Items posted on 21 July 2010
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Matthew 23.3-12 – Self Glorification
Posted: 21 July 2010 in Matthew

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

It struck me that this passage relates to the one in Matt 7.21-23, which I posted about a few days ago. There Jesus gives a more general warning against pursuing our own projects, rather than God’s will, no matter how religiously inspired those projects may appear to be. Here he is warning specifically against an ostentatious piety, which is motivated primarily by a desire for self glorification, rather than by a desire to glorify God. The self absorption, and disregard for God’s will, which flows is the very opposite of what God requires of us.

Following on from the above passage, there is a series of what are perhaps the most caustic comments ever to leave the lips of Jesus.

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