…And in the hearing of all the people He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes …” (Luke 20:45-46a).
Jesus has faced every question, challenge and riddle from His enemies, and has come out shining, while they have been completely humiliated. We might expect gentle Jesus to turn down the heat on His enemies now. But no, turning to His disciples He speaks loud enough for everyone to hear. And that includes the great crowd of Jews filling the temple courts as well as the scribes standing nearby. They certainly weren’t pleased to hear Him say, “Beware of the scribes.”
The scribes started as simple copyists, laboriously copying the Old Testament scrolls into new ones. They had come to be seen as Bible experts, but in their busyness had completely missed Scripture’s central message of salvation from sin, death and hell through the coming Messiah. The people looked at them as experts, and the Pharisees based their living on the traditions and interpretations of these scribes.
Jesus exposes them, warning His disciples to avoid their false teachings. He points out how they love to be recognized and honored in the marketplaces, sitting in the front seats of the synagogues and at the choicest seats at meals.
They greedily devour widows’ houses and cover up their robbery with long, elaborate prayers to deceive and impress the unknowing masses. On the Day of Judgment, they will face steep punishment for the way they misused God’s Word for their own selfish benefit.
Publicly embarrassed and put to shame, yet unable to find any way to turn the crowds against Jesus, the scribes rage within, looking for an opportunity to take their revenge. That opportunity will come sooner than any of them expect.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I easily fall into the same sins as those scribes, possessing my own pride, selfishness and arrogance. Forgive me and teach me to live in truth and humility. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.