Righteousness vs. Knowledge and All The Right Answers
“But he said to them, ”How is it that they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ’ The Lord said to my lord, “ Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. ”’
“If David then calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”
As all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware of the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes, and they love elaborate greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. They will receive a more severe punishment.””
We went on a foster parent adventure for a while and got to introduce some kids to our way of life. The very first Sunday they were with us, there was a lot of explanation about going to church, how to act at church, and what we do.
I hope I never forget what I overheard one of the kids say to their brother. “This is a different kind of church. It doesn’t matter what you wear there.”
At some point, people liked to dress up for church. It was a good and proper thing, they thought. Then it turned into a law, a rule. And then it turned into an act of righteousness.
The role of Priest or Rabbi is really an honorable role. At the heart of it, it’s really awesome that they do what they do. The problem is, at some point, honor can corrupt and warp a person. Jesus was warning against that.
Jesus would also teach that honor was good, but not when you gave it to yourself. This is a very practical example of “it is better to give than to receive.”
Jesus almost mocks these “know-it-alls” with this rhetorical question about David calling his offspring “lord.”
It is kind of confusing.
Note that after Jesus asks that question, He talks about how you shouldn’t try to be a self-righteous know-it-all. The only thing it got those Sadducees was their stupid lunch served on a stupid platter.
Devouring the wealth of widows and basking in your self-righteousness isn’t the glorious fruit that God wants to bear in your life.
As a Christian, we don’t need the honorable seat at a dinner and we don’t need to have anybody respect us in the marketplace. Let’s take care of those widows and pray powerful secret prayers.
That’s what Jesus wanted for those crowds of people listening, and that’s what He wants for us.
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