“Teacher,” said an expert in religious law, “you have insulted us, too, in what you just said.”
“Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden. What sorrow awaits you! For you build monuments for the prophets your own ancestors killed long ago. But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building the monuments! This is what God in his wisdom said about you: ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.’
“As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world— from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.
“What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”
As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.
…you crush people with unbearable religious demands, … you never lift a finger to ease the burden… from the murder of Abel… you remove the key to knowledge from the people…
Not much has changed. People leave ‘religion’ because they tire of trying to ‘be good.’ They are not taught the living principles of the Word, rather the rules and obligations. Those who teach, require only more and more of the people and do not offer assistance. The mind-set is one of the oppressor rather than teacher and savior. Abel, one who loved God and obeyed, is typical of all those killed or persecuted for following God’s Word rather than man’s word.
Unlike the dinners with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus was not asked for direction to the path to salvation, he was criticized for breaking a minor law of man’s making. This gave the opportunity to expose the distance from God the leaders had come with their reliance on laws and rules to provide salvation. A salvation that can only come from God.
Live right, do good to others, not judging others, only doing what the Spirit of God has placed in the hearts of His people. All who taught or shared the Word of God were despised or killed in favor of the keeping of man’s laws. What is our mind-set? Humanity-based or Bible-based? Do we seek our own agenda or God’s? Do we know what God’s is for us? Do we know where to find it? Spend time in His Word, learn His ways, listen for His voice rather than the voices of man. We do not want to be guilty of removing the key to knowledge from the people, being a hindrance that prevents others from entering the kingdom of God and keeps us out as well. Lift a finger to assist those who need the help, share only the Word of God, not the voice of man, listen for the voice of God…