The sin of the scribes

And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. Mark 12:38-40

There is a reason why our Lord told his disciples to beware of the scribes. It was because the sin of the scribes is a sin to which we are all in danger of imitating. You don't tell people to beware of a non-existent danger.

What was the sin of the scribes? It was the sin of self-centeredness, self-worship, and self-righteousness. And this exhibited itself in their love of the praises of men. They invited people to praise them with their expensive clothing and then received their praises in the public places and places of worship.

The sad thing is that the worship of God became for them a platform for their own admiration. Their focus should have been upon God and they should have been pointing others to God and his glory. But instead they redirected the praise which rightly belonged to God so that they were admired and praised.

God forbid that we should go there. To such belongs the "greater damnation," a truly terrible judgment. Let us shine our lights, not to direct people to us, but to God (Mt. 5:16). Let us say, with the psalmist, "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake" (Ps. 115:1). God is the only being in the universe who really deserves worship and praise. People don't need me; they need God and his grace through Jesus Christ. It follows that the worst thing I can do is to distract them from the vision of God and the very best thing is to point them to Christ and his grace.

By: Jeremiah Bass