God’s Word for You
Luke 20:45-47 Beware of the scribes
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, February 18, 2019
45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes. They like to traipse around in long robes. Also, they love greetings in the marketplaces, and to have the most important seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They prey on the property of widows and make a pretense of long prayers. Such people will receive a more severe punishment.”
From Matthew’s account (Matthew 23:13-32), we learn that the scribes or “teachers of the law” were present when Jesus said this. More and more people were crowding into Jerusalem for the Passover. It was one of the three big pilgrim festivals, when people came from all over Israel to celebrate at the temple. It’s easy to see that Jesus’ words would have traveled quickly in this kind of mass of humanity, always eager for the most recent news.
His specific accusation about the scribes is that they were greedy. They “prey on the property of widows” and always wanted the best of everything for themselves. They had no qualms at all about leveraging poor women and children out of their meager inheritances, and they tried to cover up their guilt with “long prayers.” This would not be forgotten on Judgment Day. Robbing widows of their due portion, and the other sins, would mean that the scribes would receive their own “due portion” in hell, with a “more severe punishment” than the average unbeliever. Hypocrisy and greed will have their special punishments in eternity, and the verdict for the scribes will be especially severe. James made the warning to Christians: “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). Peter offers this comfort: “The gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but to live according to God in regard to the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6). When judgment day comes, it will be faith that God is looking for in us. All those with faith will be covered by Christ in every act of their lives. Did you love your neighbor? Jesus recognizes that you did, and he sees the smallest act on your part as having been done from faith: “Amen I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). As long as a person rejects Christ, he lives in danger of terrible judgments in hell throughout all eternity. But as long as a person trusts in Jesus, he is rescued from hell and from the grave, and lives in the comfort of hope today, and in the comfort of everlasting peace forever in heaven.
Pastor Timothy Smith