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One Father, which is in Heaven!

“they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew‬ ‭23:7-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬ Today, I have been charged to write a message that I am not so excited to write. However, I must obey my spiritual inclination. As we approach a new season and era in time, I must forewarn the people of God as Jesus warns us. Nervous, as I must go on, so here we go. As a disclaimer, I want to express that this message is written out of love along with the urge to relay this God sent message.

In the above passage, Jesus is talking to the crowd of people following him giving them insight into the wickedness of their current spiritual leader. Before He addresses those leaders He tells the crowd "be careful to do what they say but do not do as they do.” Then he proceeds to provide more details on how to identify the error. Verse seven starts by saying “they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” This is where our lesson kicks off on today because Jesus informs us that we can recognize the hypocrisy in some leaders because they enjoy flattery and almost demand honor in the eyes of their associates. I love how the Message bible translate this “They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’” Now, of course, this doesn’t mean everyone with a position or title are the same. Nevertheless, Jesus gives us a simple symptom to spot out. This is why humility as a leader is key.

The script continues by saying “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:8-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬ Jesus is giving us clear instructions in this text by letting us know those hypocritical leaders would often time aim to take authority over you, but it is only God who should have that authority. Jesus even mentions resisting calling natural men - father or spiritual leader - Father because we only have One Father who is in Heaven. The Creator. He is not giving us rights to disrespect any person, elder, leader, or person of authority. His motive is to remind each of us, no matter our status or position - to remain equal and humble to each other. For example, One Teacher, which is the Messiah and we all are classmates amongst one another. Brothers and sister. By placing us on the same levels of humanism Jesus proceed to say no one person is greater than the next. Some leaders teach sonship from a level of superiority. Although many people will attempt to teach “sonship" but they can only testify or in other words witness from their experiences of being a son.

In a nutshell, Jesus says “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Oftentimes people who exalt themselves over you will soon find themselves humbled by you. This is why Paul tells Timothy “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬ Life is a cycle we all endure. Some may go through it sooner than others but we all travel through it with notes we all can share.

Moral of the story: the student is always the greatest teacher, which is why God being the supreme teacher, creator and father did not refuse to deny himself or utilize divine privilege as a justification to not experience life as a human - he even humbled himself to be killed as a criminal. Philippians 2:6-8

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