Centered on Christ
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Centered on Christ

Jesus’ Warning to Teachers and Preachers

A yellow sign that says, “Warning Ahead.”
Photo by Breana Panaguiton on Unsplash

Jesus warned people about hypocritical teachers and preachers of God’s Word.

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matthew 23:1–4)

“They say and do not do.”

The scribes and Pharisees were guilty of placing heavy burdens on others — but they weren’t about to place that same burden on themselves!

They certainly weren’t going to help anyone carry the heavy burden they had forced others to carry.

Some teachers and preachers are guilty of the same thing today — binding their own opinions and traditions on people.

Jesus’ warns us of such teachers and preachers.

They love to be seen.

But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.

But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:5–12)

These teachers and preachers would get involved — when it meant others would see them. They always dressed up — so that people would know just how holy and righteous they were.

They loved to sit in prominent places at gatherings so everyone would see them and know how important they were. They loved it when people called them “Rabbi,” — which means “my master,” and it was an official title of great honor.

Jesus warned people about this kind of behavior from teachers and preachers. The greatest would be a humble servant rather than enjoying the spotlight and honor.

His warning to us today.

I know many teachers and preachers like our Lord — humble individuals who care more about God’s Word than their own opinions and care more about serving others than their own “honor.”

I’ve also come across some teachers and preachers who are precisely the kind of people Jesus warned about in Matthew 23 — they love to be thought of as “somebody.”

They hold their opinions over the heads of their brethren and bind them as if it was God’s Word.

They love to speak on the distinguished lectureships and gospel meetings for the honor it brings them.

As teachers and preachers, we should be careful to listen to the warning of Jesus in this chapter — could it be that we have become more like the scribes and Pharisees than we like to admit?

It’s always best to listen to God’s Word and see things as God does.



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Jameson Steward

Jameson Steward

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