“Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes…” — Luke 20:45–46
Ever watch a show where the bad guy was someone you least expected? Well, that’s what happens in Luke 20. The masks of Israel’s highly respected religious leaders are coming off. Jesus shows them to be the crooks they are.
As Jesus asserts more and more of His authority, coming to the temple, preaching the gospel, they have had enough (Luke 19:45-20:1). They throw every trick and trap at him, hoping to ensnare Him (v.20), and yet He emerges victorious. Jesus answers their questions with such wisdom that they look like fools and don’t even dare ask him any more questions (v.40).
The chapter ends with Jesus warning the people about the scribes (v.46-47). These men spent their lives copying the Old Testament and, as a result, were consulted and viewed as Israel’s chief authorities on religious matters. But these men were the very men they are warned about. They lost sight of what the point of God’s Word was. Instead of being humble servants, they loved attention and abused the weak to gain more wealth and power!
What a warning this is to us! First to not be taken in by religious con-men who are full of pride and greed. And second for those of us who handle God’s Word day in and day out to not become prideful and greedy. Familiarity with God’s Word should foster humility, not pride. It should make us want to magnify Christ more.
If the people in Jesus’ day could be taken in, so can we. The key is to look to Christ. The scribes messed up because they didn’t understand who Christ was. The people were deceived because they were more impressed with men than Christ. Christ is the key. He is the focus. When He is in His rightful place in our hearts and lives, we will be in our rightful place.