Bible Study Lesson – Matthew 23:1-12
Not sure who first said this but I heard it from one of my favorite speakers, Zig Ziglar.
No matter, the statement is certainly true, which is why Jesus said to watch the religious leaders and guard against their deceit.
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses.”
What does this mean? Well, partially it means they had placed themselves high above the people and became leaders and Rabbis. But Jesus said there is but One teacher.
Pharisaism – Jesus Warns Against Religious Leaders
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying:
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
But the greatest among you shall be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. – Matthew 23:1-12 NASB
Humility and Exaltation
“Do as I say; not as I do.”
Another old saying summarizes what Jesus was talking about when He said that the Pharisees “tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
This is not to say that everything the Pharisees taught was wrong or evil. They taught the commandments of God and knew them by heart.
The problems arose when the religious leaders began to interpret the law of Moses and proceeded to put their interpretations above God’s law.
To Serve? Or to Gain Power?
The Pharisees were beginning to become more interested in power and recognition by telling the people to obey their man-made laws. At the same time, they were ignoring them.
It’s easy to tell someone else how to live their lives but can we do that if our lives are a shamble? I don’t think so.
Why Did Jesus Warn against the Pharisees?
Jesus did not warn the people about the Pharisees because of the laws they taught. He had observed the way they lived and knew who they were.
Let’s face it; they were not very good examples to the people they were teaching. The Pharisees many times put themselves above God.
The Living Example for Us
Christ was an excellent example as He put Himself below man and died on the cross for us.
In other words, He had a servant’s heart which is what Christ asks us to do.
Setting an example is tough but reading Scripture and praying for guidance is a good starting point.
The question is; are we good examples for people to follow or do we just preach the words?
Love in Christ
If you would like to learn more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to go here.
Filed under: Matthew