Five Reasons Why Jesus Didn’t Like Lawyers

(Luke 11:45-54)

Before I get into Jesus comments and concerns, let me state up front, it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t like the people who were lawyers, he just didn’t like what they did and the problems they were causing. OK? Jesus didn’t dislike anybody, but he did frequently get quite stirred up over what some people were doing. He could love the person but hate the behaviour, and that’s a lesson we all need to learn.

So what was his beef with lawyers? Here are five things, most of which come from this section of scripture.

1. Lawyers twisted the word of God

gavelOne of the concerns Jesus had with lawyers, scribes and Pharisees was the way they would “interpret” the law and then make it meaningless. The classic example is in Matthew 23 where they said if a person made an oath by the temple it meant nothing, but if they swore by the gold of the temple they were bound by their oath. (Typical of so many people who are focussed on the gold!) But Jesus said, “You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?” (Matthew 23:17)

By twisting the word of God they allowed people to have “wiggle room” to wriggle out of their oaths. It is no different to those legal practitioners today who seek loopholes in the law to justify an end that was never intended in the law.

2. Lawyers took away the key of knowledge

The purity and simplicity of the law of God was such that any person could understand it and apply it. It did not need interpretation as it clearly showed what was right and what was wrong. And there is great wisdom contained in the law of God.

However when lawyers began to interpret and read into the law shades of meaning that were not there, this simplicity, purity and wisdom was watered down and taken away. The people lost the access to God’s wisdom because the lawyers played word games to take away the gift of God that was given in his law.

3. Lawyers bind heavy burdens hard to bear

The lawyers of Jesus day would load the people up with all manner of burdens requiring them to do things that were not required in the law. They were in positions of power and could manipulate situations to their advantage, and like some who abuse their power, they did so to keep the people under their control. A classic example of this power was that they would cast people out of the synagogue if they did not follow their rules and edicts as was shown in John 9.

4. Lawyers would not lift a finger to ease people’s burden

Following on from the previous point, the lawyers would create these huge burdens for people, and then do nothing to assist them to be freed from the burden. We sometimes see this even today with not only lawyers but also other professions. Many will give an opinion but will not give an answer. An opinion just adds to the burden a person may have but an answer gives a solution which takes away the burden.

Jesus came and taught the people with authority, not as the scribes taught as it says in Matthew 7:29. Jesus gave the people answers and solutions, not opinions. He lifted their burdens and taught freedom.

5. Lawyers condemned the righteous unjustly

Jesus showed that it was the lawyers and the rulers in former generations who were responsible for murdering and killing the prophets and righteous men sent by God. Jesus then condemns the lawyers of his generation for they then built memorials and tombs to remember those who were killed, but by so doing they were bearing witness to the fact it was those of their own profession who were responsible. Their predecessors did these evil deeds by condemning the righteous and twisting the law to achieve their end, and the latter generations memorialised the outcome of their evil.

They did it to Jesus later on, they did it to Paul and they did it to the apostles and disciples of the Lord. At the time the lawyers and judges had these righteous people put to death they called them criminals. But the later generations of lawyers and judges called them martyrs and in their actions of memorial building bore witness to the evil of their predecessors.

Finally let me say this. There will be no lawyers in the kingdom of God. Not that there won’t be anyone trained as a lawyer in the kingdom, but there will not be any lawyers when God sets up his kingdom. Why? Because God himself will administer whatever form of law he puts in place, if there is any law at all.

In essence there is no need for the law if a people are law abiding. In God’s kingdom when all of mankind have been transformed into the image of Christ, why will there be any need for law, at least law as we know it? Law is not given for the just but for the unjust.

As I said earlier, it is not lawyers per se that Jesus hated, but what they did and how they misused and abused their roles. There are probably many other issues that I could have added in addition to these. Please feel free to add to this in the comments section.

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7 Replies to “Five Reasons Why Jesus Didn’t Like Lawyers”

    1. Hi David.
      I cannot give you career advice & any decision as to what career you choose to follow is yours alone.
      Jesus had issues with the lawyers of His time who were using the law incorrectly. They used it to justify wrong deeds and twisted the law to their own ends. There is nothing wrong with the law itself (by this I am talking about the laws of God), provided you use it as it was meant to be used. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:8, “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully.”
      The issue that Jesus had with lawyers in His time is that they were NOT using the law lawfully.
      Any lawyer today who uses the laws of the land or country they live in lawfully, provided it does not oppose the will of God, would be the same. It is about doing what is right by the law & not using it to justify wrong.
      Some lawyers today use the law to seek loopholes by which they can get clients off the hook when those clients have done evil. I am sure Jesus would take them to issue over that as He did in His time on earth.
      So what I would say is this. If you desire a career in law, by all means do it. But make sure you act with honour, justice and compassion in all you do & never seek to help justify evil by twisting the law to suit a wrong end. If you do this you should be fine. Be true to who you are & be true to your faith. Do what is good, right & true in the eyes of God & be led by Him to seek out your career.
      All the best with your decision & your studies.
      God bless,
      John

