Jesus says to reject all religious titles, and to call no one Father. He denounces the religious leaders, and he weeps over Jerusalem.
and to his disciples. This chapter addresses ominous issues. Jesus did not direct his message solely at the crowd. He also addressed his own disciples.
sat on Moses’ seat. That is, they have made themselves your religious leaders.
VERSE 3. All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do.
they say, and don’t do. That is, they do not practice what they preach. They are hypocrites.
don’t do their works. We should not imitate a religious leader.
VERSE 4. For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.
1 Thessalonians 1:5. and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake.
VERSE 5. But they do all their works to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad, enlarge the fringes of their garments,
all their works they do to be seen by men. Everything they do is for show. Even today some Christian become leaders simply for the recognition.
the place of honor at feasts. The next time you are at a public event where your Christian leaders are present, note where they sit. Do they sit at the “head table?”
VERSE 7. the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ by men.
VERSE 8. But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers.
But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi.’ The Greek word is Ῥαββί (“rhabbi”). It means teacher. We followers of Jesus Christ should not call anyone a teacher. In practice, however, almost all Christians ignore this prohibition entirely.
Summary: This passage prohibits us from using the word “Father” to describe any man: a biological parent, or any spiritual leader.
Call no man on the earth your father. This verse prohibits us from using the word “father” to describe any man: our biological male parent, or male spiritual leader.
father. The Greek word is πατήρ (“patér”). It means father, begetter, originator, progenitor. This verse prohibits us from using the word “Father” to describe any man.
- This verse prohibits us from calling our male parent “Father.” Instead calling him by the prohibited word “Father,” we should call him “Joe” or “Bob” or whatever his actual name is.
- There are many other words that derive from the term “Father,” such as Dad, Pop, Sir, and the like. If the word “Father” is prohibited, then its derivatives would be forbidden as well.
- Think of a military member refusing to call his superior officer “Sir.”
- In later centuries, some Christians began using this forbidden title of “Father” for their clerics. Even though they have clever rationalizations for this practice, it is forbidden by this verse.
St. Paul himself broke this rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called himself a father:
1 Corinthians 4:15. For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, you don’t have many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Good News.
David made the preposterous mistake of calling king Saul his father:
1 Samuel 24:11. Moreover, my father, behold, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and didn’t kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor disobedience in my hand, and I have not sinned against you, though you hunt for my life to take it.
Luke 17:13. They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
VERSE 11. But he who is greatest among you will be your servant.
VERSE 12. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
VERSE 13. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
VERSE 14. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don’t enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter.
VERSE 15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Gehenna as yourselves.
1 Thessalonians 1:6. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
VERSE 16. “Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’
VERSE 17. You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
VERSE 18. ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?’
VERSE 19. You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
VERSE 20. He therefore who swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it.
VERSE 21. He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who has been living in it.
VERSE 22. He who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it.
VERSE 23. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.
VERSE 24. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!
VERSE 25. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness.
VERSE 26. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.
VERSE 27. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
VERSE 28. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
VERSE 29. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous,
VERSE 30. and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
VERSE 31. Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets.
VERSE 32. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
VERSE 33. You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna?
VERSE 34. Therefore behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city;
VERSE 35. that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar.
Zachariah son of Barachiah. The Lord Jesus Christ might possibly be speaking of Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest:
2 Chronicles 24:20. The Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people, and said to them, “God says, ‘Why do you disobey the LORD’s commandments, so that you can’t prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has also forsaken you.’ ”
all these things will come upon this generation. This is a very heavy statement. They will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time.
VERSE 37. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!
I would have gathered your children together. Jesus longs for us to be united. He is the source of our unity. We gather around him.
VERSE 38. Behold, your house is left to you desolate.
VERSE 39. For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.