Lessons for the Teachers
Gracious Lord, deliver me, I pray, from the slumber of comfort, and the desire for security, instead of passion for You.
Read Mark 12:35-40
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“When David’s Lord became David’s son (36), he did not use this as a means of gaining popularity or wealth, but gave up his life” (N.T. Wright).
Sometime later the same day, Jesus still had the “teachers of the law” on his mind. He was not impressed by their hypocrisy. They paraded around in special clothing that drew attention to them and emphasized their special status. They broke their religious law by acting unjustly toward the weak and vulnerable in their society (Exod. 22:22-24; Deut. 27:19). Their prayers were directed more to other people than to God. If they were truly living out the law to love God and neighbor they would not be making a public show of their piety with such haughty pride and social inequity. Would Jesus see any of the same inconsistencies in our behavior? We are often not aware of our own inappropriate presentation of our religious endeavors to a watching world. James warned the early church about their superficial understanding of the priority needs of the poor (Jas. 2:14-17).
Jesus also challenged these teachers’ interpretation of scripture. They were awaiting the Messiah from the line of David, but hadn’t understood the Messianic Psalm 110, which hinted that David’s son was to be more than a member of the king’s genealogical tree. So Jesus poses an unanswerable riddle. How could David declare that the Lord would give great victory to David’s “Lord,” if that Lord was merely a physical descendant? The rest of the psalm describes this Lord as a king, warrior, priest and judge, using images that seem beyond human capacity. This baffling question, the last in this series of lively interchanges, remained unanswered. The listening crowds were tantalized by the ideas, but only after the resurrection did this conundrum begin to make real sense. Jesus was then preached to be both Lord and Christ, enthroned at the right hand of God (Acts 2:34-36; Rom. 1:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:8).
Have you ever been temped to use your faith to make yourself look good? How? How can you avoid this temptation?
Father, I know at times I do or say things just to impress others. I pray that my outer life is consistent with my inner devotion.