Jesus makes a series of charges against the scribes

One blistering hot day when they had guests for dinner, Mother asked 4-year old Johnny to return thanks. “But I don’t know what to say!” the boy complained. “Oh, just say what you hear me say” his mother replied. Obediently the boy bowed his head and … More

Hypocrisy

Jesus asks a very important question of: Who is the Messiah (v. 35)? Then he quotes Psalm 110:1 to show that David considered the Messiah to be his Lord, not just his son (v. 36). The religious leaders did not understand that the Messiah would be far more than a human descendant of David, He would be God Himself in human form (v. 37).

In this passage Jesus makes a series of charges against the scribes (vv. 38-40). They liked to walk about in flowing robes. They liked greetings in the marketplace (v. 38). They liked the front seats in the synagogue. They liked the highest places at feasts (v. 39). They devoured widows’ houses and  were notorious for their long prayers (v. 40). Jesus warns against any attempt to make a traffic of religion. It is still possible to use religious connections for self-gain and self-advancement. But this is a warning to all who are in the church for what they can get out of it and not for what they can put into it.

In those days widows depended on the scribes to draw up legal papers for them and these pious, praying men would take advantage of them by taking a large share of their property. According to Jewish history an expert in the law was not supposed to take any pay for his services, but was supposed to have a trade by which he earned his daily bread. However, these legal experts had convinced the people that there was no higher duty than to support a Rabbi.  It is true that many people accept an office in the church because they think it gives them special honor and privilege, rather than their desire to give selfless service. It is still possible to use religious connections for self-gain and self-advancement. But, this is a warning to all who are in the church for what they can get out of it and not for what they can put into it. Jesus then makes a contrast between the pride and hypocrisy of these wealthy scribes and the devotion and sacrificial giving of a poor widow who gave all that she had (vv. 41-44).

Application

It has been said that, “The greatest gift is that which costs the giver the most."  Ask - Is it easier for me to give than to receive? Why? List some of my goals of giving both of myself and my finances.

Mark 12:35-44 (English Standard Version)

And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.' David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?" And the great throng heard him gladly. And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation." And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

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