Jesus said “Beware of the scribes” and went on to explain why in the rest of the verse (Mark 12:38-40 – “…who like ot walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have 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.”
These men did in fact teach out of the scriptures. This did worship the Lord Almighty, the One True God, the God of Abraham. For all intensive purposes, they really believed everything the Jewish law had taught them to believe. So why does Jesus say they will receive the “greater condemnation” and what exactly does that mean.
First for the WHY. While these men DID teach about God, they did NOT do it because they totally believed the teachings, they did it for power. They had found a way to thread the needle between the Jewish teachings and still hold onto the power of the Roman Empire. They were fakers. No longer were they seeking the truth about the scriptures, arguing them to gain wisdom. They had reached a point where they simply said and did what would help them gain more power. Jesus would even call them “evil and adulterous” (Matthew 16:4).
They were evil because of their ill intent. Instead of seeking to Glorify God, they sought only to do what kept them in power, even if it meant killing an innocent man. They were adulterous because they were no longer happy with one union, that to God. They had to be united to the Roman Empire as well. They were attempting to serve two masters and as what usually happens, either they fail at both or end up serving one over the other.
But beyond all this, my curiosity really takes me to the end of this scripture where Jesus said they “will receive the greater condemnation.” Greater than what?
Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And we know that without Christ Jesus, we are all under condenmation. So when Jesus says that these ‘fakers’ will receive a greater condemnation, is He saying that they will receive even a harsher punishment than those that never claimed to know God?
This is the question I will leave you with. Instead of answering it, I want to know what you think. What exactly is “greater condemnation”?