Woe unto you! for ye are as the tombs which appear not, and the men that walk over them know it not. And one of the lawyers answering saith unto him, Teacher, in saying this thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you lawyers also! for ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build their tombs. (Luke 11:44-48 ASV)
I know that Jesus was as serious as He could be. He had come to save us from our sin and He was heading to the cross to do it. There was nothing funny about it, but sometimes His interactions with people make me laugh. This is one of those times.
Here's the Leanna Paraphrase: Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You should be ashamed of yourselves. You're like dead men walking. You look great on the outside. All your good deeds and church attendance make people think you're alive, but you are dead on the inside. You're contaminating everyone you come in contact with." One of the lawyers who was there said, "Hey, Jesus. Watch it. You're reproaching us lawyers, too. You're talking about me!"
Even if I thought I was as bad as the Pharisee's (which I am), I'd never have admitted it in that company, never have risked Jesus shining His spotlight on my life. Of course, Jesus turned to the lawyer and said, "You're right. You lawyers should be ashamed of yourselves, too."
I laugh, and then I realize that I should be the one saying, "Hey, wait a minute, Jesus. You're talking about me!" It makes me want to cry, not laugh, because it's true.
I want to be the one that is most like Jesus. I want to clearly represent Christ to a lost and perishing world, yet I fail Him on a daily basis. Literally, I fail Jesus every day. Maybe you're saying, "Hey, wait a minute. Now you're talking about me!" That would be true. There is no one among us who is righteous. (Romans 6:23) All of us fail God on a regular basis. All of us sin.
Some of us are murderers with guns and knives. Some of us are murderers with our mouths. Some of us commit sexual sin with our bodies. Some of us commit sexual sin with our eyes and our minds. Whether our sin is overt or covert, it is still sin. Christ still died for it.
Jesus wasn't talking to the people in the jails or the nightclubs. He was talking to the "church people" when He said, "You should be ashamed of yourselves." He was talking about the people at my church. He was talking about me.
I find it easier to keep my sinful heart hidden rather than confess it and allow Him to make me clean. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Pharisees did, and, as I suspected, I am just like a Pharisee.
We will see in the next chapter of Luke that everything hidden will be revealed and it makes my heart sink. Is He saying that all the sin I have carefully hidden where no one can see, my critical, judgmental spirit, my pride and arrogance, my greed, covetousness, etc will be revealed? Yes, He is. If that is true (and it is) I would do well to leave no sin hidden. Then, there will be nothing to reveal.
Does that mean I might as well flaunt my sin for all to see? No. It means I can repent of my sin and relinquish it. That doesn't sound like fun, but a wonderful thing happens when we confess. 1 John 1:9 tells us that, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Whew! If I will confess it, He will clean every bit of my sin out of my life and forgive it all.
Why, then, do we continue to hang on to our sin? We like darkness more than light. We like sin more than righteousness. Crazy, but true, until I remember the great joy in having a heart that is clean and pure before God. In His presence is joy and I want it.
In the interest of a clean heart and the joy that comes from it, I confess my sins and repent. It's what we all must do if we don't want to be like the Pharisees. I'm like Paul - the worst of sinners, and you are, too, but there's good news.
I was shown mercy and, in the mercy shown to me, Christ has displayed His immense patience as an example to all. He was talking about me when He said, "She's the worst sinner of all, and I have forgiven her." He was talking about you and me.
So let's live our lives in such a way that the world will say, "Look how much He forgave. Look what God did in her, in him. I want that, too." It's amazing that, even in failure, our lives can be used to bring others to Christ.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NIV)