Matthew 23

2 Two of Moses' primary functions were to tell people of God's Law and make judgements. The religious rulers inherited this responsibility. Moses did not make up the Law himself, but the subsequent rulers felt it necessary to institute additional laws and traditions.
3 Since the religious rulers taught from God's word, the people were to listen and do what they heard. However, the religious leaders were hypocrites because they did not follow the very teachings they were giving. The people were responsible to follow God's word, even if the one giving it was setting a bad example.
4 The religious rulers made up innumerable rules and traditions. The Law was already impossible to follow perfectly by sinful people. The additional rules and restrictions made it all the more difficult. Instead of helping people obey and please God, the religious leaders were actually making it more difficult to do so. In addition, some rulers abused their authority by making laws that did little more than benefit themselves.
5 Hypocritical leaders want very much for everyone to know and respect them as important religious people. In Jesus' day, some worship aids were easy to see. Phylacteries are little boxes that contain certain Old Testament verses. The box is attached to a leather strap that can be tied to the arm or the forehead. These are still used today by some Jews. The origin for the idea appears to be Due 6:8, although it seems this verse was to be metaphorical, not physical. Jesus does not condemn the use of phylacteries as worship aids, but He does criticize their use as publicizing one's "super righteousness."

God commanded the Israelites to where tassels on their garments to remind them of God's Law (Num 15:38-40). However, the religious leaders had a practice of making these tassels exceedingly large. Such a leader made sure everyone saw him as an important, religious person.

For Christians, wearing a cross necklace is a popular was to remind us of our faith (probably originating from Luke 9:23). However, a cross necklace is also popular among nominal or even non-Christians as a decoration. I will not state this as a general fact, but my casual observation leads me to the conclusion that the larger, more decorative, and more expensive someone's cross is, the less likely they are to be a humble, Bible-believing (or at least Bible-practicing), Christian.

6 Religious leaders were treated with respect in Jesus' day (as they should be). However, hypocritical leaders will often leverage their position to make sure that they are honored beyond what is appropriate for their position. This is not a criticism of those who receive honors from people per se, but of those who earnestly seek such honors.
7 "Rabbi" is a term that means "master" and "teacher." It was a term of great respect and honor.
8 Christians are not to seek such honors and titles. We are all related in Christ, and it is not appropriate for one to exalt himself over others. Conversely, it is also not right for others to exalt one beyond what is appropriate for a humble servant of God.
9 We all have physical fathers, and many Christians have father-like figures in their lives, but we should not appropriate the authority to them that belongs to God alone. People are limited and fault-prone. Many can offer us wise counsel, but only God is limitless and perfect. If anyone, no matter what earthly authority they may have, tells you to do something that violates God's commands, the earthly command must be ignored.
10 Ideally, each Christian is taught by Jesus through the Bible and prayer. Most often Jesus uses other people to explain what the Bible says. For new Christians this is especially important, since thinking in a godly way is foreign. However, it is also vitally important that each Christian learn to read, interpret, and apply Scripture on his own. In most situations in the world, a Christian will not have a more spiritually mature advisor handy help him make decisions. In addition, many decisions must be made quickly, which does not allow time to read, discuss, or pray extensively. One goal of Christian maturity is to make godly decisions in diverse situations without having to rely on the counsel of others. Those who are in the role of teaching others should focus on preparing the student to make decisions and helping them develop a godly mindset. For the student's part, their goal should be to gather information and tools (spiritual, mental, and physical) to interpret God's will independently of the teacher.

None of this precludes the benefits of fellowship, since many believers have experienced situations and have insights that can help other believers prepare. In many complacent congregations, Sermons and Sunday school lessons are words that are spoken, but seldom heard. This is a travesty. The people of God should actively participate in learning about Him and how He wants us to live.

11 The world thinks that the one served is greater than the one serving. However, among Christians, God sees the one serving as greater than the one being served. As our example, Jesus became a servant to us and even died in our place. His ultimate act of service exalts Him to the highest place. Christians are already guaranteed eternal life with God, which is a reward we do not deserve. How one might be further honored in heaven is not entirely clear. However, what is clear is that Christians can not actively seek any higher honor, either here on earth or in heaven. Paradoxically, further honors are given to those who do not seek them.
12 On the other hand, those who seek honors will not receive them. Instead, he will be humiliated.