AVOID HYPOCRITICAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS BY RECOGNIZING:
– THE CONTRADICTIONS IN THEIR THEOLOGY (ESPECIALLY ERRORS IN CHRISTOLOGY)
– THE PHONINESS OF THEIR MINISTRY
– THEIR EXPLOITATION OF POOR WIDOWS
After answering all of their trick questions with His infinite wisdom, Christ goes on the offensive and asks the Jewish religious leaders a tough question of His own. He is about to pronounce judgment on the entire false religious system that centered around the mercenary practices and abuses of the temple worship in Jerusalem. So He first exposes the hypocrisy of these self-righteous and pretentious blind leaders of the blind.
I. (:41-44) JESUS EXPOSES THE HYPOCRITICAL THEOLOGY OF THE SCRIBES –
REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO THE DEITY OF THE SON OF DAVID, THE MESSIAH –
CONTRADICTIONS IN THEOLOGY (ESPECIALLY ERRORS IN CHRISTOLOGY)
A. (:41) The Contradiction
“And He said to them, ‘How is it that they say the Christ is David’s son?’”
Calling the Messiah David’s son while refusing to acknowledge and submit to His deity;
False teachers are going to have many contradictions in their theology
Steven Cole: So now Jesus questions them. He takes up the offense. His intent was to show His audience in the temple courtyard that neither they nor their teachers of the Law understood their own Scriptures. They rightly thought that Messiah would be the physical descendant of David, but they wrongly thought that he would be just a great man, a political Savior, who would bring in an age of peace and prosperity. Jesus wanted them to see that the Messiah (or Christ) would not only be David’s son, but also David’s Lord, God in human flesh. They needed a right view of Messiah so that they would not be deceived by false religion.
That false religion was embodied in the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders in Israel. The common people easily could be deceived into thinking that true spirituality was to be like these leaders. Outwardly, they impressed everyone with their spirituality. They dressed differently in “holy” garb. Everyone gave them respectful greetings in public. They sat at the front of the synagogues and in the seats of honor at public banquets. They could offer long prayers. They seemed far more spiritual than everyone else. And yet their hearts were far from God. They were full of pride, greed, and selfishness. Jesus exposes them and warns of the greater judgment that they would receive.
B. (:42-43) The Confession
“For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my LORD, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.”’”
Look at David’s own testimony about the Messiah;
The Scriptures are the only reliable source for doctrine and theology; no contradiction in the Scriptures
MacArthur: Being placed under the feet of a ruler was not where you wanted to be because it really was a symbol of execution. Listen to Joshua 10. Five kings are brought to Joshua. Verse 24, “It came about when they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ So they came near, put their feet on their necks.” Verse 26, “So Joshua struck them and put them to death, hanged them on five trees.”
Everybody knew what it meant to make your enemies your footstool, to put your feet on your enemies’ neck. This is Messianic. They knew the Messiah would come and destroy the enemies of God because that’s what the Old Testament prophesied. How then, if this is Messianic, and the Messiah is to be David’s son, can David call Him “Lord”?
C. (:44) The Clincher
“David therefore calls Him ‘Lord,’ and how is He his son?”
David clearly acknowledged and submitted to the deity of the Messiah
II. (:45-47) JESUS EXPOSES THE HYPOCRITICAL PRACTICES OF THE SCRIBES –
REFUSAL TO FOLLOW THE MODEL OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP –
PHONINESS OF MINISTRY
“And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples,”
A. (:46a) Summary Warning
“Beware of the scribes,”
MacArthur: How did Jesus deal with those who didn’t believe the truth? How did Jesus deal with those who didn’t believe the truth who were totally religious, who set spirituality at the pinnacle of human experience? How did Jesus deal with people in religion, religious leaders? Did He have a conversation? Or did He issue a condemnation? Because I just want to do what Jesus did. . .
