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Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

Matthew 23:1-12 – Prominence and Humility

|| Mark 12:38, 39; Luke 20:45, 46

MT23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds as well as his disciples, saying: MT23:2 “The Scribes and Pharisees sat down on the seat of Moses.[1] MT23:3 So, everything they preach to you, do and observe;[2] but do not imitate their actions,[3] for they do not practice what they preach.[4] MT23:4 They tie on heavy burdens[5] and impose these on the shoulders of humankind while they are unwilling to budge [these loads] with a single finger.[6] MT23:5 All their [religious] works they do to be viewed by humans.[7] They broaden their phylacteries[8] and they enlarge the fringes of their garments.[9] MT23:6 They prefer the prominent place at suppers[10] and the front seats in the synagogues.[11] MT23:7 [They enjoy] greetings in the market square[12] and to be called ‘Rabbi’[13] by people. MT23:8 But, you [disciples] should not be addressed as ‘Rabbi’ for only One is your teacher.[14] All of you [disciples] are brothers.[15] MT23:9 Nor should [you disciples permit others] on earth to address you as ‘Father’[16] for One is your Father – the Heavenly One. MT23:10 Nor should you disciples be addressed as ‘Leaders’[17] because your Leader is only the Messiah. MT23:11 But the ‘greatest’ among you will be your servant. MT23:12 For whoever will exalt self will be humiliated;[18] and whoever humbles self will be exalted.

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[1] Sat down on the seat of Moses: Or, KNX: the place from which Moses used to teach; TCNT: now occupy the chair of Moses; PME: speak with the authority of Moses. Compare Exodus 18:13.

[2] Do and observe: Or, RSV: so practice and observe whatever they tell you. Jesus does not undermine their teaching of the Law of Moses.

[3] Do not imitate their actions: Or, BER: do not behave as they do; TCNT: do not follow their example.

[4] They do not practice what they preach: Or, KJV: they say, and do not; RSV: they preach, but do not practice; KNX: for they tell you one thing and do another.

[5] They tie on heavy burdens: Or, KJV: they bind heavy burdens; KNX: they fasten up packs too heavy; PME: they pile up back-breaking burdens.

[6] They are unwilling to budge [these loads] with a single finger: Or, TCNT: they decline themselves to lift a finger to move them.

[7] To be viewed by humans: Or, NEB: whatever they do is done for show.

[8] They broaden their phylacteries: The Greek is PHYLACTERIA. The Jewish Encyclopedia (1976, Vol. X, p. 21) states: “The laws governing the wearing of phylacteries were derived by the Rabbis from four Biblical passages (Deuteronomy 6:8; 11:18; Exodus 13:9). While these passages were interpreted literally by most commentators,… the Rabbis held that the general law only was expressed in the Bible, the application and elaboration of it being entirely matters of tradition and inference.” These were small boxes containing Bible verses strapped around the forehead and wrist. These Jewish clergy made them large for show of their extreme religiosity. Or, KNX: boldly written are the texts they carry; GDSP: they wear wide Scripture texts as charms; TAY: they act holy by wearing on their arms large prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside.

[9] They enlarge the fringes of their garments: See Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 22:12. Or, KNX: deep is the hem of their garments; GDSP: they wear large tassels; TAY: by lengthening the memorial fringes of their robes.

[10] They prefer the prominent place at suppers: Or, KJV: they love the uppermost rooms at feasts; RHM: the first couch in the chief meals; RSV: place of honor; RIEU: the best places at banquets; PME: seats of honor at dinner parties. Compare the counsel of the Nazarene at Luke 14:7, 10.

[11] The front seats in the synagogues: Note this was still a problem among Christians (James 2:2-4).

[12] [They enjoy] greetings in the market square: Or, NASB: respectful greetings; WMS: to be greeting with honor in public places. We can see these self-righteous, condescending clergy bestowing their weak smiles and blessings upon those who raise their voices in praise.

[13] Rabbi: The term occurs 18 times in three Gospels and is absent from the Gospel of Luke. The title is a surrogate for “teacher.” (John 1:38) In time the title was elevated to “my great one; my excellent one.” Research the word Rabbi.

[14] Only One is your teacher: While all Christians should be teachers (Hebrews 5:12; Titus 2:3), and while there are among them those recognized as “teachers” (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; James 3:1-3) the entire Body of Christ understands who the real Teacher is: Jesus of Nazareth.

[15] Brothers: Jesus speaks to his male disciples. See notes on Matthew 12:50. Despite gifts and offices the general atmosphere in the church must be a brotherhood.

