47 Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,' 50 that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechari'ah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." 53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard, and to provoke him to speak of many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch at something he might say.
Meditation: Do you honor those who speak the wisdom of God and
do you heed their message? God's Wisdom is personified in the voice
of the prophets, a voice that always brought rejection and martyrdom because
they spoke for God. Jesus chastised the religious leaders of his
day for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which
they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets
by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed their message
and closed their ears to the word of God.
What does Jesus mean when he says they have taken away the key of knowledge? The lawyers and scribes held the "office of the keys" since they were the official interpreters of the scriptures. Their interpretation of the scriptures was so distorted and difficult to understand that others were "shut off" to the scriptures. They not only shut themselves to heaven; they also hindered others from understanding God's word. Through pride and envy, they rejected not only the prophets of old, but God's final prophet, Jesus. Jesus is the "key of David" (see Isaiah 22:22; Rev. 3:7) who opens heaven to those who accept him as Lord and Savior. He is the "Wisdom of God" and source of everlasting life Only the humble of heart — those who submit to God and acknowledge they dependence on him -- can receive this wisdom. God is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us wisdom and understanding. Do you hunger for the wisdom which comes from above?
"Govern all by your wisdom, O Lord, so that my soul may always be serving
you as you will, and not as I may choose. Do not punish me, I beseech
you, by granting that which I wish or ask, if it offends your love, which
would always live in me. Let me die to myself that so I may serve
you; let me live to you, who in yourself are the true life. " (prayer
of Theresa of Avila, 1515-82)