Stand up for what is right notwithstanding the situation. When we stand up for the truth, people will always misunderstand or attack you. But to be a Christian is also to stand up for the truth, no matter the situation. This is when we are on the side of justice, love and fairness. This is what marks Jesus Christ out from the religious leaders of His time. He stands on the side of the poor, the marginalized and the suffering.
Jesus does not paint evil or tries to sugar coat it. He speaks up when the need arises and does not mind whose personality is offended. But the Pharisees and the lawyers are different, what they present to the people is not who they are.
One of the reasons evil is on the increase today is that many who supposed to speak out and use their positions to help the poor and the persecuted are keeping quiet. As a child of God, we do not allow evil to take the lead wherever we are. Our responsibility is to stand up against evil and stand for whatever is right.
In the gospel, Jesus pronounces three woes to the lawyers. He confronts them for placing burdens on the people but will never offer any helping hand to help them. They build tombs for the prophets who were killed by their ancestors. Thus, doing so is an approval of the evil deeds of their ancestors. So, Jesus accuses them of identifying with the sins of their fathers, since their fathers did the killing while they did the building.
By building the tombs, they seem to outwardly honour the prophets but inwardly they reject the message of Jesus and the prophets. Their opposition shows that their hearts are very far away from God. Thus, they will be held accountable for the blood of the innocent men of God killed because of their service to God. Examples are Abel (Genesis 4:8), and Zechariah ( 2 Chronicles 24:20-21).
We can possibly liken this to those times we do things only for public honour and not truly for the love we have for God. Jesus stands up against this life of hypocrisy.
The Third Woe
Jesus’ further indicted the lawyers of taking away the key of knowledge. They refuse to enter and also prevent others who want to enter to go in. This, in essence, means that the lawyers who are well vast in religious knowledge should have been a great asset for the salvation of the people, but instead, they overburden the people with their strict interpretation of the laws. They stayed away from the true knowledge of salvation; the teachings of Jesus and distort God’s words.
They do not want to accept the message of salvation and consequently try to prevent others from having access to it. A good example is what happened in Luke 13:14 when the leader of the synagogue is telling the people not to come to Jesus on the sabbath day so that He can heal them.
Jesus charges the lawyers for being out only to defend their reputations and consequently allowing themselves to become avenues for souls to go astray. This is in essence, total neglect of their true responsibility. In all these, we see Jesus’ willingness to stand up for what is right.
Always stand up for What is Right
One can derive many interpretations of this text but our major concern today is how Jesus did not mince words to stand against religious hypocrisy and injustice of His time. Today, we tend to keep our mouth mute because we do not want to offend anyone. Hence we allow evil to continue to rear its ugly head.
In many families, many do not want to speak up against an injustice done against the other person because it does not concern them. We keep our mouth shut allowing injustice and wickedness to reign even where we live.
Many who occupy some political positions today, keep their mouth shut even when they are certain, that evil is trying to envelop the country or the state. The reason is that it does not concern them. They may be gaining from the tide either, so there is no need to speak up.
Many of us today, close our eyes and watch bad things happen even in our very before but we keep our mouth shut because of fear. Let us always stand up for what is good, right, just and loving.
Like what happens today, the lawyers and Pharisees became so furious and angry after hearing Jesus. Whenever we stand up for what is right and just, people may challenge you. This may even come from those you trust. But in everything, let us not run away from our responsibility. A Christian is known by the good thing that he does not by what he claims to be.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to always stand up for what is right. May He also protect you in whatever you do. Amen.