Sunday, June 16, 2013


One of the most ignored or most misunderstood teachings of Jesus is found in Matthew 23:9, which says, "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."  Much earlier in Matthew (v. 6:9), Jesus made it quite clear that the believer's Father is His Father.  He said, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name."  So, is the name "Father" to be reserved for the first Person of the Trinity?   

If your answer is yes, then why does the largest denomination of Christianity in the world, the Roman Catholic Church, call their priests "Father?" And, why do the vast majority of English speaking people, religious or not, Christian or not, recognize their parents as Mother and Father? 

Perhaps one needs to look at the context of Matthew 23:9, in order to find out exactly why Jesus made that statement.  In context, He was warning His disciples about the hypocrites who dress in order to be viewed as spiritual leaders by others; they loved to be recognized as authorities on God's Word (v. 5-6). 

In verses 23:7-8, the Pharisees and Scribes wanted to be called "Rabbi," which is from the Greek ῥαββί (rhabbi), meaning "master" or "teacher."  Jesus responded to the "master" usage of the word by saying "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ" (v. 10).  Here, as in verse eight, the word, "master" comes from the Greek καθηγητής (kathēgētēs), meaning "a guide; a person after whom one should model his life." Today, we would see them as "desiring to be considered a role model."  Basically, the entire chapter addresses what Jesus taught previously: they were "blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Mt. 15:14).

If Jesus, or the Holy Spirit (Who inspired Matthew when he wrote his Gospel), meant that the word "father" was to only be used for the Father of Jesus, then why would Matthew us the word "father" sixteen times with reference to human fathers, out of the fifty-four times he used the word?  Obviously, what Jesus was objecting to, was the Scribes and the Pharisees wanting to be reverenced by men.  The word "reverend" only appears once in the Scriptures, and it is reserved for God:  "He sent redemption unto His people: He hath commanded His covenant for ever: holy and reverend is His name" (Ps. 111:9).

Like "Reverends," Priests might want to remember, Jesus humbled Himself!    


No comments:

Post a Comment