In today’s text, Jesus meets with a group of very religious people for lunch and rebukes them harshly. In this encounter, we learn some important lessons about God’s attitude towards false religion. Of all the sins one can commit, possibly the most heinous is the sin of false religion. False religion not only misrepresents God but also turns people from keeping the greatest commandments of loving God and loving people. How can you love God if you have a false view of Him? How can you please God if you have been given the wrong information concerning what pleases Him? How can you get to heaven if you are following the wrong road map?
One of the last verses of today’s texts gives special insight into the damage false religious leaders cause.
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”” (Luke 11:52, NKJV)
These Lawyers were actually experts in Jewish religious law. (They were also called “scribes”) They were a branch of the Pharisees that interpreted and established Jewish theology.
Jesus declared a scathing condemnation against these religious leaders for three reasons in one verse (V:52)…
1.) They had “taken away the key of knowledge”. Meaning, their false interpretation of God’s word had actually hidden the true meaning of the scriptures from the people. Instead of teaching the truths of God they locked the truth up and threw away the key.
2.) They, “did not enter in themselves”. Meaning, they were supposed to show people the way to enter the kingdom of God, and yet they themselves have not entered in.
3.) “Those who were entering in they hindered” – Meaning, false religious leaders are not merely incorrect, but they mislead others who desire to enter into God’s Kingdom with misinformation and misdirection. The result of their work is actually hindering or preventing people from knowing God and serving Him.
All this is remedied in the New Covenant promised by God through Jesus Christ.
… “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”” (Hebrews 8:8–12, NKJV)
Let’s search our hearts to make sure we are following God’s true way through being born again into His new covenant through Jesus Christ.