Mark 12:38-40 The Scam of the Scribes

The place of honor

The place of honor

We are still continuing on with Jesus in the temple. He has gone back to teaching after dispatching all the religious leaders who had tried to trap Him. Jesus now warns His disciples and those listening against acting as the scribes do.

The scribes were often mentioned right along with the Pharisees. The scribes were the ones tasked with reading, copying, and interpreting the law. They were responsible for maintaining the Old Testament in complete and accurate order. They had a few issues though that Jesus addressed throughout His ministry. The issue Jesus focuses on today is their outward show of being religious in order to garner earthly rewards.

I would venture to guess that most scribes, when choosing their profession, chose this line of work for noble reasons. They probably believed they were being of service to God and their fellow man. I doubt they went into it for all the “perks” that came with the job.

As a scribe and teacher of the people, they were offered the choicest seats in the synagogues, the places of honor at banquets, the special respectful greetings in the market place or street, and used unscrupulous means to coax every last penny out of the poor and the widows.

The scribe had access to these “perks” by demonstrating how religious and upright he was. He would wear the long robes, probably use the largest phylacteries possible, and make long and loud public prayers. This would draw the attention of the people and give the scribes the “respect” they so earnestly sought.

This is exactly opposite of how Jesus told His disciples to behave. Jesus said that to be great in God’s kingdom one had to become the servant of all. Rather than being served through special privileges or recognition, Jesus’ disciples were to be out serving the poor, helping the widow, caring for the sick and needy. Jesus demonstrated this lifestyle every day of His walk. He served without looking for service in return. He helped those who He knew had nothing to offer Him in exchange. He gladly suffered the slings and arrows of the religious community to bring lasting hope to the people. This is the example Jesus wanted His disciples to follow, and us too.

Father God, forgive me for wanting the praises of others. When I log into my site, I feel discouraged that no one has commented or given me praise. This blog is not for praise but for service. I truly desire to give out what You have given me, no strings attached. Thank You for providing this opportunity to reach into the lives of others and simply share the encouragement You have given me. Forgive me for letting my pride get in the way. Renew my heart and refresh my direction with You.

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