Matthew 23

What does it say?
Jesus spoke to the crowds and the disciples about the scribes and the Pharisees. He said that they have seated themselves in the chair of Moses. He said, therefore, do as they say but do not do as they do. They like to seek honor before men and to be called  Rabbi. However, Jesus said to not be called teacher because one is your teacher and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on the earth father because one is your Father and he is in heaven. Do not be called leaders because one is your leader and he is the Christ. Jesus gave eight woes to the scribes and Pharisees and he called them hypocrites because they lay burdens on people that they are not willing to do themselves. Jesus said that he wanted to gather all of Jerusalem together like children and protect them, but they were unwilling; therefore, they will not see him again until they say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Ps 118:26) 

What does it mean?
Many of the words of Jesus get explained away. I think that this is done out of human desire to be honored. Many in the church today are called teacher, father and leader. They are honored but Jesus did not want it to be this way. Do we need teachers? Do we need pastors? Do we need elders? The answer is yes, but they should not think of themselves as better than anyone else in the church, nor should the congregation elevate these persons. Teachers, pastors and leaders need to be very careful with what they burden the church. We are all brothers and sisters with the same Spirit. We are all children of God, adopted by the same Father. We are all subjects of King Jesus. No one in the church should seek honor for themselves and no one in the church should be honored above anyone else in the church. All should think of everyone as equal. No one should think themselves better than the other. Nor should anyone burden another with something that they are not truly willing to do themselves. Nor should anyone think themselves less than anyone else in the church. We are all brothers and sisters. We all have the same Spirit, the same heavenly Father and the same King, Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall I do?
I shall not elevate teachers, pastors and elders above anyone else in the congregation. I shall not seek to be honored above anyone else in the congregation. I shall not burden my brothers and sisters with anything that I am not willing to do myself. I shall think of everyone in the congregation as equal to everyone else in the congregation. In a Bible study, what one has to say is as worth listening to as much as the other. It is the Spirit who interprets Scripture. It is the Father who loves us, he gave his Son that we should not perish but have everlasting life. It is the Son (Jesus Christ) who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. I shall keep this in mind always. 

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