MATTHEW 23:8-12: “But you shouldn’t be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have only one Master, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth ‘father.’ You have one Father, and he is in heaven. You shouldn’t be called ‘teacher.’ You have one Teacher, and he is the Christ. The most important person among you will be your servant. Anyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up.” (NIRV)
OBSERVATION: If I was praying at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration… These were the thoughts that came to mind when I read the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:8-12. However, it was the words that preceded verses 8-12 that made me think of this. Does this sound like a valid description of many of our politicians today?
- “Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat,” he said. “So you must obey them. Do everything they tell you. But don’t do what they do. They don’t practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on other people’s shoulders. But they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. “Everything they do is done for others to see. On their foreheads and arms they wear little boxes that hold Scripture verses. They make the boxes very wide. And they make the tassels on their coats very long. “They love to sit down in the place of honor at dinners. They also love to have the most important seats in the synagogues. They love to be greeted in the market places. They love it when people call them ‘Rabbi.’” Matthew 23:1-7 NIRV
Just like the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day, most of our modern day politicians love the place of honor, love to feel important, and love to hand down laws for others to follow, while they themselves live in a completely different universe! Oh, how we need to hear the words of Jesus, our Founding Fathers, and Presidents who served us well, again!
Listen to these words of Abraham Lincoln, from his Gettysburg Address.
- “…But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln November 19, 1863
Could Abraham Lincoln have been thinking of the words of Jesus’ in Matthew 23 when he wrote this? Jesus called his disciples to be servants, and to be humble. A true leader in government should be the same. If the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people – it must be led by citizens who take on this humble mantle of serving their fellow man. It is never about power, position, or personal benefit. A servant is focused on one thing – serving and pleasing the one they serve. A leader of government should be and do the same!
Lord, as our nation gathers together for this 45th Presidential Inauguration, let your people call out to you in prayer. Raise up true leaders among us who will model the type of leadership that puts the needs of those they lead, ahead of their personal comfort or gain. Restore an attitude of humility in our government, and allow us to truly work together to see a government “…of the people, by the people, and for the people…”, once again – by the Grace of God!
In Jesus Name!