[16] Address you as ‘Father’: Unfortunately later in the history of the Church clergy accepted the title “Father” despite the command of their Lord. They will have to bear this responsibility. Often it is a matter of a teacher or leader refusing certain titles. Job 32:21 declares, “And on an earthling man I shall not bestow a title.” (NWT)

[17] Leaders: Or, KJV: neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master. In Spanish such a man is called Maestro and this is not fitting for a shepherd of the flock. There is a different between a “Leader” and one who takes the lead. Compare Hebrews 13:7, 17.

[18] Whoever will exalt self will be humiliated: Or, KJV: whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

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Related articles

  1. Matthew Chapter A Day – 23
  2. Read Matt 23 before saying anything
  3. Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1
  4. “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant.” ~Jesus
  5. Who were the pharisees?
  6. The Good & Bad of the Pharisees
  7. Pharisees and Scribes
  8. “Stay Humble – God Will Expose”

Preparing for the most important weekend of the year 2018

Yesterday was remembered by many true lovers of God that iniquities will capture the wicked. In Jewish families children could play with a rattle to drive the evil away.

For sure we can see lots of evil coming into this world and even trying to enter each household by way of that small screen, which has become today a big screen showing a lot of sex and interchange of partners like it is a normal behaviour. Lots of programs on lots of channels bring the same sort of voyeurism and sex from early  morning until late at night.

When we look at this world and see how we also get more people who try to silence believers in the One God or want to silence parents who wish to bring up their children according to their religion (like yesterday Darya Safai in the TV-debate on Terzake on Canvas), prohibiting to be clothed according to the faith or wearing religious symbols.

The recent attacks on Jews and reactions against Muslims, plus people demanding others to accept their trinitarian Catholic faith should worry a little bit, because we can find serious problematic racist and neo-Nazi websites.

You may think that the best way is to let it all happen and to stay quiet in the home or not to catch the eye. We must not be dressed conspicuously and may be unobtrusive, but it would be wrong to stay silent and not to react to those who discriminate and do bad to those who have an other religion.

Esther breaking the silence of her birth or nationality, telling the king she is a Jew

Yesterday we had the day that the Jews remembered how Esther broke her silence and revealed her nationality to save the Jews. She could have kept silent and further enjoyed her life as queen, but she took the risk and spoke up. By doing so she saved many Jews of the death. Therefore the Jews celebrated yesterday their liberation, but shall continue these days to remember an even bigger liberation, which Christians also should take at heart.

In a few weeks time we shall come to remember how God saved His people from slavery and how He guided them and helped them through the dessert. We too shall come to remember those events and also shall remember how Jesus too came together in the upper room to commemorate that special occurrence. Be a peacemaker these days and come to invite people for that most importatn weekend of the year.

In preparation for 14 and 15-22 Nisan let us make ourself clean to come that night of March the 30th together to show to God how we love him and how we appreciate Jesus for what he has done for us. We must be sure we do not defile our eyes with things we better not see. Let yourself not be caught by those popular television programs which want to show you the bottom of the soul of man. Make sure the coming weeks you shall settle disputes which were still going on. Patch up any quarrel and make an effort to make friends again with those who left you aside.

The coming weeks you have time enough to depart from inequities and to cleanse yourself. Let out your mouth flow what you belief. Take the time to consider how the modern gadgets and media may be driving a wedge between us and God. Let make sure that we do not become part of the world and brake all the chains from this world. Break away, break down and break free and focus on God and the Salvation He prepared for us.

Now is the time that we prepare to have a clean presence on April the first when we celebrate Pesach and show our thankfulness for the liberation of any slavery and for the possibility that Jesus created for us to be clean to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Preceding

Belgians seeming to love dating programs and relation-tests

Preparing for 14 Nisan

Pesach and a lot of brokenness in the world

14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast

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Additional articles

  1. Purim or Ta’aniet Estêr
  2. Speaking up and Celebration of Purim
  3. Not making a runner
  4. Worthy partakers of the body of Christ
  5. Preparation for Passover
  6. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  7. Today’s thought “Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity” (January 15)
  8. Extra verses to remember by The Zeal for the Name to be proclaimed
  9. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  10. Gain Christ, trusting Jehovah
  11. Thinking about fear for the Loving God and an Invitation for 14 Nisan

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Related

  1. The holiday of Purim
  2. Morning Reading: Tue, 26 Dec – Esther 6-10 ~ Purim: sorrow turned into joy
  3. Purim, Exile, and Redemption
  4. Deceit Meets Truth at Purim
  5. Bruised for our iniquities
  6. Depart From Iniquity
  7. Our Beliefs Spring From Our Mouth!

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