Not All Graves Are In The Graveyard
Read Luke Chapter 11
Lk 11:39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside └ the dish┘ to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”
Jesus saved His most scathing criticisms for the Pharisees. In fact, He rarely criticized anyone else. Conversely, He always dealt with the humble repentant sinner with tender loving-kindness. That is a good thing for us, because we are among the neediest of all men and women. We easily recognize that we have no other source of righteousness than through our repentance and our trust in the righteousness of Christ. We should be extremely grateful that Christ does not look upon us in the same way He looked at the self-righteous Pharisees and other religious leaders of His day. But that will not be the focus of today’s thoughts.
Our emphasis today will be on verse 44. It has a lot to say about what is happening with “gay Christians” in today’s church. You see, the Pharisees believed that they knew the ways of the Lord and they believed that they were the only ones who could lead others to Him. The way Jesus described them in verse 44 is interesting. He described them as “unmarked graves.” Here is an OT scripture which helps us understand what Jesus was saying.
Nu 19:16 “Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. 18Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or someone who has been killed or someone who has died a natural death.
When an Israelite even touched a grave, he became unclean. The only way that he could remove his uncleanliness was to go through the ceremonial cleansing described above. By doing no more than walking across a grave, a man became unclean. That is interesting. Perhaps that is why even today it is considered a no-no to walk on a grave. I don’t know.
When Jesus called the Pharisees “unmarked graves,” in effect He was saying that men were unknowingly becoming unclean due to the false teachings of the Pharisees. The Israelites were following false leadership by walking across “unmarked graves.” If there were warning signs about the false teachings of the Pharisees, they would not have “walked across” their teachings.
Lk 11:52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
By now, you know where this lesson is going. In today’s world, there is an abundance of “unmarked graves” teaching men and women that they can know Jesus, be one of His followers, and still continue to live a gay life. Those who have listened to that kind of teaching are exactly like the unsuspecting Israelites of Jesus’ day. They do not know that they are unclean because of the false teachings they are receiving from false teachers.
Maybe you are wondering why this subject is so often covered in our devotions. The answer is simple. We must continually warn one another about those unmarked graves which are all about us today. We do not have to venture far to find men and women who will tell us we are mistaken. They will tell us that it is perfectly okay in God’s eyes to continue to live a gay lifestyle. We must remind ourselves and each other that there are graves out there, and we must never fall prey to their teachings. Let us hold firmly to the truth and let us put up grave markers so that others will not fall victim to false teachings.
Prayer: Father, do not allow us to walk across unmarked graves. Make us alert to Your truth, and stand firm in it. May Your Spirit keep us clean, and may You empower us to be the grave markers that men need to avoid false teachings.