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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball


The establishment felt threatened by the radical ideas that Jesus expressed.

He was alternative, not main stream, radical.

They felt he was a threat to the status quo.

They were right!

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.
But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
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. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
“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.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

Luke 11 v 37 – 46

Imagine this after-dinner speech: You look lovely and clean on the outside, but inside you are dirty, full of greed and wickedness. Woe to you!

Jesus is not trying to win friends and influence people

He is confronting men who tithe their herbs, but neglect justice.

Men who want to be honoured, to be given the most important seats, but don’t care about the people they are leading.

Religious hypocrites.

They are like unmarked graves which people walk over.

Such an insult!

Perhaps you remember Iraqis hitting pictures of Saddam Hossein with their shoes after his overthrow. Such an offensive action in Arab culture.

On another occasion, Jesus calls the Pharisees

whitewashed tombs,

full of dead men’s bones

brood of vipers

blind guides



These were the leaders who were meant to have the key to knowledge. They were meant to be generous to the poor and to help them, not add to their burdens.

In Judaism and Islam there are experts and teachers of the law, who interpret and explain the religious laws to the people.

One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
“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.”
When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.
LUKE 11 V 52 - 54

Where is the Jesus meek and mild -look upon this little child of the Sunday school hymns?

This is a man who hates hypocrisy and who is not afraid to challenge and confront it.

Jesus knew that purity and integrity flow from within. That the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. That we will be judged by our careless words, not by our rehearsed speeches, but by what slips out when we are off our guard.

Being radical means going to the root of something.

Jesus is not interested in our external lives, how we project ourselves to others.

He is interested in our internal, spiritual life. What we are really like at our core.

This is radical.

The message of God has always been radical. Read about Isaiah's message

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