Mark 12:36-40

Mark 12:36 (KJB)
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

To one who is unsaved and only sees the Scriptures through unsaved eyes and understanding, a statement like the one above would cause one to stumble. (2 Pet 3:16 KJV) As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. The fact that they had rejected Jesus as Messiah while the Scriptures clearly pointed to Him, caused their own destruction. Jesus wanted to show them that the Messiah was more than just a political and national leader but was also the heavenly God man who came to them as prophesied in the Scriptures. The Messiah is Lord over David and in this passage, it is God the Father telling God the Son to sit on His right hand until all the enemies of earth are subdued. (Mat 26:64 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. When Jesus went back to Heaven there is a period between His first and second coming where all the forces and minions of Satan will be finally subdued and destroyed. Not having the Holy Spirit would trip the leaders up on this understanding. What Jesus did was to combine two Scriptures:

(Psa 110:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

(Dan 7:13 KJV) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Mark 12:37 (KJB)
David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

Then Jesus asks the question above which caused the leaders to become confused because how could David refer to the Messiah as Lord and in the same breath refer to Him as his son? What the leaders had failed to realize was that God the Father had intervened in history and made His Son the Messiah and Son of David. So not only was Jesus the son of David but He was also the Son of God. These questions had plagued the Pharisees and Sadducees because their head was filled with all kinds of education and commentary from the Talmud. The common people heard Jesus gladly because they were able to take what Jesus said on faith with clear minds. Sometimes the more education you have, the more it interferes with your faith.

Mark 12:38 (KJB)
And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,

Then they loved to hear people greet them in the marketplace by their official title or their academic title. Public greetings and acknowledgement was something else that they craved because it brought another moment of notoriety. They also loved to be called “Rabbi” which interpreted means “my great one” or “my master.” It is an Aramaic title of respect given to teachers. It would basically be equal to the honorary Doctorate given to preachers today. One such degree would be Doctor of Divinity. They had desired for people to submit to their human authority or academic achievement instead of searching the Scriptures. This is a problem in today’s churches where many Christians will believe that whatever their pastor says is true and they never check a thing out in Scripture.

Mark 12:39 (KJB)
And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:

Then after Jesus had attacked their innate hypocrisy, He then goes on to expose their desire for honor. The Pharisees were more desirous to gain honor for themselves than to honor God through their lives. They had desired to have the best seats in any feast which they attended. They desired to have the most prestigious place on the couches which surrounded the banquet table. In the synagogues, the elders would occupy the elevated seats in front which faced the congregation. The back of the seats faced the Holy of Holies. This set up caused the elders to be in full view of the people. The majority of churches are set up this way placing the pastor and maybe an elder or two in full view of the congregation.

Mark 12:40 (KJB)
Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

In the Talmud it was written that a man could appoint a scribe to be the executor of his will and to take care of his property and his widow. This was normally a paid function but sometimes the scribes would impose excessive fees on them for everything and eventually they would dwindle away all the substance that the widow had left and of course, it all went into the pockets of the scribe. Eventually the widow could not pay the bills and then the house was sold and the scribe would take his large cut and the widow would probably be left to beg while the scribe stole all her goods. (Exo 22:22 KJV) Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. They neglected that the law provided protection for widows but the greed driven scribes did not care. This is why Jesus called them hypocrites because they taught one thing and did another.

The religious leaders would make long prayers just for appearance sake. It was supposed to show everyone in the community how pious and religious they were. However, their prayers were nothing and meant nothing to God because they were done out of a theatrical heart and not a real heart. It was done before men for approbation. (Prov 28:9 KJV) He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. In the book of Proverbs, God calls that type of praying an abomination. On one hand they destroy the houses of the widows and then pray long prayers to give an air of piety. Hypocrisy of this sort will receive the greater condemnation. (James 3:1 KJV) My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. Even James tells us that those who are false teachers and hypocrites will receive the greater condemnation.