jesus had forgotten to do something first.
His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Luke 9:38
Do you think that Jesus forgot to do it? Absolutely not! He had a reason for everything He did or didn’t do. That day was no different. After He pointed out how dirty the Pharisees were on the inside, He said.
Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. Luke 9:40-41
Jesus used the example of giving to the poor because associating with someone “like that” was beneath them.
Jesus Said It the Way It Was
Then Jesus continued His summation against the Pharisees. Later he included the religious leaders as well.
In the final 12 verses of Luke 11, Jesus made this statement 6 times to the two groups. “What sorrow awaits you,” followed by these accusations.
- Ignored justice and the love of God
- Always sat in the seats of honor in the synagogues
- Were filled with hidden corruption
The experts in religious law:
- Crushed people with unbearable religious demands.
- Agreed with the killing of the prophets of old, done by their ancestors.
- Won’t enter God’s Kingdom and will prevent others from entering.
All six of those dealt with the external things they did to impress others. Jesus though wasn’t impressed at all.
What does it Look Like to Serve the Lord?
Jesus didn’t tell the Pharisees and religious leaders that day what it looked like to serve the Lord. He did, however, tell us.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Everything we do must be motivated by love. In a nutshell that includes, our worship of God and the way we serve one another.
Let me close with a word of advice. I know, free advice is usually worth what it costs. But here goes.
It was no secret, Jesus knew the hearts and motives of the Pharisees. In the same way, He also knows yours and mine, our hearts and motives as well.
Check out this related post called, How To Do Things God’s Way.
Lord, help us to daily search our hearts so our actions will be pure. And also our motives, to keep us from being self-serving.
Enjoy the entire story by reading Luke 11.
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