Jesus Mocks Pride

Check your pride in the mirror.

Luke 20:41-47 (ESV)

But he said to them, “How can 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 your footstool.”’

David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Jesus has just solved the Sadducees’ “seven brothers with one wife” riddle and the scribes are dumbstruck by His answer. How it’s His turn to pose one to them.

But where’s He going with this? Luke went into great detail to show that Jesus is David’s son. Why is He now contradicting that?

He’s not; He’s just playing “stump the scribes.” Everyone there is familiar with Psalm 110:1, where David said, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ ” This messianic Psalm declares that the Christ will sit at the right hand of the Lord.

But the father is traditionally viewed as greater than his offspring. So then how can the Christ, being David’s son, be greater than David?

Of course, there’s no real contradiction. The Christ is greater than David and the rule about fathers being greater than their sons simply isn’t an absolute. Jesus is really God’s son anyway.

But the important thing here is that He stumps the scribes. Everyone can see that they aren’t the experts they claim to be. With that established, Jesus turns to the crowd and explains how the scribes are just poseurs. Then he says, “They will receive the greater condemnation.

This is an “emperor’s new clothes” moment for the scribes. They must be positively glowing with embarrassment.

The scribes were a prideful bunch. Jesus really brought them low, and they’re not going to take it well. But any time you see sin in another, check the mirror. We all need our pride exposed.

This can get painful, but the “no pain, no gain” rule applies here. It’s the pride that makes it painful! Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of your pride.

Ask the Lord to show you where you are like the scribes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.