The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
"You have taken away the key of knowledge"

Scripture:  Luke 11:47-54

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)


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 (c) 1999 Don Schwager