Skip to main content

Luke 11:44-46 meaning...

These verses capture a stern rebuke from Jesus to the scribes, Pharisees, and lawyers, exposing their hypocrisy and the burden they place on others without offering genuine assistance. This passage is part of a series of woes pronounced by Jesus against the religious leaders, revealing the heart of his critique against their outward piety and inward corruption. 

In the preceding verses of Luke 11, Jesus addresses the Pharisees and scribes, highlighting their hypocrisy and spiritual blindness. The woes pronounced by Jesus serve as a strong indictment of their religious practices and attitudes. In these specific verses, Jesus uses vivid imagery and straightforward language to expose the underlying issues.

  • Hypocrisy Exposed: Hidden Graves

Woe to You, Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites!: Jesus begins with a pronounced woe, a term signifying judgment or calamity. The repeated use of "woe" in this passage intensifies the gravity of Jesus' rebuke.

You are Like Hidden Graves: The comparison to hidden graves conveys the idea that the religious leaders, despite their outward appearance of righteousness, carry within them the defilement of hypocrisy. Just as unsuspecting people can walk over hidden graves unknowingly, those following the religious leaders may be unaware of the spiritual decay within them.

The Men Who Walk Over Them Don't Know It: This statement emphasizes the deceptive nature of the religious leaders' hypocrisy. People may be unaware of the spiritual danger they face by following those who present a facade of righteousness.

  • Lawyers Challenged: Insult and Woe

One of the Lawyers Answered Him: A lawyer, likely a legal expert in Jewish law, responds to Jesus' words, possibly feeling insulted by the general condemnation of religious leaders.

Teacher, in Saying This You Insult Us Also: The lawyer expresses discomfort with Jesus' words, interpreting them as an insult to the legal experts as well. This response provides insight into the defensive posture of the religious leaders.

  • Woes to the Lawyers: Burdens and Indifference

Woe to You Lawyers Also!: Jesus extends his woes to the lawyers, broadening the scope of his critique beyond the Pharisees and scribes.

You Load Men with Burdens that are Difficult to Carry: This indictment points to the legalistic burdens imposed on the people by the lawyers. The religious legalism and intricate rules placed an excessive weight on the shoulders of the common people.

You Yourselves Won't Even Lift One Finger to Help Carry Those Burdens: The contrast is stark—while the lawyers burden others with heavy regulations, they show no willingness to alleviate the difficulties they impose. Jesus exposes their lack of genuine compassion and willingness to support those struggling under the weight of legalism.

Significance for Believers: True Compassion over Legalism

Luke 11:44-46 holds profound significance for believers, offering lessons on hypocrisy, legalism, and the call to genuine compassion.

Hypocrisy Exposed: The imagery of hidden graves challenges believers to examine their own hearts, ensuring that their outward expressions of faith align with genuine righteousness rather than hypocrisy.

Legalism's Heavy Burdens: The critique of burdensome legalism serves as a cautionary reminder for believers to avoid imposing unnecessary and oppressive rules on themselves and others. The freedom found in Christ stands in contrast to the burdensome nature of legalistic practices.

True Compassion and Support: The call to bear one another's burdens echoes Jesus' teachings of compassion and selfless service. Believers are encouraged to uplift and support one another, reflecting the love and grace exemplified by Christ.


Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls." Jesus contrasts the heavy burdens imposed by legalistic practices with the yoke of discipleship, inviting people to find rest in him.

Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." The contrast with the lawyers' unwillingness to help carry burdens aligns with the apostle Paul's call for believers to support and bear one another's burdens.

Conclusion - A Call to Authentic Faith: Luke 11:44-46 confronts the dangers of religious hypocrisy and legalistic burdens, urging believers to cultivate authenticity and compassion. As followers of Christ, the emphasis is on genuine righteousness, humility, and a willingness to support and lift the burdens of others, aligning with the liberating message of Jesus.

Luke 11:44-46. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like hidden graves, and the men who walk over them don’t know it.” One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you insult us also.” He said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won’t even lift one finger to help carry those burdens.”


Chat    Topics     Index     WorldWideWitness