Most Dangerous


Luke 20:41-47
41 But He said to them [the scribes – Pharisees who had just questioned Jesus about the resurrection], “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 43 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’  44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?” 45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

There is some information that is so important it simply must be repeated – often. Those of us who try to communicate with the public know that a piece of information has to be presented over and over in several different formats in order for people to finally hear you. And even then, they will claim they weren’t informed. It can be frustrating. Jesus is trying to impart some incredibly important information to the people – the Disciples in particular – as the day of His crucifixion draws close. They must be aware of the danger that the teachings of the Pharisees hold for all of them.

As a continuation of His discussion of the resurrection, Jesus uses Psalm 110 to point out that even King David understood what was going to transpire in regards to the coming Messiah. Here, we need to try and see ourselves in the heavenly throne room for just a bit. There, the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) reside with the faithful who have already passed from the earth. This group includes King David, who is in the company of his Lord (Jesus) who will one day become his descendant.

Psalm 110:1
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord [Yahweh] said to my [David’s] Lord [the Lord is the Messiah].” David himself acknowledges that a descendent of his is the Messiah and that he (David) shall call him (the Messiah) Lord! The Messiah is David’s Son and therefore should call David lord, but because the Messiah is who he is, David must call the Messiah his Lord.

In this one brief passage we find the past, the present, and the future collide in the person of Jesus Christ. This is an important Old Testament reference and we hear it all the time in our corporate worship because of that importance. Jesus uses this passage to confound yet again those who would question His authority and His divinity. Then Jesus goes on to warn His followers yet again about the dangers of being influenced by the scribes. His description of them is scathing.

46“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Long robes = non-working, pompous, vain
Love greetings = prideful, arrogant
Best seats = arrogant, prideful, attention seekers
Devour widow’s houses = greedy, self-serving, careless of others
Long (public) prayers = self-righteous, hypocritical

All of these are manifestations of the same thing: denial of God’s OT promises that salvation will come through the deliverance of a righteous, suffering Messiah. The scribes have chosen their own way, one that focuses on themselves—their good works and their public displays of piety. They believe that this is an alternate path to salvation, but it is completely contrary to “the way”, the Good News of the kingdom that Jesus brings. They are guilty of hypocrisy, malice, and greed. Jesus has shown this again and again, but he must repeat it here once more, for the Pharisees represent the most dangerous opposition to the gospel.
Just, A. A., Jr. (1997). Luke 9:51–24:53 (p. 779). St. Louis: CPH.

If the people haven’t gotten the message that the Pharisees are to be avoided they haven’t been listening to Jesus at all. At this point He has nothing to lose and time is running out. We have to be equally cautious about all the people we allow to influence our faith. What we believe is important. What we expose ourselves to will impact our minds and hearts. If the Disciples needed to be careful of what the Pharisees wanted them to believe, we too need to wisely heed the words of Christ, for we too can fall victim to false prophets. We see it all the time in our world of a thousand voices all trying to vie for our attention and adulation.

Dear Lord, Please guard my mind and heart that I may listen closely to Your voice alone. Pour out our Spirit of discernment and truth so that I am not deceived by the arrogant Pharisee who would drag me away from Your truth. Increase in me Your own wisdom so that I am faithful only to You. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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