Humble Obedience

Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Humble obedience. If the way of Jesus could be summarized in two words, humble obedience could be that way. The world is full of people eager to promote themselves and their agendas. There is no shortage of people who will sell you a “better way” of doing things. But very few of these people practice what they preach.

The religious situation in Jesus’ day was such that he told his followers “do what the religious leaders tell you to do, but don’t pretend that they are good enough deliver the results they promise.” The way to God is not through accomplishing perfection on our own merits, but through embracing the One who actually gives it to us.

Don’t place your faith in religious leaders, even if they have all of the right doctrines. They will let you down. Place your faith in and be a follower of Jesus. He will deliver for those who are humbly obedient.

  • How has the church or a leader let you down?
  • How did that affect your faith in Jesus?
  • What does it mean to be instructed by Jesus rather than “scribes and Pharisees?”
  • As a leader, how can you point people to Jesus rather than draw attention for yourself?