      1. The problem for him wil be this. He will not be able to go about law in a lawful manner. We have evil in high places that will demand of him to carry through with perversions of the law and he must obey or find himself kicked out of the profession, after spending so much time to learn, not to mention money. If he’s a good and God-fearing man this job will tear him apart. He will always labor under having to compromise with that which he knows is inherently wrong, just to get a small, if any justice for his client. A truly good man can’t rectify this balance over into the wrong side of things without losing his own identity and spirit and place with God. It will be serving two masters until he breaks under the burden. Less honest men will have no trouble swaying to the side of knowing injustices, but a God-F earing man will hate his daily fight for what he knows is not right, but state-sanctioned anyway, against his client.
        Read below:
        In Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) : 7 C.J.S. §4: Attorney and Client: “His first duty is to the courts and the public, not to the client, ( footnote 55) .
        This is clear enough for him to make a more intelligent decision about his life and mission.

  1. I am a Christian and am currently studying psychology and will then go to law school, so I was intrigued to read your take on this topic. I agree with your interpretation of Jesus’s view on the lawyers of His day and, for that matter, I agree with Him!

    That said, the law is full of both good and bad people because it is full of human beings and we are fallable. Sadly, it is the “bad apples” that have tainted the image of the legal profession just as similarly dark-hearted and loud-mouthed so-called Christians have tainted a beautiful and hopeful message with their hate- and fearmongering. (Not you but I grew up Catholic so… yeah.)

    Anyway, good post. Thank you for writing on a topic close to my heart. :)

    1. Hi Christiemarie and thanks for your comment.
      Yes the Lord did not have many good things to say about lawyers but we must remember also that His condemnation of lawyers was not a condemnation of the law. The law of God is good. It is full of the wisdom of God and there is much we can learn about the nature of God and how He wants us to live a life pleasing to Him from what the law contains.
      We are also most fortunate that in this day and age since the sacrifice of Christ that we are not under law for He freed us from it. This does not mean we reject the law, but rather we uphold it as Paul said in Romans for “…the law is holy, just and good.” It is men that wrongfully twist it and use for their own devices rather than the pure purposes as defined by God.
      Anyway, thanks for the comment and God bless.
      Regards,
      John.

  2. Very informative…but your commentary begs this question: should Spirit filled believers aspire to become lawyers? If they are true followers of Christ, wouldn’t they have the opportunity to be a light in the profession??

    1. In God’s kingdom there will be no lawyers because they won’t be needed. Law is laid down because of those who break the law, but no lawbreaker will be in God’s kingdom. That does not mean that someone in this age who is a lawyer cannot enter God’s kingdom for entry is based upon faith, but they will have no need of their training or profession when they get there.

      The issue Jesus had with the lawyers was that they did not use their skills, knowledge and training in the law to teach, upbuild and help the people. Instead they used it as a source of power to take control over the people and build themselves up as being something above the rest of the people. The people of the world today aspire to be lawyers because it is seen to be an exalted profession among people of the world. However the Bible tells us in Luke 16:15, “…for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

      The issue is not about the law but what they did with the law & how they used it wrongfully to gain an advantage. Some lawyers do the same today using loopholes and wiggle room to argue points of law that get guilty parties off the hook. This should not be so.

      But coming back to the point of your question, should a Spirit filled believer aspire to be a lawyer and a light in the profession. That would be a decision for them to make and not for me to judge. Personally I don’t think any honest and lawful profession makes any difference to the Lord. He will be more interested in what the individual believes and does and if they operate in their profession with honesty, truthfulness and are not turned aside to do evil when good should prevail. As for the law the Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:8, “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully.” The challenge is that some lawyers do not use the law lawfully but use it to allow wrong to occur and evil to prevail. If a person chooses to be a lawyer and can keep themselves from evil, doing their job honestly, then I can’t see it would be any hindrance.

      The issue is that lawyers have great power in the land, which Jesus knew in His time on earth. When they wield that power unlawfully it is a problem and that was why He condemned them, and it is no different today. When they use that power in a right manner then that is OK. The challenge is to remain humble when invested with such power for that is where men often fall down, lawyers or not.

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