13 September 2015

posted 11 Sep 2015, 20:21 by C S Paul
13 September 2015

Scripture reading and Sermon

Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

5th. Sunday after Shunoyo - the Festival of the Assumptionir

Scripture Reading for this Sunday

    • Evening
    • Morning
    • Before Holy Qurbana
    • Holy Qurbana

Luke 11:33-41New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lamp of the Body

33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 

34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 

35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 

36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

Woe to the Pharisees and Lawyers

37 And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. 

38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 

40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 

41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.


Matthew Henry's Commentary on Luke Chapter 11:33-41

II. What is the sign that God expects from us for the evidencing of our faith, and that is the serious practice of that religion which we profess to believe, and a readiness to entertain all divine truths, when brought to us in their proper evidence. Now observe,

1. They had the light with all the advantage they could desire. For God, having lighted the candle of the gospel, did not put it in a secret place, or under a bushel; Christ did not preach in corners. The apostles were ordered to preach the gospel to every creature; and both Christ and his ministers, Wisdom and her maidens, cry in the chief places of concourse, v. 33. It is a great privilege that the light of the gospel is put on a candlestick, so that all that come in may see it, and may see by it where they are and whither they are going, and what is the true, and sure, and only way to happiness.

2. Having the light, their concern was to have the sight, or else to what purpose had they the light? Be the object ever so clear, if the organ be not right, we are never the better: The light of the body is the eye (v. 34), which receives the light of the candle when it is brought into the room. So the light of the soul is the understanding and judgment, and its power of discerning between good and evil, truth and falsehood. Now, according as this is, so the light of divine revelation is to us, and our benefit by it; it is a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.

(1.) If this eye of the soul be single, if it see clear, see things as they are, and judge impartially concerning them, if it aim at truth only, and seek it for its own sake, and have not any sinister by - looks and intentions, the whole body, that is, the whole soul, is full of light, it receives and entertains the gospel, which will bring along with it into the soul both knowledge and joy. This denotes the same thing with that of the good ground, receiving the word and understanding it. If our understanding admits the gospel in its full light, it fills the soul, and it has enough to fill it. And if the soul be thus filled with the light of the gospel, having no part dark, - if all its powers and faculties be subjected to the government and influence of the gospel, and none left unsanctified, - then the whole soul shall be full of light, full of holiness and comfort. It was darkness itself, but now light in the Lord, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light, v. 36. Note, The gospel will come into those souls whose doors and windows are thrown open to receive it; and where it comes it will bring light with it. But,

(2.) If the eye of the soul be evil, - if the judgment be bribed and biassed by the corrupt and vicious dispositions of the mind, by pride and envy, by the love of the world and sensual pleasures, - if the understanding be prejudiced against divine truths, and resolved not to admit them, though brought with ever so convincing an evidence, - it is no wonder that the whole body, the whole soul, should be full of darkness, v. 34. How can they have instruction, information, direction, or comfort, from the gospel, that wilfully shut their eyes against it? and what hope is there of such? what remedy for them? The inference hence therefore is, Take heed that the light which is in thee be not darkness, v. 35. Take heed that the eye of the mind be not blinded by partiality, and prejudice, and sinful aims. Be sincere in your enquiries after truth, and ready to receive it in the light, and love, and power of it; and not as the men of this generation to whom Christ preached, who never sincerely desired to know God's will, nor designed to do it, and therefore no wonder that they walked on in darkness, wandered endlessly, and perished eternally.

Christ here says many of those things to a Pharisee and his guests, in a private conversation at table, which he afterwards said in a public discourse in the temple (Matt. xxiii.); for what he said in public and private was of a piece. He would not say that in a corner which he durst not repeat and stand to in the great congregation; nor would he give those reproofs to any sort of sinners in general which he durst not apply to them in particular as he met with them; for he was, and is, the faithful Witness. Here is,

I. Christ's going to dine with a Pharisee that very civilly invited him to his house (v. 37); As he spoke, even while he was speaking, a certain Pharisee interrupted him with a request to him to come and dine with him, to come forthwith, for it was dinner-time. We are willing to hope that the Pharisee was so well pleased with his discourse that he was willing to show him respect, and desirous to have more of his company, and therefore gave him this invitation and bade him truly welcome; and yet we have some cause to suspect that it was with an ill design, to break off his discourse to the people, and to have an opportunity of ensnaring him and getting something out of him which might serve for matter of accusation or reproach, v. 53, 54. We know not the mind of this Pharisee; but, whatever it was, Christ knew it: if he meant ill, he shall know Christ does not fear him; if well, he shall know Christ is willing to do him good: so he went in, and sat down to meat. Note, Christ's disciples must learn of him to be conversable, and not morose. Though we have need to be cautious what company we keep, yet we need not be rigid, nor must we therefore go out of the world.

