The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first
wash before dinner (Luke 11:38).
Read Luke 11:37-54
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. One
Sabbath He stops to teach in a synagogue. After the
service a Pharisee invites Him to share His morning meal.
Before they eat, the Pharisee and his other guests carefully
wash their hands, according to Jewish traditions. They
believe eating with unwashed hands would contaminate the
food which, in turn, made the body unclean in God's eyes.
It was time for Jesus to confront that error. Knowing all
humans are contaminated by the sinful nature they receive
from their parents and not from eating unclean food, Jesus
refuses to wash His hands. His host is astonished, but Jesus
refuses to back down.
He then starts blasting the traditions they trust to earn their
way to heaven. It may seem unwise for Jesus to turn up the
heat, but it is the greatest act of kindness anyone could do
for them. If they keep straining to wash a little uncleanness
from their hands, they will never let God remove the
uncleanness and sin from their hearts, minds and souls.
This brings a complaint from the scribes. When He attacks
the Pharisees, Jesus is really attacking the scribes, whose
traditions the Pharisees are following. Jesus turns the heat
up again. He accuses the scribes of burying God's gracious
Old Testament promises beneath their traditions, which
deceive people into relying on their own works rather than
God's free forgiveness as given through His Son, the Messiah.
The Pharisees and scribes strenuously object. They pressure
Him to speak on more things, lying in ambush, hoping He will
blurt out something carelessly.
Almighty God, Your Son Jesus made clear there is only one
way into Your presence, through faith in Him. Drive from my
heart and mind the lie that there are many ways. I pray in
Jesus' Name. Amen.
Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries