Teacher (part 1)

Matthew 23:8-12 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. 


  • Reflect On: Matthew 23:8-12
  • Praise God: For sending His Son to be our Teacher.
  • Offer Thanks: For the clear teaching of Jesus.
  • Confess: Any disregard for the teaching of Jesus.
  • Ask God: To give you a greater hunger to understand and practice your faith.












…As long as two thousand years ago in a place called Palestine, students and rabbis were extremely close. In fact, when a rabbi took disciples, they were linked to him for life, living in his house for several years without paying room and board in exchange for performing various kinds of personal service. The idea was to live and breathe the master’s teaching—to learn not only what he knew but also who he was, so that they could replicate both his knowledge and his character. But it was hardly a relationship of equals. Hungry for praise, some rabbis demanded their disciples show them even greater deference than a son would show a father. The rabbis Jesus criticized weren’t exactly models of humility. 


Jesus, by contrast, hadn’t served as anyone’s understudy. A carpenter who hailed from the backwater of Galilee, He had simply quit His trade and called twelve not very impressive men to follow Him in what was clearly a rabbi-disciple arrangement. The scribes and Pharisees were offended—and threatened. Who did this Jesus think He was? And how was He able to back up His teaching with so many signs and wonders? Furthermore, He didn’t talk nice—at least about them. By His words and actions, Jesus challenged the values that had shaped their lives and consolidated their power. In fact, He warned His disciples against falling into the pattern of being called “Rabbi,” pointing out that they were all brothers and that He alone was to be their Master and Teacher. 


Jesus wasn’t discounting the benefits of learning form the examples or the teaching of others. But He was warning His disciples against following or becoming self-important teachers who led others astray by their focus on externals. 


Our call, like that of the disciples, is centered, not on externals, not on adhering to a set of laws or regulations, but on following a person—Jesus. That’s why faith is such an adventure. We are called to keep moving, growing, learning, becoming. We are lifelong disciples, bound to Jesus in a unique way, serving Him daily and relying on Him to provide for our needs just as the rabbis of old did for their disciples. 


Today as you seek Rabbi Jesus in prayer, thank Him for calling you. Tell Him that everything you most want to learn in this life can only be found in Him and through Him, your Teacher and your Lord.






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