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 believe God’s word and obey it? God sent his prophets to open the ears of his people to hear and understand God’s word and intention for their lives. God’s wisdom is personified in the voice of the prophets, a voice that usually brought rejection and martyrdom because they spoke for God rather than for human approval and favor. Jesus chastised many of 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 religious lawyers and scribes held the “office of the keys” since they were the official interpreters of the scriptures. Unfortunately their interpretation of the scriptures became 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, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “key of David” (see Isaiah 22:22; Revelations 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 thirst for God and acknowledge his word as true – can truly understand this wisdom. [See Psalm 119:99ff: “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.”] God is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us true wisdom and understanding. Do you hunger for the wisdom which comes from above?
“Lord Jesus, may your word take root in my heart and transform all my thoughts and actions. Give me wisdom and understanding that I may know your will for my life and have the courage to live according to it.”
1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. 2 The LORD has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!