Woe To Us?

September 24, 2007

Last night, in the second half of a sermon on Luke 11:29-54, I considered with our congregation why Jesus sometimes says ‘woe’ to leaders. The context, you remember, is Jesus confrontation of the Pharisees and biblical law experts. For the sake of simplicity, I boiled down the reason for Jesus’ grief (‘woe’ is a deep groan of lament) to the following four problems.

– their hearts are impure (v 39-42)
(“God wants clean hands and pure hearts. But often it is much easier for busy leaders to keep their hands clean than their hearts clean”)

– their heads are puffed up (v 43)
(“It is a sober and necessary task for every leader to periodically ask ourselves the simple question: are there evidences of pride in my leadership?”)

– their words are deadly (v 44-46, 52)
(“Its one of the worst things, isn’t it, about a church who’s minister is unsaved. Its bad enough enough that he himself isn’t a Christian. But what hope for his congregation when he does not preach the gospel?”)

– their wills oppose Jesus (v 47-51, 53-54)
(“Is this not the epitome of woeful and wicked leadership, when it comes to the point where we outright oppose the person of Christ?”)

This was a particular challenge to myself as a leader. Listen to the whole sermon here.


One comment

  1. I have found that “woe” doesn’t resonate terribly well with a twenty-first century audience (particularly younger people) and have begun to use the word, “doom,” instead!

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