Read Luke Chapter 11
Luke turns his attention to internal matters as he records the things Jesus taught. We learn that God is a benevolent God who wants to hear from us and is delighted to answer our prayers. It is a little disheartening, in the light of Jesus’ resistance to the religious spirit, that today we see countless Christians all over the world reciting what we call the Lords Prayer; it was always meant to be a framework for prayer, not a prayer in and of itself.
Luke 11:9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.“
The Pharisees gravely insult Jesus by basically suggesting that he works for Satan. In fact Jesus casts them out by the ‘finger of God’ and as such shows Himself as the strongman, since He is stronger than those, ie the demons, who are defending themselves.
Moreover, Jesus now turns the tables and illustrates (11:24-26) that the nation of Israel had been given a new start following the exile, but had not kept with the Lord the way they should have and became full of well ordered, but empty religion. This is also an illustration that turning over a new leaf will not cut it, you must be fully transformed by the forgiveness of your sins through the blood of the Cross (Colossians 1:13-20), thus having the Spirit of God living in you (Ephesians 1:13-14), helping you to live and grow in the Lord. Therefore:
Luke 1:28 “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
We are not blessed by outward things but inward, like obeying the Word of God. Jonah’s warning to the Ninevites was received, obeyed and they were blessed and avoided God’s wrath upon them. The Pharisees asked for a sign, but this warning was relayed to them by Jesus’ reminding them of the account of Jonah, that they too must turn/repent or face God’s wrath. For those who do repent, the inner life is represented by the transformed life through internal changes, these changes cannot be hidden and indeed, why would you want them to be.
Luke 11:36 “If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”
When Jesus was criticised for not washing his hands before His meal, He used it as a teachable moment to make judgement upon the Pharisees and Lawyers on their tendency to worry about outward appearances, after all it is from within that outward changes are made. Offended the Pharisees and the Lawyers were not happy with Jesus direct rebuke: He attacked their disregard for justice; their pride; their misleading of the people; placing of law burdens upon the people and the killing of God’s true prophets. A harsh but fair judgement! If His previous rebukes caused them to plot against Him, these would certainly do so.
Luke 11:54 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”
Our inner life is vital. Trying to make ourselves righteous by own efforts will achieve nothing. We are changed from the inside out by having Christ by His Spirit live within us.