Matthew 23:8-12. “But be not ye called Rabbi: for One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
If the Pharisees had not been foaming at the mouth before, they surely were after these pointed words. In just a few seconds, Jesus reduced the pompous, self-important leaders of the day to the same level as all other Jews, including the lowly ones that they so scorned. “All of you are brethren, and there is only One Teacher!”
No man is better than another. No man who exalts himself deserves the praise and worship of others. In fact, Jesus made it clear that the ones who choose to humble themselves will be the leaders, and the self-important will be reduced to servanthood.
Does this teaching apply to Christians today? Well, of course! Don’t we all know of those who have exalted themselves as spiritual leaders when in actuality they are seeking only the praise of men? Don’t we know of humble men who have never put themselves forward, yet they are praised and respected for their humility and their walk with God? Don’t we all know of mighty church leaders who have come crashing down because of sexual sin? Why do we think it was only the Jews, only the Pharisees, that Jesus was warning? Surely we fool ourselves if we think we are exempt.
In I Peter 5:6-7, we are commanded to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt us at the proper time. Notice that we are not told to ask God to humble us; we are to choose to humble ourselves under His mighty hand. Only when we voluntarily humble ourselves, knowing what we are and Who He is, can we hope to be rewarded by God in due time.