MATT 23 - ELEVATING MEN AND RELIGIOUS TITLES
In Matt 23: 1-12, Jesus warns his disciples and the multitude concerning the religious leaders of that day, (the Scribes and the Pharisees) and their desires to be elevated above men. One way men were elevating themselves above others was - the taking on of religious titles, titles like: Rabbi, Father and Master.
Matt 23: 5-7, reads this way, “all their works they do to be seen of men...and they love the uppermost rooms at feast, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” Jesus went on to say, in verse 8, “BUT BE YE NOT CALLED RABBI: for one is your Master even Christ....” Do men call you Rabbi? Do you call men Rabbi? No doubt since it’s wrong to call a man Rabbi, it’s wrong to be called the same.
Matt 24:9 Reads, “AND CALL NO MAN FATHER UPON THE EARTH: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Does this remind you of most of the religious leaders of our day? We all have biological fathers. We wouldn’t be here without them. When Jesus said, “for one is your Father which is in heaven”, Jesus, no doubt had in mind, God the Father; i.e., their heavenly Father.
Do you address anyone on earth as, “father” in a religious sense? Are you being called, “father”? Take, for example: Instead of being called Mr. Smith or Brother Smith, do others address you as “Father Smith?” Do you demand such a title? Certainly, since it’s wrong to call a man, “father (as a religious title), it would likewise be wrong to be called “father” in the same way. If not why not Jesus went on to say that we are not even to accept being called by a religious title!
Matt. 23:10 reads, “NEITHER BE YE CALLED MASTERS: for one is your Master even (namely) Christ.” Do you condone the use of religious titles when men and women address you? Do you practice things in religion just because it’s what you’ve been taught? Or
because, “it’s the way we’ve always done it?” Have you sought approval from the New Testament for everything you say or do in religion? The Bible teaches us that, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Col. 3:17 To do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, is to do all things by his authority. Do you have authority from Christ to call a man Rabbi, Father or Master? It may be that you’ve adopted the use of similar titles (Reverend, Pastor Bishop, etc.,) when being addressed or addressing others? Jesus said that religious titles are used to elevate leaders above others.
Jesus went on to say, “BUT HE THAT IS GREATEST AMONG YOU SHALL BE YOUR SERVANT. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23:11, 12. Do you want to exalt yourself? Or do you want God to exalt you? If we want to be exalted by God, then we need to humble ourselves. Finally, We have this warning from Jesus, “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the very word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Jn. 12:48