The Worship of Self: Matthew 23:6-12
“6) They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7) and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8) But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9) Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10) Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11) But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12) Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭6‬-‭12‬
Jesus proceeded to unpack the next problem with the Pharisees. They climbed into the seat that John called “the boastful pride of life.” (Read 1 John 2:15-17) This can be summarized as the “Position Sins.”
They viewed value and status in life by earning degrees, climbing the corporate ladder, gaining titles and being in positions of power and influence. They demanded people to honor them because they were ordained as a Rabbi, became a recognized teacher or influential leader or gained the office of a chief priest or scribe. This power grab is a dead end road.
Beware my friend; true significance in life comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ and not worldly status. Degrees, titles and positions do not crown a person with value. God looks at the heart.
Do you have righteous character? Are you filled with honesty and integrity? Do you have a servants heart? Is your relationship with God real, sincere and full of grace and godly wisdom? Are you walking in the Spirit and bearing fruit for the glory of God? Do you serve to be noticed by men or is your life full of secret deeds of goodness known only by you and Jesus?
These are important questions. They separate godly men and women from the Pharisees Jesus was exposing in this text. Beware of self promotion and let God do the promoting in your life.
Paul captured the essence of Matthew 23:6-12 in his own testimony recorded in Philippians 3:4-11. As a former Pharisee, he had embraced a self promotion value system. He was gaining fame above his contemporaries… until he met Jesus Christ in personal salvation. Knowing Jesus radically changed His entire value system. It put him on a new path. His new ambition and goal in life became knowing Jesus Christ and sharing Him with others.
This pursuit filled all the voids in His life. It completed him. He became so servant minded that God used him to literally change the course of human history. How did it happen? Instead of focusing on self, he made Jesus Christ His consuming focus.
If you are stuck in self promotion mode like the scribes and Pharisees… Stop! Hit the brakes! Repent! Run to Jesus Christ and embrace Him as your first love. Those who are lovers of self will crash and burn. The worship of self is the highest form of idolatry.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global