which is in heaven. Matthew 23:9
Let the Word of God be true-and every man a liar.
Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Some commentary from biblical scholars will be added below, to go deeper into this verse-and clarify it with more definition; as if it needs it. But, it will expound the Word of God, and leave the rebellious without excuse.
But how evidently our Lord condemns clerical and priestly assumption! With the two-edged sword, which pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, He cuts between the professions and performances of these men. No more awful words were ever spoken! How true is Mat_23:4!
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
The hypocrite always spares himself, but is merciless in his demands on others. The true servant of God never exacts these titles as a rightful homage, or as indicating either superiority or special sanctity. We all have one Master and one Father; and, though our talents greatly differ, we stand on an absolute equality so far as saving grace is concerned. F.B. Meyer
Quote from John Wesley:
"The Jewish rabbis were also called father and master, by their several disciples, whom they required, To believe implicitly what they affirmed, without asking any farther reason; To obey implicitly what they enjoined, without seeking farther authority. Our Lord, therefore, by forbidding us either to give or receive the title of rabbi, master, or father, forbids us either to receive any such reverence, or to pay any such to any but God."
Commentary from Adam Clarke:
"None of the prophets had ever received this title, nor any of the Jewish doctors before the time of Hillel and Shammai, which was about the time of our Lord; and, as disputes on several subjects had run high between these two schools, the people were of course divided; some acknowledging Hillel as rabbi, - infallible teacher, and others giving this title to Shammai. The Pharisees, who always sought the honor that comes from men, assumed the title, and got their followers to address them by it. See on Mat_19:3 (note).
Mat 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
One is your Master - Instead of καθηγητης, guide or leader, (the common reading here, and which occurs in Mat_23:10), the famous Vatican MS., upwards of fifty others, and most of the ancient versions, read διδασκαλος, master. The most eminent critics approve of this reading and, independently of the very respectable authority by which it is supported, it is evident that this reading is more consistent with the context than the other, - Be not ye called Masters, for one is your Master.
Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Even Christ - Griesbach has left this out of the text, because it is wanting in many of the most excellent MSS., versions, and fathers. Mill and Bengel approve of the omission. It might have been brought into this verse from Mat_23:10. Our Lord probably alludes to Isa_54:13, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.
Ye are brethren - No one among you is higher than another, or can possibly have from me any jurisdiction over the rest. Ye are, in this respect, perfectly equal."
Commentary from John Gill:
"Ministers of the word are in a sense guides and leaders; it is their business to lead and direct souls to Christ, to guide their feet in the way of peace, and to go before them, as examples to them, in word, in conversation, faith, and purity; but then they are to guide them according to the word of God, and not their own dictates; and teach them to observe the rules, and obey the ordinances of Christ, and not what are of their own inventing and prescribing; and to enforce the authority of their great Lord and Master, and not their own; and direct men to a dependence on Christ, as head of the church, who is the one Lord, as his faith is one, and his baptism one also: "for one is your master, even Christ"; which is said before, in Mat_23:8 but being a matter of so much importance to the honour of Christ, and men being so apt to set up for masters themselves, in opposition to him, or in conjunction with him, or above him, it was necessary to repeat it; for in an authoritative sense he is the one, and only master of the assemblies."
Some important points and truths from the Biblical Illustrator:
II. Human masters may teach the elements; Christ alone can conduct to the goal.
III. Human masters may establish schools; Christ alone can found a church. (J. P. Lange, D. D.)
I. Christians have a Master and a Father.
II. Christians have but one Master, but one Father.
III. There is no man upon earth that is the Christian’s father or master.
IV. God is the Christian’s only Father, Jesus Christ their only Master. (Hezekiah Burton.)
II. All others only teach in words that sound in the outward ears, like a tinkling cymbal; but Christ makes known their meaning inwardly to the mind.
III. All others only show what the law commands and what God requires; but Christ gives grace to the will, that we, when we hear the things which ought to be done, may indeed constantly fulfil the same. (Lapide.)
1. When the gospel began to be preached, men who were convinced of its truth, and inclined to receive it, were often in danger of incurring the displeasure of their nearest relations and dearest friends, of father and mother, as also of the rulers in Church and State.
2. The Jews at that time were accustomed to pay a blind and slavish deference to their spiritual fathers, their doctors, and wise men, and to prefer their authority even to that of their prophets and of their own sacred books.
3. Our Saviour foresaw that the same corruption would enter into His Church, and the same slavish obedience to the traditions and doctrines of men; that fathers, and monks, and councils, and synods, and prelates, and popes would at last so engross all power, both spiritual and temporal, and abuse it to such an enormous degree, that scarcely the shadow of Christianity would remain in the Christian Church. (J. Jortin.)
In final summary-the commentaries above give the clear emphasis that Christ is the common teacher of all, and all others are disciples on the same level. The spirit of this command forbids all ecclesiastical titles of honor.
Religious leaders who desire these titles are advertising their righteousness, to be seen of men. They are exposing their hearts, and the recognition they desire. They want people to follow them, not Christ. These verses Jesus spoke-describe the depravity of those who desire to seem more spiritual than others, and gain a following, instead of pointing people to Christ:
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
This will end with the verses stated in the beginning:
Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.