What Jesus Did! 'Severe Punishment' — Luke 20:45-47

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

[Following Jesus' rebuff to the teachers of religious law], with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, "Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished."
— Luke 20:45-47 NLT

Key Thought

Three great sins are pronounced on the religious leaders of Jesus' day:
  1. They are pretentious, loving to be recognized as important religious people.
  2. They cheat the helpless in society that they are supposed to protect.
  3. They are hypocrites trying to cover their hypocrisy by seeming to be pious.

Jesus points out that those sins bring severe punishment. Those of us who are so invested in passionately living our faith need to know that God is pleased with our passion. However, our heavenly Father does not want us to make a big show of our religious zeal, [1] especially if we live in contradiction to his will as revealed for us in Scripture.

[1] Matthew 6:1-6.

Today's Prayer

Father, may I never be guilty of the sins that Jesus condemned in these verses: the sins of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and taking advantage of the less fortunate! And, dear God, please forgive me for those times when I've wanted to appear religious but lived my life in hypocrisy and sin. Through your blessed and powerful Holy Spirit, conform me to be more like your Son each day. In his name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Proverbs 6:16-19
  • James 1:27
  • Amos 5:21-24


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Illustration of Luke 20:45-47 NLT —  Because of this, they will be severely punished.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.