Daily D – Luke 11:53-54

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Daily D | 0 comments

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Luke 11:53, 54  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. (NLT)

Jesus irritated a lot of people. He didn’t play the games meant to keep him in his place. He didn’t accept ridiculous customs that did nothing but demonstrate a pretense of religious authority and piety. He didn’t say nice words when kind speech was more helpful. 

Results? People shouted at him. Leaders provoked him. Traps were laid for him. 

They nailed him to a cross and put him on display for everyone to see what happens to radicals who don’t play the game according to conventional rules. 

Reading these two verses reminds me of when Ronald Reagan was president. When he stepped away from a press conference or walked toward Marine One, Sam Donaldson and the other media hounds would shout pejorative questions at him. Reagan did what one of the penguins in the movie Madagascar advised: “Smile and wave, Boys. Smile and wave.”

Jesus didn’t smile and wave. He spoke the truth in love. He attempted to reset the Pharisees and teachers of the law to a stance of abiding relationship with God and away from ceremony and ritual that held little connection to God’s words of instruction. Where God wanted to be known and loved, they set up rules to enforce cultural norms that appeared religious but were incapable of connecting people to God’s grace, mercy, and compassion. 

Jesus never played Gotcha! While others used long division to keep things manageable, Jesus employed addition and multiplication to extend God’s grace even to the most unlikely recipients. 

If your religious practices lead to fewer and fewer adherents capable of measuring up to your standards, you might be doing it wrong.

I will err on the side of grace rather than the side of legalism.

Our Father, empower me to live a life of transforming grace. Teach me how to abide in your love that seeks the highest and best for everyone everywhere. Lead me far away from formulaic religious practices that build barriers rather than open entryways. Amen. 

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