Luke 11:37-54: Defleecing Wolves
What is a shepherd to do when there are wolves? You might think that the right thing would be to kill the wolves and protect the sheep. When spiritual shepherds are dealing with spiritual wolves our tactics are slightly different. We have to confront the wolves hoping that the Spirit will use the truth to help them see and repent, we long to see the wolves themselves saved and become sheep, but we also have the responsibility of warning the sheep. In this next section as we come to the climax of Christ’s confrontation with the unbelieving crowd, Christ lovingly confronts the wolves, and warns the sheep. We see that Jesus confronts the Pharisees and the lawyers in v37-54, and then we see Him warning the sheep in 12:1. Jesus has been bumping heads with those in the crowd because of their unwillingness to believe, this portion suddenly gets very strong as Jesus is not merely confronting unbelief but the religious teachers of God’s people who have deceived, misled and been responsible for the condemnation of those who have followed their teaching. The gloves are off as Christ rips the sheep’s clothing off of the wolves exposing the true nature of their teachings, practices and spiritual condition. This portion is more than a true teacher angrily castigating false teachers, Jesus is speaking as a prophet as He speaks for God giving God’s perspective on their hearts, actions, and standing before Him. Jesus not only condemns the self-righteous but warns of future judgement and prophesies the fall of Jerusalem.
The NT warns time and time again that false teachers are going to try and creep in among us and they will be dressed in sheep’s clothing, and that we must be on alert. Jesus as a prophet and the best analyser of false teaching will highlight for us some of the typical characteristics of legalism which will help us guard our own hearts and spot wolves ourselves. So today I want you to think with me about Jesus’ analysis of false legalistic religion. Test the teaching of this pulpit, test your own hearts, test the teaching that you hear from other sectors. We will approach this section under two headings looking at Jesus exposing first the Pharisees and then the Lawyers/scribes.