Context: Jesus is teaching in Jerusalem during the last week of His life. With all the people listening (including the teachers of the law) Jesus says to His disciples:
Luke 20:46-47 – “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Observations: Jesus is speaking against the pride of the religious leaders – they like their flowing robes, love to be greeted with respect, love the most important seats, and for show make lengthy prayers. (thrown in this mix is devouring widows’ houses). He says that these men will be punished most severely.
Application: I must not fall in love with impressing others. I must seek to serve and not to be served. My public faith must be driven by my private faith.
How do you guard yourself against the pride of the religious leaders? What practical steps can you take today to avoid hypocrisy?
What’s scary is how subtly spiritual pride can overcome us. Although the religious activities of our day are different from the Pharisee’s, it’s easy to turn almost any “spiritual” activity into a show of pride. We long for the approval of others, forgetting that The Gospel says we already have the ultimate approval from Christ. When I struggle with this pride, I like to remind myself of Luke 18:9-14 (The Pharisee and the Tax Collector praying).
Awesome observation Travis. Even today, I found myself wanting to be noticed at a church service project.