TO BE HUMBLE
Humble yourself before God today as you meet him in his Word.
Read Matthew 23:1–12
A Warning Against Hypocrisy
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
a Matthew 23:5 That is, boxes containing Scripture verses, worn on forehead and arm
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow important is it to you that others think well of you?
We live in a world that’s driven by individualism—a selfie-obsessed culture where people can spend considerable time creating flattering narratives about themselves on social media, competing for “likes,” attention and praise.
In this passage, Jesus doesn’t mince words. He has no time for Israel’s religious leaders who focus on status and seek approval from others: “everything they do is done for people to see” (5), “they love the place of honor” (6) and “they love to be greeted with respect” (7). Worse still, they burden others with their religious decrees (4) based around legalism and outward displays of holiness (4).
Jesus’ followers are to be driven by different values: “the greatest among you will be your servant” (11). And we need not be burdened by rules and regulations (4) because we are liberated by Jesus’ offer that all who come to him “weary and burdened” will find rest for their souls; “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28,29).
What do you spend most of your time focused on? What does your time revolve around? What does that say about your relationship with God? Take time to prioritize your affections today.
Thank You, Jesus, that You have released us from the burden of keeping rules in order to boost our egos. Help us to authentically serve others as we live joyfully for You.