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 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 have people call them 'Rabbi.' 8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master 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 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, 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.
(Teaching in the Temple- Tissot?)
Thoughts: Jesus made the stinging accusation that "everything they do is for people to see." The opposite would have been that "they only cared that God saw them." The scribes were thus seeking their own glory, not God's. To serve the great God, we must recognize His greatness, and our own humility compared to it. So we are not to pursue titles, or praise, or to exalt ourselves. Rather we are to humbly pursue God.
Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to escape my pride. As I look upon your greatness and majesty, help me to see my own humility, and that my value is found in serving you.
John Calvin abridged: Jesus gave this warning in concern that people not discard the Law which is our natural tendency. This is especially true when our leaders and pastor's lives are dissolute- not corresponding to their words. Many thus intentionally accuse pastors so that they may have (false) excuse to sin. In attacking the scribes, Christ first vindicates the Law. Yet, we also need to see that Christ was not so afraid of offending others that he did not expose ungodly teachers as they deserved. They have no desire other than to please people and exalt themselves. An upright worshiper of God should never give into the ostentatious but empty parade by which hypocrites puff themselves up.