|Posted by Brian Linebarger on September 30, 2012 at 1:55 PM|
The 23rd chapter of Mathews Gospel is a very rich chapter, and one that every Christian, especially those who are in or aspire to leadership should not only read but memorize and apply to our daily lives. Today we are going to look at the first few verses of this chapter, and I encourage you all to read it for yourself and really try to apply it.
Many times, Jesus did not mince words. Yes He spoke in parables a lot, but there were other times when he spoke plain and did not care if those who He was speaking to or about were offended. We have to learn to do the same. To emulate The Lord in everything. There is a place for parables but there also comes a time that you must stand up and speak up.
In our Chapter today, Jesus did just that……
Matthew 23:5-8 (KJV)
5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
BAM……. Right between the eyes with this one. There are so many people today who claim to be Ministers and yet they fit this description. Anything and everything they do they make sure that everyone knows about it. Jesus tells us here they make “broad their phylacteries”. Phylacteries are small boxes that contained scriptures and were worn (and still are in some cases) by those of the Jewish Faith during weekday morning prayers. Of course the bigger the box the more devout they would seem… They also “enlarge the borders of their garments”. This is referring to the robes that the Pharisees would wear that denoted their status.
Now, there is nothing wrong with wearing nice clothing, and there is nothing wrong with showing respect to those who The Lord has put in a position of authority over you. These verses when taken in context, are dealing with those in the positions who let it go to their heads.
Verse 5: those who help those in need and then brag about it anywhere they can, and those who HAVE to have the most elaborate vestments, or the most expensive suits.
Verse 6: those who insist on special treatment because of the office they are in.
Verse 7: those who go out of their way when in public to make sure that those around them know that they are important, and those who insist on being called “reverend”, “bishop”, “most reverend”, etc.
Verse 8 is the one that is probably the hardest one for a lot of Ministers to deal with and is the one that is often ignored. This is a clear prohibition by The Lord against using religious titles for your own vanity.
What do I mean by that? I mean that if you use a religious title no matter if it is Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Deacon, Evangelist, etc in order to “set yourself apart” from other Christians then you are going against the Word Of Our Lord. The same thing goes for wearing special clothing, vestments, etc.
What it all comes down to my friends is, like so many other things, intent.
If you use a title solely as a designation of the office that The Lord has placed you in for the purpose of letting people know that they can come to you when they need help (for example a Physician putting Doctor on his business card) then there is nothing wrong with using that title. If on the other hand you are using that title in order to get special treatment, because you think you deserve to be “set apart”, or you think that you are better than others because you have a Degree hanging on your wall, then you have a problem and a big problem at that…………………
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.