Matthew 23:6-10

Mat 23:6 (KJB)
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

Then after Jesus had attacked their innate hypocrisy, He then goes on to expose their desire for honor. The Pharisees were more desirous to gain honor for themselves than to honor God through their lives. They had desired to have the best seats in any feast which they attended. They desired to have the most prestigious place on the couches which surrounded the banquet table. In the synagogues, the elders would occupy the elevated seats in front which faced the congregation. The back of the seats faced the Holy of Holies. This set up caused the elders to be in full view of the people. The majority of churches are set up this way placing the pastor and maybe an elder or two in full view of the congregation.

Mat 23:7 (KJB)
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Then they loved to hear people greet them in the marketplace by their official title or their academic title. Public greetings and acknowledgement was something else that they craved because it brought another moment of notoriety. They also loved to be called “Rabbi” which interpreted means “my great one” or “my master.” It is an Aramaic title of respect given to teachers. It would basically be equal to the honorary Doctorate given to preachers today. One such degree would be Doctor of Divinity. They had desired for people to submit to their human authority or academic achievement instead of searching the Scriptures. This is a problem in today’s churches where many Christians will believe that whatever their pastor says is true and they never check a thing out in Scripture.

Mat 23:8 (KJB)
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Jesus then exhorts His listeners to not to seek such titles. The religious leaders love of honor was reflected in their love for titles. Now this does not mean you cannot get a college degree or a Master’s or Doctorate. What Jesus is claiming here is that we Christians have one “Rabbi” and that is the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us His Holy Spirit to teach us the Scriptures. The Pharisees who took this title had claimed a final authority for their teaching. Unfortunately there are those in the church who believe their word is final authority. The reality is that the Bible is the believer’s authority as it is illuminated by the Holy Spirit. No believer is the final authority, instead they must go to the Bible with an open spirit to learn, whether I agree or not, truth is truth. All Christians are equal because the Holy Spirit indwells us all equally. When you talk about Rabbi and titles like that, Jesus is also cautioning us to make sure that we are not under anyone’s control because of a certain teaching.

Mat 23:9 (KJB)
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

This is not to say that we are not to call our earthly fathers, father. This is referring to the fact that the Jews had always referred to the fathers such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (John 8:39 KJV) They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. By trying to connect father to some past prominent person, a grave mistake is being made, and that is, those who claim a kinship might be relying on that kinship to get them into heaven. The religious leaders in John 8 believed that Abraham was their father and they relied on that connection to place themselves above other nations. No human being has the power to impart any type of spiritual life, whether through ceremony or sacrament. We are to make sure that God is our Father which means if He is, then it means we have become saved through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 2:23 KJV) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

Mat 23:10 (KJB)
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Then the Lord Jesus cautions His hearers to disallow anyone from being their master. The word “master” in the Greek designates a person who is a leader, teacher, or guide. There are many in this world who believe they are spiritual giants or have the ability to be the guide for other people. The cults are filled with them. The Christian has only one master and that is Christ Himself. (Psa 48:14 KJV) For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. This is not to say that we reject earthly authority but here we can invoke what Jesus said to the Pharisees. Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and render unto God, the things that are God’s. While God does own everything in this universe, the distinction here is that the soul and mind belongs to God, especially those who have been redeemed. When we give our minds over to another man, especially of a false religion, then we are taking our minds from a spiritual authority to an earthly authority. In essence, we are giving to Caesar what belongs to God. (1 Cor 2:16 KJV) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is given to every believer because of regeneration and we must never give it back to the world.