II. The offence which the Pharisee took at Christ, as those of that sort had sometimes done at the disciples of Christ, for not washing before dinner, v. 38. He wondered that a man of his sanctity, a prophet, a man of so much devotion, and such a strict conversation, should sit down to meat, and not first wash his hands, especially being newly come out of a mixed company, and there being in the Pharisee's dining-room, no doubt, all accommodations set ready for it, so that he need not fear being troublesome; and the Pharisee himself and all his guests, no doubt, washing, so that he could not be singular; what, and yet not wash? What harm had it been if he had washed? Was it not strictly commanded by the canons of their church? It was so, and therefore Christ would not do it, because he would witness against their assuming a power to impose that as a matter of religion which God commanded them not. The ceremonial law consisted in divers washings, but this was none of them, and therefore Christ would not practise it, no not in complaisance to the Pharisee who invited him, nor though he knew that offence would be taken at his omitting it.

III. The sharp reproof which Christ, upon this occasion, gave to the Pharisees, without begging pardon even of the Pharisee whose guest he now was; for we must not flatter our best friends in any evil thing.

1. He reproves them for placing religion so much in those instances of it which are only external, and fall under the eye of man, while those were not only postponed, but quite expunged, which respect the soul, and fall under the eye of God, v. 39, 40. Now observe here,

(1.) The absurdity they were guilty of: "You Pharisees make clean the outside only, you wash your hands with water, but do not wash your hearts from wickedness; these are full of covetousness and malice, covetousness of men's goods, and malice against good men." Those can never be reckoned cleanly servants that wash only the outside of the cup out of which their master drinks, or the platter out of which he eats, and take no care to make clean the inside, the filth of which immediately affects the meat or drink. The frame or temper of the mind in every religious service is as the inside of the cup and platter; the impurity of this infects the services, and therefore to keep ourselves free from scandalous enormities, and yet to live under the dominion of spiritual wickedness, is as great an affront to God as it would be for a servant to give the cup into his master's hand, clean wiped from all the dust on the outside, but within full of cobwebs and spiders. Ravening and wickedness, that is, reigning worldliness and reigning spitefulness, which men think they can find some cloak and cover for, are the dangerous damning sins of many who have made the outside of the cup clean from the more gross, and scandalous, and inexcusable sins of whoredom and drunkenness.

(2.) A particular instance of the absurdity of it: "Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? v. 40. Did not that God who in the law of Moses appointed divers ceremonial washings, with which you justify yourselves in these practices and impositions, appoint also that you should cleanse and purify your hearts? He who made laws for that which is without, did not he even in those laws further intend something within, and by other laws show how little he regarded the purifying of the flesh, and the putting away of the filth of that, if the heart be not made clean?" Or, it may have regard to God not only as a Lawgiver, but (which the words seem rather to import) as a Creator. Did not God, who made us these bodies (and they are fearfully and wonderfully made), make us these souls also, which are more fearfully and wonderfully made? Now, if he made both, he justly expects we should take care of both; and therefore not only wash the body, which he is the former of, and make the hands clean in honour of his work, but wash the spirit, which he is the Father of, and get the leprosy in the heart cleansed.

To this he subjoins a rule for making our creature-comforts clean to us (v. 41): "Instead of washing your hands before you go to meat, give alms of such things as you have" (ta enonta - of such things as are set before you, and present with you); "let the poor have their share out of them, and then all things are clean to you, and you may use them comfortably." Here is a plain allusion to the law of Moses, by which it was provided that certain portions of the increase of their land should be given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; and, when that was done, what was reserved for their own use was clean to them, and they could in faith pray for a blessing upon it, Deut. xxvi. 12-15. Then we can with comfort enjoy the gifts of God's bounty ourselves when we send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared, Neh. viii. 10. Job ate not his morsel alone, but the fatherless ate thereof, and so it was clean to him (Job xxxi. 17); clean, that is, permitted and allowed to be used, and then only can it be used comfortably. Note, What we have is not our own, unless God have his dues out of it; and it is by liberality to the poor that we clear up to ourselves our liberty to make use of our creature-comforts.


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