Matthew 23: 1-12:Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew spends two and a half chapters recording the discourse between Jesus and the Pharisees and his comments on them afterward. Was it because Matthew had once been a tax collector and despised by the Pharisees? We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he saw the attitude of the Pharisees as so dangerous to a person’s faith. They pretended to be so righteous. They loved to be acknowledged and praised by people for their godly lives. They were proud of themselves, but in reality, they were no better than anyone else. If anything, a Pharisee was good at hiding his sin, even from himself.
And so are we. We would rather think about our accomplishments than to think about our moral failures. We love the praise that people give us while we bristle at the smallest criticism that comes our way. We put on a good face when we have to so tha we don’t our evil thoughts and intentions. We would rather hide our sins and tuck them away than to confess them to a brother or sister in Christ and bring them to the light of day.
What is true humility? C. S. Lewis said that it is not to think less of ourselves, but to think of ourselves less. The way to do that is to think of Jesus more. He is our Teacher, our Rabbie, our instructor, our Messiah, our Savior. Don’t think of your righteousness, but his righteousness. Don’t think of your glory, but his glory. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. You don’t have to pretend to be somebody, because you are already a redeemed child of God in Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, do not let me be a pretender. Unmask my hypocrisy so that I see my sins clearly and do not hide them from myself or others or you. More importantly, let me hide myself in you so that I might see my life clearly as a redeemed child of God. Amen.