What is the message Jesus is giving us in this passage?
ESV - 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
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If you read the following vs 9&10 it becomes clear what our Lord is talking about. He is saying that the disciples should not try to or seek to elevate themselves to greater positions than there brothers. That they should remember who the teacher of all of them is. It is a call for humility in knowing their positions as equal with each other but all subject to the one true teacher Christ. Seek not to put yourself above your fellow brethren because you all have one master Christ Jesus.
Jesus is warning his disciples not to emulate the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees (the religious leaders of their society), because they are hypocrites. In this passage from Matthew 23, verses 1-12, Jesus gives several examples to support his warning. Don't do what these leaders do, because they don't practice what they preach. They burden people down with cumbersome rules and regulations, but they don't do anything to help them. Everything they do is done for people to see. They show off their spirituality. They love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues. They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbis. Jesus says "Don't act like that". These people just show off their religiosity but their hearts are far from God. Then Jesus makes an astounding statement that turns their religious worldview upside down: "The greatest among you will be your servant [or servant of all]." Jesus is saying that in his church the leaders will be spending their time and energy serving the needs of other believers in the church. They are not to elevate themselves to positions of authority like Rabbi, Father and Teacher because they have only one Father in heaven and one Teacher, Jesus the Messiah. When Jesus ascended to heaven he sent the Holy Spirit as the Teacher in his place.
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