It is a blistering denunciation, a blistering diatribe on the false religious leaders. No conversation, no collegiality, no dialogue, no cooperation; confrontation, condemnation. Without compassion? No. Remember 19:41, when He came to the city, what did He do? He wept. And we just heard again that He declared to them that He is the Messiah, Son of David, Son of God. That is a merciful effort again to declare who He is. These days are full of sadness on His part, and full of compassion, as He gives invitation to them to believe. But when compassion is exhausted and invitations have ended, you have condemnation.
B. (:46b-47a) 6 Characteristics of Hypocritical Religious Leaders (Phony Ministry)
Contrast with the Ministry of Jesus Christ
1. Elevated Stature
“who like to walk around in long robes,”
They want to be seen as special and distinct from the common people; the ultimate in clergy/laity distinction; unapproachable in terms of intimate fellowship and friendship because their status is so elevated
Christ: no special distinguishing garments; hung out with tax collectors and sinners
2. Popularity and Respect
“and love respectful greetings in the market places,”
Deference; want to be highly visible and acknowledged
3. Leadership Preeminence
“and chief seats in the synagogues,”
4. Power and Influence
“and places of honor at banquets,”
5. Greedy Exploitation
“who devour widows’ houses,”
6. Pretentious Religious Practices
“and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers;”
Christ: compare His teaching and example in prayer; all about the heart of religious practices (cf. Sermon on the Mount); instead of external show
Morris: Long robes were a sign of distinction and marked the wearers as gentlemen of leisure, for anyone who worked for his living would not be cumbered with such clothing. Public greetings and good places in synagogues and feasts were further ostentation marks of eminence coveted eagerly by the scribes. . . It was forbidden to scribes to accept money for teaching. They must, and did, make their knowledge available without charge. But there was nothing to stop people making gifts to teachers and this was regarded as meritorious. Evidently some of the scribes encouraged impressionable widows to make gifts beyond their means. A further count against them is that their prayers featured length rather than depth. Such prayers gave the illusion of piety, but as they were offered in pretence they availed nothing before God.
C. (:47b) Summary Judgment – Elevated Condemnation vs. Elevated Stature
“these will receive greater condemnation.”
Transition: In contrast to a long list of pretentious religious practices that could be cited to condemn religious hypocrisy, Jesus offers the simple story of the contrast between the giving of the rich person vs. the poor widow
III. (21:1-4) JESUS EXPOSES THE EXPLOITATION OF POOR WIDOWS
[Check out MacArthur’s commentary on this passage and the notes from Bruce Hurt at
MacArthur feels Luke 21:1-4 is a continuation of the theme of judgment begun in Lk 20:47-note (and the parallel diatribe against the Scribes and Pharisees in Mt 23:1-36) which continues into the pericope in Lk 21:5-36. He makes the point (which is difficult to argue with) that this woman was giving to an apostate religious system that was set up to bilk people out of their money, explaining that she was not giving to God but to a religious system that had distorted God’s Word by adding men’s traditions.
[so I have been convinced to change my view on this passage away from the traditional position that almost all the commentators take]
A. (:1-2) Corrupt Religious System Funded by Both Rich and Poor
1. (:1) Rich Gave Much
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.”
Jesus is not giving any commentary here on the motive or value of the gift – just recording what He is witnessing about the funding of this corrupt temple worship system.
2. (:2) Poor Widow Gave Just a Little
“And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins.”
Liefeld: the widow’s “two very small copper coins” (lepta, vs. 2, the familiar “mites”) were each worth only a small fraction of a day’s wage.
B. (:3-4) Corrupt Religious System Burdens the Poor More Than the Rich
1. (:3) Poor Widow Gave More Than the Rich
“And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them;’”
Jesus was disturbed by what He saw. The giving especially was burdensome for this poor widow. How often do you see religious charlatans living luxuriously at the expense of a bunch of small gifts from a wide range of deceived follower who have been manipulated emotionally to contribute far more than they can afford to give.
2. (:4) Poor Widow Gave All She Had
“for they all out of their surplus put into the offering;
but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”