Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Woe unto You..

After breakfast today, I was reading in Luke 11 and noticed the passage where Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in verses 43-44. This part of the chapter I have been familiar with for a long time, and in reading it, I became like the Pharisee who scorned the publican-smug, prideful, full of the oh yeah, that applies to "_____." and "__ " should get to reading it fast. I kept reading and things changed.
It is verse 45 when a lawyer speaks up to say: Master, your saying this to the Pharisees reproaches us also. If I had stopped reading there, I could have come out unscathed. In fact, the lawyer's observation only further resolved my awful pride. You see, my take on it was, how nice of the lawyer to point out to the Lord of creation and truth, the truth. Lawyers, as a rule, fancy being available to all for clarifying the obvious. It is what we do.
What happens next falls into the category of the hard sayings of Jesus. Like a pugilist waiting for his opponents guard to drop, Jesus dealt the lawyer an effective punch in the solar plexus:
Woe unto you also ye lawyers! For ye load men with
burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. .... and in verse 52 he concludes: Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in, ye hindered.

So much for the lawyer being praised for the helpful recap of Jesus' rebuke. Sobered, I got up from the table to drown my pride in strong coffee, shaking my head that Jesus reprimand and merciful entreaty, though death to me in the flesh, is life eternal.

How many times have I looked across counsel table to the Court, a witness, or an adversary and wielded the man-wrought law to suit my purpose, knowing full well I was burdening them all for my gain, or for my position's gain, and not the truth?

Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner; you dismissed the case against me as you endured my woe.

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