John T. Willis

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jesus Confronts the Sadducees and Scribes--Luke 20:41-21:4

As Jesus continues to teach in the Jerusalem temple while he is in Jerusalem, He continues to address the Sadducees [see 20:27] and the scribes [20:45] and to encourage his disciples to refrain from follow their examples [20:45]. In three brief paragraphs, Jesus addresses three significant issues, related in Luke 20:41-21:4. I. Is the Messiah David's Son? Luke 20:41-44. a. Possibly continuing the conversation with the Sadducees in 20:27, Jesus aggressively raises a difficult question: How can people say that the Messiah is David' son? For several centuries, the Israelites, the Jews, expected Yahweh to send on earth an anointed agent from the lineage of David to deliver or save his people. 1 Samuel 16:10-11; 17:12; 1 Chronicles 2:13-15 state that David was the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem. When David finally became king over all Israel, he defeated the Jebusites and made Jerusalem his capital in the year 993 BCE. Yahweh through Nathan the prophet announced that David's descendants would rule over Yahweh's people "forever." This continued until the fall of Judah in 587 BCE. 20:41. b. Jesus points out that Psalm 110:1 declares that David the king of Israel calls the announced king in the future is "Lord" over David. So, how can David call this individual "son of David?" A "son" is subservient to his father or "lord." In one sense, the Messiah is a physical descendent of David. In another sense, the Messiah is not subservient to David because he is Lord over David. The point here is that Jesus is both human and divine. 20:42-44. II. Jesus denounces the hypocritical scribes. Luke 20:45-47. a. Jesus now turns to teach his disciples but speaks loudly so all the people could heard his message. 20:45. b. Jesus specifically condemns the scribes for SIX reasons. 1. The scribes walk around in public in long robes. Such robes called attention to those who wear it and symbolize special distinction above the rest of the people. This is a very important warning about public preachers and elders in the church IF such people consider themselves to be MORE IMPORTANT or ABOVE the rest of God's people. 2. The scribes love to be greeted with respect as they moved from place to place. This is a very important warning about people who wear ADVANCED DEGREES like Masters and Doctors setting themselves above the rest of the people, whether their students or their peers or members of God's people. Just because a person has received a PhD does not mean that he or she should parade around and call himself or herself "Doctor." 3. The scribes love to have the best seats in the synagogues. This is a very important warning about people to have a POSITION in the church and want to receive notoriety among the people of God. Can anyone imagine giving Jesus Christ a TITLE in the church? 4. The scribes have places of honor at banquets. This is a very important warning about people who accept special places at banquets like the FIRST TABLE or the HONORARY TABLE or the like. 5. The scribes devour widows houses. This means that the scribes cheated widows of what was rightly theirs. The problem here is greed and lack of genuine interest in the needs of other people, especially poor people. 6. The scribes say long prayers for the sake of appearance. It is very easy for people to attend at church assemblies regularly to make a "show" or "pretense" rather than worshipping God. There are MANY possible REASONS why people may attend regularly worship services. We all need to search our hearts to determine the REAL REASONS we are and should be present. Jesus concluded pointedly that those who live in this way will RECEIVE THE GREATER CONDEMNATION. 20:45-47. III. The Contribution of the Poor Widow. Luke 21:1-4. a. Luke 21:1-4 essentially comes from Mark 12:41-44. The connection in Luke is that in the previous paragraph, Jesus condemns the scribes because they cheated widows to get gain. The poor widow feels and acts in precisely the opposite way. b. As Jesus was walking around in the temple, he observed the way various people made their contributions. Rich people gave offerings. But a poor widow put in two small copper coins. This was her entire possessions. She had nothing left to sustain her. 21:1-2. c. Jesus declares that this poor widow has put in more than all the rich who made contributions, because the rich gave out of their abundance and had plenty left to have whatever they wished. But this poor widow put in ALL SHE HAD out of her poverty. She gives ALL SHE HAS, not a tithe, but ALL. She gives BEYOND her means because of her love for and trust in God. This is the kind of heart that God desires and praises. 21:3-4. What challenging truths from Jesus!!! Share YOUR experiences and failures and fears and shortcomings and joys with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis