Commands of Christ: 78

Beware of the scribes and do not imitate them.

In the course of his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.  They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.” Mark 12:38-40

Then, within the hearing of all the people, he said to his disciples,  “Be on guard against the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and love greetings in marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.  They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”  Luke 20:45-47

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.  Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.  They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.  All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.  They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,  greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’   As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.   Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.  Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah.  The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of hell twice as much as yourselves.  Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’  Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred?  And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’  You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;  one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it;  one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.  Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.  Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous,  and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;  now fill up what your ancestors measured out!  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of hell?   Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town,  so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.  Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.  Matthew 23:1-36

Evidently, Jesus was not too fond of people who act religiously for the sake of appearance.  He was pretty clear about the fact that those doing religious activities in order to enhance their reputation were not pleasing Him.  Our reputation is not the point.  His is.  Our Christian celebrity culture is a dangerous thing.  His Name is to be honored, not the name of His servants.

Humility is the hallmark of the King and His Kingdom and His true servants.  Run from anything that seeks to draw you into the limelight.  If people are going to follow you, make sure they are following you on the path to service and sacrifice rather than fame and glory.