Summary: The hypocrisy of the of the scribes.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
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 mumbled, “Oh Lord, why did I invite these people over on a hot day like this?” (Source unknown)
In this passage Jesus makes a series of charges against the scribes. They liked to walk about in flowing robes. They liked greetings in the marketplace. They liked the front seats in the synagogue. They liked the highest places at feasts. They devoured widows’ houses. Their long prayers were notorious. 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 still 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. True Christianity ought to make a person want to crucify self rather than exalt it.
This warns against the 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. 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 (v. 44).
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.