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Summary: Don’t hire Jesus to be a fundraiser; he just doesn’t seem to have good money sense.

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Introduction

One of the characteristics that makes our country great, as seen in the recent tragedy, is the pleasure people take in giving to worthy causes. People like contributing to something that makes a positive difference. Good fundraisers know this; that is why most of them feel good about what they do. They are the links that funnel giving to worthwhile causes and projects, and that feels good.

As in all professions, there are bad fundraisers. Bad, not in the sense they can’t raise money, but they either raise money for unworthy causes or they manipulate donors to give either more than they should or draw the donors away from other causes more meaningful for them.

Good or bad, all effective fundraisers would agree – don’t hire Jesus to be a fundraiser or a money manager. As we shall see, he just doesn’t seem to have good money sense.

Text

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law...”

We need to review who the teachers of the law are. “Scribe” is the more literal rendering of the Greek term used, and is used in other translations, but it does not convey the role of such a person as well as “teacher of the law.” The term means “writer,” and initially scribes were clerks who wrote up legal documents, as well as copied documents and manuscripts. Over time scribes became more than secretaries; they became the interpreters of the documents as well, lawyers and advisors. They certainly played an increasingly important role in Israel as the preservers and interpreters of the Scriptures.

Ezra, a contemporary of Nehemiah, is the “father and model of scribes.” A priest, he lived in Babylonia, evidently in service to King Artaxerxes. He was sent by Artaxerxes to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand (Ezra 7:14). He visited then, the Jews, who had returned from exile to their homeland. He was appalled at the lax regard that the priests and people showed for the Law of God. On several occasions he organized public readings and teachings of the Law, which led to mass repentance and revival. As David was the exemplar for all future kings, so Ezra was exemplar for all future scribes. The description given of him became the description of honor that all who followed in his steps desired: 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel (Ezra 7:10).

Thus the scribes evolved from mere clerks to highly respected teachers. In Jesus’ day, they were the rabbis who taught the people and the scholars devoted to studying the Scriptures. Truly, theirs is an honorable and holy calling. I think so, anyhow, because I am one of them. Their task is mine: to devote myself to the study and observance of God’s Word and to teach its full message in the church. They are my people. That is why I cringe when I read Jesus’ harsh words. But he said them, and I have to teach them.


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