Errors of the Scribes
4 March 2018 AM – Mark 12:35-44 – Mr17 – Scott Childs
Introduction: The Scribes in Jesus’ day were the Bible scholars. Though they knew the Bible, they did not always apply what they knew. If we are not careful, we can fall into that error as well. (Read text).
Transition: Jesus is primarily addressing the scribes in this passage in which, for our benefit, He identifies three of their errors.
The first error of the Scribes was to think …
1. The Messiah was Human (v.35-37)
a. The scribes knew that Christ would be the son of David (v.35)
1) Remember, the word “Christ” is the anointed one, the Messiah. The word “son” simply means a descendent.
2) Matthew 22:41-42 reveals more of the conversation. “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.”
3) The scribes taught that the Messiah would be a human descendent of King David. While this was correct, they rejected that He would also be divine – the God/Man.
4) They rejected the incarnation of Jesus – that Jesus was born of Mary yet conceived of the Holy Spirit. We recall Mary’s words to the angel who announced this event to her. (Luke 1:34-35) “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
5) The apostle John wrote, (John 1:14) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
b. Jesus pointed out their error (v.36)
1) Look carefully at what Jesus said.
a) He said that David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
b) He quoted (Psalms 110:1) “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
c) The LORD (Jehovah) said unto my Lord (the Christ)… David called Him a Lord or a superior to himself.
d) If the Lord (Christ) was superior to David how could He be his son, for fathers were always considered superior to their sons.
2) The obvious answer is that the Lord (Christ) is superior to David. John later confirmed that Jesus is both the root and the offspring of David, (Revelation 22:16) “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
3) Yes, the Messiah, Jesus was BOTH human and divine!
The second error of the Scribes was to think …
2. Piety is External (v.38-40)
a. Jesus warned that the scribes focused on the exterior
1) They love or delight to wear long robes like kings or priests.
2) They delight to receive special greetings in the market.
3) They delight in claiming the best seats in the synagogue.
4) They delight in taking the first-rate rooms at a dinner.
5) They devour or eat up widow’s houses. David Guzik explains. “In that day, a Jewish teacher could not be paid for teaching – but he could receive “gifts.” Apparently, many scribes used flattery and manipulation to wrangle big gifts from those who could least afford to give them – such as widows.”
6) They hypocritically prayed long prayers to make themselves look spiritual.
b. Jesus said that these would receive the greater damnation or judgment.
1) The scribes were the Bible scholars of Jesus’ day. They were the spiritual teachers. They led the people.
2) Each of us is leading someone. Others are watching us and following our examples.
3) As leaders, we must guard our attitudes and our actions lest we become proud. Pride is a sin that attacks us whenever we get our eyes off the Lord and forget that without Him we can do NOTHING!
4) Jesus’ condemnation here indicates that the greater our position of influence in life the greater our accountability on Judgment Day. This will be true even of Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
O If we are truly pious on the inside, it will show on the outside.
The third error of the Scribes was to think …
3. Wealth is Spiritual (v.41-44)
a. It appears that Jesus still thinking of the scribes.
1) Jesus just said that the scribes often took advantage of poor broken-hearted widows in order to gain wealth.
2) Many people thought that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing and poverty was God’s curse.
b. Jesus sat down for a break.
1) He sat down opposite to the treasury or the collection box in the Temple.
a) According to the Cambridge Commentary, This treasury, according to the Rabbis, consisted of thirteen brazen chests, called “trumpets”, because the mouths through which the money was cast into the chest were wide at the top and narrow below. They stood in the outer “Court of the Women.”
b) They used coins for money in those days, thus the trumpet of the collection box would ring as the money went in if it was poured in pridefully.
2) Jesus watched as people poured their offerings into the brazen chests. They could tell when the rich people poured in many coins.
3) Jesus noticed a poor widow who cast in just two small coins. According to one commentator’s calculations, the two mites are about 1% of a day’s wage. Poole quoted by Guzik
4) Jesus called His disciples to Him for a teaching lesson. He said that the poor widow who put in those two tiny coins gave more than all the others who had given. They gave of their abundance; she gave all that she had to live on.
a) The idea here is not that she had just two tiny coins left over after she paid all her bills and cared for her needs. Rather she gave to God first and trusted God to care for her needs.
b) The widow gave most because she gave of her poverty in love to the Lord.
c) Sadly, many Christians don’t even give God 1% of their gross income.
d) If you only give to God a little of what you have left over after you take care of all your needs and greeds, you are missing the blessing of worshipping God in giving. God asks us to give a tithe which is 10% of our gross income and an offering above that.
5) The Jews gave their offerings to God in the Temple. To fail to tithe was to rob God. Malachi 3:10 calls the Temple God’s storehouse. We are to give our tithe and offering to our local church. There is nothing wrong with giving above and beyond our tithe and offering to other God-honouring needs, but our tithe and offering belong to God. N.T. Christians gave on the first day of the week, and that included even special offerings. (1 Corinthians 16:2) “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
Conclusion: The Scribes did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah or God. They placed greater emphasis on outward praise than on inward piety. They assumed that wealth equalled God’s blessing. Let’s not be deceived by these same issues. Jesus is God and Messiah. God sees beyond our external show. God blesses the poor that put Him first!
Song: I Surrender All – 394