“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.'” “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” Matthew 23:1-12; 25:45-46
Jesus’s scathing remarks about the scribes and Pharisees might have been confusing to His hearers. After all, those publicly religious leaders were to be revered, even feared, as the perfect role models of righteousness and authority. Jesus was condemning them? Yes, because He knew their hearts. Their teaching may have aligned with God’s commands, but their motives and actions did not match. They paraded their religious costumes, flaunted their self-righteous legalism, and pompously relished attention for their esteemed positions. Inwardly they were corrupt; life was “all about me.”
Before condemning them for their hypocrisy, where are we guilty of the same? When have I looked down on someone for foolish choices, ungodly behavior, rash words, seedy involvements, and failed to consider my own self-righteous attitude, favoritism, love of ease, fear of man, secret indulgences, stingy grace? Where am I culpable for measuring my behavior against others’, and neglecting measurement against God’s holy standards of selfless servanthood, humility, preferring others before myself? Where have I chosen whom to love and forgive? (Matthew 5:44-48; Ephesians 2:3-4; Philippians 4:32)
The Lord calls us to servanthood, in our mindset and in our actions, doing all as unto Him, even in the high positions He entrusts to us. Our best Teacher is Jesus, our loving Father is God, our only Master is the King of kings. We are to be adorned with His righteousness, filled with His Spirit, and yielded to His service and honor. (Isaiah 61:10; Ephesians 5:15; Colossians 3:23)
Lord, check me whenever I make life all about me, and shape my deepest heart’s desire to be all about Thee. Capture my every affection and ounce of vitality that I give You full attention, to the exaltation of Your grace and glory.