Rabbi, Rabbi

Matthew 23: 6-7. “And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”

Jesus wasted no effort to be tactful, politically correct, or accommodating to the tender egos of the Pharisees. He called them out for exactly what they were:  Men who loved the high places of honor, and to be called “Rabb, Rabbi” with great respect and adulation as they passed by the people in the streets.

Here are a couple of explanations I copied from the website noted:

(6) The uppermost rooms.—Better, the first places, the word “room,” which had that meaning at the time when the English version was made, having now become identical with “chamber.” Strictly speaking, they would be the first places, nearest to the host, on the couches or ottomans (as we have learnt to call them from their modern Eastern use) on which the guests reclined, these being assigned (as in the case of “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” in John 13:23) to the most favoured guests.

The chief seats in the synagogues.—These were at the upper or Jerusalem end of the synagogue (corresponding to the east end of most Christian churches), where was the ark, or chest that contained the Law. These were given, either by common consent or by the elders of the synagogue, to those who were most conspicuous for their devotion to the Law, and as such, were coveted as a mark of religious reputation.

taken from http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/23-6.htm

To be called Rabbi was a mark of high honor, and acknowledgement of the teacher’s learning, wisdom, and spiritual superiority.  Sometimes, the term Abba (Father) was used as a mark of even higher respect.

I have been a teacher.  I understand feeling good about being able to say, “I’m a teacher,” or now, “I’m a counselor.”  Maybe even, “I’m a writer.”  When you work hard to accomplish something, it’s nice to have it recognized.  But Jesus was saying that these Pharisees loved, craved, sought recognition; lived for the honor of having the best places at the feasts, the most important seats in the synagogue. There was nothing of humility in them, because they loved themselves more than they loved God.

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