Lesson 67

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

12:35 Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 12:36 For David himself said in the Holy Spirit,

 'The Lord said to my Lord,
      Sit at my right hand,
      Until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.'

12:37 Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?"

The common people heard him gladly. 12:38 In his teaching he said to them, "Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, 12:39 and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts: 12:40 those who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."

Today's Lesson

In the last section of this gospel, Mark wrote that separate groups came forward in Jerusalem and questioned Jesus. Most of them were trying to find some reason that they could give so that Jesus could be arrested. They tried to get Jesus to commit blaspheme against God or treason against Caesar. Either of these would have given them an excuse to eliminate Jesus. Jesus threatened these groups because of His growing popularity with the people. In Today's Scriptures, Jesus speaks about one of the influential groups in Jerusalem: the scribes.


The scribes in Jerusalem held the same position as theological scholars would have today. The scribes were the keepers of the Sacred Word of God. They lived to analyze scripture and to assure that the word was passed from generation to generation. Because of the importance of these responsibilities, the scribes were given a high status in Jewish society. Their opinions were often requested and usually honored. They were the keepers of tradition as well. The scribes were the main conservative force in Jewish society.


In the first of the two situations in Today's Scriptures, verses 35-37, Jesus speaks about one of the interpretations of the scribes. The scribes taught that the Messiah would be a "son of David," or from the line of David. It is difficult to determine exactly what is the purpose of this statement. It appears as though we only have a portion of a conversation preserved here. It is unlikely that Jesus is teaching that the Messiah would NOT come from the line of David. This concept is well established in Old Testament Scripture. Moreover, the early church immediately proclaimed that Jesus was from the line of David. It is more likely that Jesus is trying to establish that the Davidic origin of the Messiah did not completely explain Him. It is not enough to say that the Messiah would come from the line of David because the Messiah existed before David. The Messiah is a divine figure and it is within this framework that He wants people to begin to think.


What Jesus tells the people in verses 38-40 concerns these same scribes. God has always sought to teach that those who have received great blessings will be judged more harshly. In the case of the scribes, Jesus says that they will be judged firmly because they had the responsibility to interpret the Sacred Word. But, many of them had used their position to promote themselves. They took the chief places at feasts and the chief seats in the synagogues. Their familiarity with the scriptures did not lead them to humility. It did not lead them to an understanding about God.


Yesterday we read how Jesus said that one scribe was not far from the Kingdom of God. Jesus was not critical of all scribes, but as a group they had become corrupted. They had used their position for personal gain. They had valued the opinion of men more than the glory of God.


Are you ready to be judged by God for the revelation you have received? Do you value the Kingdom of God more than the opinion of men?


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