Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 23:1-12

"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." -Matthew 23:1-12

To whom are these commands spoken?

Spoken to Jesus disciples and to the multitudes.

What do these commands require?

Observe whatever the Pharisees and scribes tell you to obersve, but do not imitate their works. Do what they say and not what they do. Do not be called Teacher. Do not call anyone on earth your father. He who is greatest shall be your servant.

What truths do we learn here?

There is a lot of instruction here from Jesus. It seems to be a bit of a summary of all that He has taught concerning the lifestyle of the scribes and Pharisees. First, Jesus points to their hypocrisy. They teach the law of Moses, but they do not do it. So the instruction is to do as they say and not as they do.

Second, Jesus points to their haughtiness. They exalted themselves to a place of prominence in Jewish society. They put themselves in the place of teacher of the law. God had not put them there. Jesus instruction is simple: do not be called teacher and do not call anyone on earth father. We must always keep in mind who our Teacher is. And we must always keep in mind who our Father is. God alone is our Teacher and Father.

Third, Jesus points to a much needed humility. Whoever is the greatest must also be your servant. He who exalts himself will be humbled. The idea there is that the person who lifts himself up like the Pharisees had done, would be put down, taken down from their place of prominence. Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. This means that you start humble. You see yourself as nothing and become a servant to all. That humble man will be lifted up. James 46-10 tells us the same thing.

What are the consequences for disobedience and the blessings for obedience?

If you follow the example of the Pharisees, it will lead to hypocrisy and haughtiness. But if you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, He will lift you up.

No comments:

Post a Comment