The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 45

The Ministry Continues ~ Part 9

We continue our study of The Ministry Continues, beginning in Luke 11:33-36.

The Light in You

Yeshua uses the imagery of light and darkness to teach about the Kingdom of God.

33 “No one who has kindled a lamp hides it or places it under a bowl; rather, he puts it on a stand so that those coming in may see its light. 34 The lamp of your body is the eye. When you have a ‘good eye,’ [that is when you are generous,] your whole body is full of light; but when you have an ‘evil eye,’ [when you are stingy,] your body is full of darkness. 35 So take care that the light in you is not darkness! 36 If, then, your whole body is filled with light, with no part dark, it will be wholly lighted, as when a brightly lit lamp shines on you.”  ~ Luke 11:33-36

The lamp of your body is a different metaphor from the one in v. 33. There the lamp speaks of the Word of God; here, the eye is the “lamp” – i.e., the source of light – for the body. Light and darkness are often used as metaphors for spiritual conditions. When you have an ‘evil eye,’ the problem is perception, not a lack of light. They did not need a sign; they needed hearts to believe the incredible display of divine power they had already seen.

Hypocrisy Condemned

37 As Yeshua spoke, a Parush asked Him to eat dinner with him; so He went in and took His place at the table; 38 and the Parush was surprised that He didn’t begin by doing n’tilat yadayim [1] before the meal. 39 However, the Lord said to him, “Now then, you P’rushim, you clean the outside of the cup and plate; but inside, you are full of robbery and wickedness.

You clean the outside of the cup and plate. Yeshua contrasts external purity (proper behavior) with internal cleansing (transformation of the heart).

40 Fools! Didn’t the One who made the outside make the inside too? 41 Rather, give as alms what is inside, and then everything will be clean for you! 42 “But woe to you, P’rushim! You pay your tithes of mint and rue and every garden herb, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You have an obligation to do these things—but without disregarding the others!

Mint and rue and every garden herb as examples of tithing illustrate the P’rushim meticulous attention to the minor details of the law of Moses. You ignore justice, and the love of God echoes the two greatest commandments (Luke 10:27–28) and the teaching of the prophets (e.g., Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3; Zachariah 7:9–10; Micha 6:8).

43 “Woe to you, P’rushim, because you love the best seat in the synagogues and being greeted deferentially in the marketplaces! 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”  ~ Luke 11:37-44

Unmarked graves are a metaphor for the Pharisees’ pious appearances, which disguised their inner wickedness (compare Luke 11:39). When graves were not appropriately marked, people could walk over them and potentially become ritually unclean.

In our next post, we will pick back up in Luke 11:45. We will continue in Luke until we finish the topic of The Ministry Continues.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Ceremonial handwashing prescribed by the Oral Torah to be done before meals and at other times to be ritually pure; it continues to be a norm in Orthodox Judaism. (CJB)

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