Pride and Humility
13 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 23:5-12 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. 6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ 8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:5–12 NLT)
Jesus continues warning his disciples and the crowds about the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. He first addresses the leather “prayer boxes” containing scripture verses they wore on their arms and their foreheads. These boxes were a ritual attempt to obey Deuteronomy 6:8 and Exodus 13:9, 16, but Jesus said they were meaningless because they didn’t live the truth of the scripture they professed to obey.
Then Jesus addresses their love of position and status. Then their desire to be recognized publicly and called by special titles. Does Jesus mean we should never call or be called “Pastor” or “teacher” or “Father”? Jesus means we should recognize that “teacher” is a function and not a position, that “Father” is a relationship, not an office of the church, and that we’re all equal in God’s sight.
Then Jesus restates two principles he’s been talking about quite a lot recently: 1) If you want to be great, be a servant. If you want to be greatest, be servant of all! And 2) If you exalt yourself, life will humble you and if you humble yourself, life will exalt you.
Friends, the pull of pride is with us and in us. It can cause us to put on a show, to dress for status, to desire recognition and praise from others, to want a title so people will know how important we are. Intentional humility is an effective shield to protect ourselves from pride. Let’s use it!
Father, You alone are worthy of glory, honor, and praise. Don’t let me forget that! May my friends and I remember we’re all equal in your sight. Protect us from pride! Amen.