While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Jesus in today’s passage gives a warning against the outward appearance of goodness or Godliness by some religious leaders. In fact Matthew 23:1-36 is the parallel passage to today’s passage and it describes in great detail the sins for which God would punish the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
The long robes that the Scribes wore were of white linen and had decorative fringe. The best seats were where they could be seen by everyone who was in attendance at the synagogue. And to “devour widow’s houses” probably means that some scribes defrauded helpless widows of their homes and resources. In other words the “leaders” in Jesus’ society were guilty of using their positions of power to exploit the weak and the poor, who were the very ones that they were supposed to protecting. And Jesus’ warning that they “will receive harsher judgement” still applies to those who are in leadership positions today.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Joshua 24, Luke 21:1-28, Psalm 89:38-52 and Proverbs 13:20-23