A Head-and-Heart Disconnect

Theme/Main Idea:  If we are more concerned with our own status than with having a correct perspective of Jesus, we will have a view of ourselves that allows for our own arrogance and for the mistreatment others.


Today’s text occurs near the end of a series of questions asked by the religious leaders of the day to entrap, even incriminate Jesus. Jesus skillfully handled each attempt to challenge his authority, and now he turns the tables. Jesus asks the scribes a question that would test both their minds and their hearts. His question was meant to separate knowledge from understanding.

  • What is the difference between knowledge and understanding?


41 But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

43 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Verse 41 is full of pronouns. “He” refers to Jesus, “they” refers to the religious leaders of the day, and “them” likely refers to both the scribes and the people listening. For the sake of clarity, reread verse 41 inserting the proper people groups.  
  2. At this time, all Jews were well aware that the term “David’s son” (or Son of David) was the prophetical title for the coming Messiah. Knowing this, what answer was Jesus looking for when he asked how the Lord (vs. 42) could also be David’s son (vs. 44)?
  3. What would the scribes be admitting if they answered Jesus’ question correctly?
  4. In Jesus’ view, what did the scribes do to heap condemnation on themselves? If they had knowledge of the Scriptures, why did they act this way?
  5. How do you live out pride and desire for recognition? How should your understanding of who Christ is inform that behavior?


The religious leaders of Jesus’ day should have been the first to recognize the divinity of Jesus. After all, they had taught the Messianic prophecies their entire lives. But there was a disconnect between what they knew in their heads and what they applied in their hearts. Yes, the scribes received “greater condemnation” because of the way they elevated themselves and demeaned others. However, these actions were simply the outward evidence of their disbelief—their fundamental misunderstanding of the character of the God they claimed to serve.    

  • Ask God to reveal to you any area of your life where you are like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
  • Pray that you would be humble and kind because of your understanding of who Jesus is.