Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Luke 11:45-46 (ESV)
45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
It is difficult to overstate how critical Jesus was of the religious leaders of his time. They had taken God’s instructions, which were meant to lead people into life, and used them to judge people and beat them down. Here Jesus confronts the “lawyers.” These were not lawyers in our modern sense. They were people who were experts on the “oral” religious law. These were laws that were not in the Bible, but were believed to have been spoken to Moses and handed down by memory over the years. They were meant to guide people on matters that the Bible didn’t cover. For instance, they had a rule about how many steps a person was permitted to walk on the Sabbath day. By Jesus’ time, they had made so many rules it was very difficult for most people to fulfill them. In many cases, it was expensive to do these things, and impossible for people in certain professions (like shepherds). That meant that only the privileged few could “keep” the commands. In what way do you feel burdened by the expectations of people who think they are important, but who refuse to help? Run to Jesus, and let him carry the burden of judgment.