What is the meaning of Matthew 23:8-10? “But you are not to be called `Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth `father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called `teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”
The above quotation is a warning from the Lord Jesus Christ in his teachings. He was addressing the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. In scriptures, some of these people were noted to be proud and hypocritical. Jesus wanted people to understand his mission to the world and embrace it. The Lord Jesus does not approve religion. He wanted people to have eternal life. He wanted people to accept Him so they can be called sons of God.
In actual sense, bible commentaries says that the warning is against seeking titles of honour to foster pride. Obviously, we should avoid unreasonable literalism in applying such commands.
What is the biblical perspective of those who are proud?
Prov. 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech”
Prov. 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”.
If you observe the Lord’s teaching in the above chapter without taking the question in abstract, you will agree with me that what King Solomon was saying in the above passages correlates with the mind of Christ in dealing with the problems of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. They are clean outwardly, but inside them are scorpions, snakes and all kind of evils that will not grant anyone entrance to the Kingdom of God.
What is the lesson in our contemporary days?
It is not bad for one to have titles but God expects us to honour Him with our titles. Our titles should not be to oppress the poor. It should not make us feel proud as not to humble ourselves to listen to the truth. The fact that you hold a doctorate degree in theology or biblical study, does not mean that you understand the principle of rebirth. The Holy Spirit releases rebirth to as many as would ask Him.
Rev. 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
John 3:1-8: “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”
How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
When one is born again, it is the Spirit of the Lord that will control everything that person possess. As a matter of fact, the honour, the position, the knowledge, the credentials and titles will be used to His own glory.
I Cor. 15:20- 23 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn, Christ, the firstfruits, then when he comes, those who belong to him.
Deal with the the pride of your life and accept Jesus as Lord and personal Saviour today. Endeavour to die to the flesh daily if you have accepted Him and you still discover elements of pride in your life. You need to be humbled. Use whatever position the Lord has granted you to glorify His Name. The Scriptures says “What do you have that is not given to you?”
The Lord bless you as take a positive stand for Him today.
Rev Debo Adeyemo
The main thing this verse tells me is that my Father and Teacher is God. No one else deserves that title I guess in the real sense in which it is used here. The only things really worth learning come from the Teacher God because every thing he teaches is pure truth and only for my good. The only one who is my eternal Father, who loves me perfectly, is my Father God. This verse makes me aware that there is only one true Father and Teacher. Thank you Lord God who is faithful and true. Amen
I think that it may mean that we are to give no one the respect and honor that we give our heavenly father by calling them these names. He is our father, teacher, rabbi….our life line. We can look up to people but we should always be careful not to pattern ourselves after them, we should only pattern our lives after Jesus. He is the only perfect one.
Napier, April D LRN
Our Father is in Heaven. My natural father was my dad or daddy -I never called him Father. Although, during the 50’s we were told “Father knows best” and it was a popular TV show, however, such and innocent show was in direct conflict with scripture. We have one Father and He is God -it’s pretty simple. Many teach and we have all had teachers but the title “teacher” is reserved for Jesus, just as He wants us to reserve the title “Father” for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It sounds like something that doesn’t amount to much but God has a reason for everything. I do not know why He wants us to know God is our only Father (His love is perfect) and Jesus is the only one worthy to be called “teacher.” We can all teach and many can be a father but only Jesus is to be addressed as Teacher and God as Father. I don’t know where God came from, don’t know why Jesus made such a request but know enough to know, it’s best to trust and obey. Father, thank you for the teacher you sent to die for my sins.