Luke 20: 45 – 47
Always Wanting To Be A ‘Big Shot’
45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
We are really ripping through the bible aren’t we? Today we are going to do our swift passing through the Scriptures as we take a look at three whole verses. In case you are in wonder, I say all this tongue in cheek. The way I look at it I see so much great truth, you just cannot rush by. It’s like having a great chef prepare you his amazing dish and you wolf down the food. You miss out some fine interactive blends. I just can’t let that happen.
We see if we scan the other Gospels that both Matthew and Mark also write about this incident. Let’s take a look at them to see if there is any extra information.
Matthew 23” Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
Mark 12 “38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
What do you think about all three when you compare them to each other? This highlights for me the great advantage to all who seek deeper insights into God’s Holy Word. You dig and dig to find out more golden nuggets of information.
This is how I look at all three Gospels together. Since you have been studying Jehovah Elyon’s - The Lord Most High’s - Amazing Truth, let me ask you this, ‘who wrote the first Gospel? The answer is Matthew. Then five or so years later the spiritual son of the apostle Peter, the disciple Mark, penned his version. Then about ten years after this came Luke’s. Are you somewhat catching what I am leading to? The disciple Luke had as a reference tool both Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel. Now, let’s take a look at all three again.
You will note that all three agree on the specific phony attitude of the religious leaders and their hypercritic action. Look at what they all agree on;
1. They love the best seats in the Synagogues
2. They love greetings in the marketplaces
3. They love the best places at feasts
It is possible when you set apart Luke’s and Mark’s Gospel you see that Luke utilized Mark’s description of our Lord’s teaching for it is almost word for word. This makes Matthew’s version uniquely different. Now, this might disturb some people. You might be saying, hey that is wrong; it appears that Luke plagiarized his writings. Not so fast my friends.
This is what I think happened. Remember Matthew was the first to write his Gospel. He is writing about a different situation than Mark and Luke. You see ever teaching our Lord did was not specifically unique. He on occasions added some past teaching into his dialogue. Our Great and Holy Lord was constantly teaching during His three and a half years of His ministry. He incorporated some past teaching when appropriate. Look at your bibles and flip through the Old Testament. You got to see the constant repetition of basic truths our Wonderful Holy Spirit wants us to grasp. Still not clear? Do you see all the repetitive generation lists? There you go!
Now back to the issue of the similarities of Mark and Luke’s version. Well, try this on for size. How about these snippets of the God’s Word? ‘Moses, Moses! Or Samuel, Samuel.’ When our Precious Holy Ghost wants to get across a significant truth He repeats it twice. So, if you see three repeats, what does that say? – It says ‘PAY ATTENTION HERE’
Now, let’s take a look at today’s three verses in Luke.
45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples,
Our Holy Master and King Lord Jesus now turns to teaching His disciples, but in such a way that all the people overhear Him. It will then be up to them how they take it.
46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,
The wearing of long robes was an indication that someone was wealthy enough not to need to work, or it may mainly have in mind special and distinctive festal garments worn on the Sabbath, or the long robes of the teacher. But whichever is in mind (and more than one may be), they were worn in order to draw attention to themselves. We know that special salutations were given to Rabbis, and a certain type of Rabbi loved going through the marketplace so that he would receive the deference that he felt was his due. And they would be offered the chief seats in the synagogues, sitting facing the ordinary worshippers (with the chief one taking ‘Moses’ seat. It is amazing to me that we never learn. You go to some churches and you see the same things going on that are described here). All this was in order to draw attention to themselves and make them feel good. They loved it. The disciples were to avoid such behavior, and probably continued to succeed in doing so, but as the centuries went by the so-called Christian leadership would mainly go the way of the Jewish leadership. It is but a short step from deserved distinction to spiritual pride. The pride of life is regularly a huge stumbling block that stands in the way of those who serve Christ, as it was to the Pharisees and Scribes, and if not checked it eventually produces the worst types of behavior.
Now if our God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Is taking special aim at this kind of phony show why O why are people still pulling this same kind of chicanery.
Please note how all this apes the picture of the Messiah drawn in the previous passage. Their distinctive clothing, their love of being hailed, their taking of ‘chief seats’, their being honored at feasts, which will be followed by their devouring of widow’s houses, is all similar to the behavior of kings. In their own way they were setting themselves up as messiahs to whom the people should look for deliverance. We are reminded of Paul’s words in his first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 4 verse 8, ‘You have reigned as king’s without us, would to God that you did reign’.
47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
We do not know quite how they devoured widow’s houses. It may be that they wangled their way into acting in trust for widows on behalf of their deceased husbands, in the process wasting their goods like the unrighteous steward. Jesus clearly knew of a number of widows who had been impoverished by the greed of the Scribes.
Furthermore they added to their sins by showboating in their praying. While behaving in such ways they would spend much time in prayer in order to impress people with their sanctity, and pray openly in public, both in the synagogues and in the marketplaces and in the Temple, doing it openly and for longer periods than normal with a view to gaining people’s trust. The thought among the less knowing would be that anyone who prayed like that must be trustworthy. It was only our Lord Jesus Who knew men’s hearts fully for what they were.
They should heed our Lord’s warning for they will receive greater condemnation because they have abused the trust given to them, and the trust that others have in them.
Is there any religious leader out there that feels this rebuke? Please turn back to the Chief Executive Officer of Heaven and Earth, our Lord Jesus Christ before it is too late for you.