In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“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.”
The Second Person of the Triune Godhead is the epitome of humility.
He was born not in a palace, but in a lowly manger, surrounded by livestock. He was a manual laborer, a carpenter, by occupation. (Contrast that with our elite class’ disdain for manual labor, for which they employ illegal aliens.) In His three years of public ministry, thousands of people flocked to see and hear Him speak, some trekking for miles on foot.
But Jesus remained humble: He did not garb Himself in fancy robes, nor did He take seats and places of honor in synagogues and banquets. On what Christians now celebrate as Palm Sunday, He entered Jerusalem riding on a mule, before adoring crowds who spread their cloaks on the road, proclaiming Him their king (Luke 19).
Contrast Jesus’ humility with the “scribes” of His time — those of high authority and influence who held important offices in public affairs. Among them were the Pharisees and Levites, with their “long robes” occupying seats of honor.
Contrast Jesus’ humility with the pomp and circumstance of church clergy today.
I am reminded of the trenchant observation by the late psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck, M.D. In his book, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, Peck warned that evil people conceal themselves, especially by camouflaging themselves as benevolent people in institutions dedicated to the public good, such as churches, synagogues, temples and, I would add, governments. Dr. Peck wrote (p. 76, footnote):
Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one’s evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? by camouflaging themselves as good.
About the video: On Dec. 31, 2019, as reported by Fox News, “A visibly annoyed Pope Francis slapped away a woman’s hand and pulled himself away from her while greeting a crowd in St. Peter’s Square.” You can hear in the video that the woman was begging the pope, “Help me.”
Ryan H. Murphy, a research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University’s School of Business, in Dallas, Texas, would agree with Dr. Peck.
In a study in 2018, “Psychopathy by U.S. State,” Murphy devised a measure to estimate the level of psychopathy for occupations and for each of the contiguous 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Murphy found that the “most disproportionately psychopathic” occupations are CEO, lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant (or politician), and that Washington, D.C., with its concentration of politicians and government workers, was the most psychopathic.
The hypocrites hiding in churches and governments should heed Jesus’ warning to them in Mark 12:40:
“They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,