Woe! Really?

I cringe when I read the “woes” Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and lawyers in Luke 11. Take, for example, when He says, “But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the other” (Luke‬ ‭11:42‬ ‭HCSB‬‬). These Pharisees did a good job of putting their religiosity on display. They faithfully obeyed the “tithing law” with their material possessions, but they did not provide justice to the downtrodden nor did they love God.

Jesus went to on to pronounce the following woe on the experts in the law, “Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in” (Luke‬ ‭11:52‬). These men had everything necessary to help everyone know and practice true worship, but they distorted it (or kept it to themselves) so the people were kept in darkness. But why was Jesus so harsh on these leaders? It makes me uncomfortable to hear how sharply He rebuked them. Continue reading