Matthew 23: How to Be (Truly) Great

Matthew 23: How to Be (Truly) Great February 2, 2011

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” -Matthew 23:11

Jesus turns his attention toward one major problem and its solution in Matthew 23. The problem is hypocrisy. The religious leaders of his time taught purity, yet lived in luxury. They communicated Scripture, yet sought to kill Jesus and in doing so break Scripture.

We would expect the solution to be sincerity or authenticity, but it’s not. The solution Jesus gave to hypocrisy was humility: “The greatest among you will be your servant.”

But how do we become more humble? To even draw attention to the desire for humility seems boastful in the first place. We can’t be proud of our humility (Or shouldn’t be!).

Simply put, the solution is serving others. Jesus declared seven “woes” or condemnations to the Pharisees in chapter 23 because their focus was on self, not service. If a religious leader (or anyone who claims to follow Jesus) cannot occasionally take out the trash, wash dishes, help the poor, sweep the floor, fold laundry, change a diaper, or perform laboring tasks on behalf of others, they are not truly leaders, but rather modern-day Pharisees who have become the hypocrites of our time.

May we seek to serve today, reflecting the love of our Lord, who came to serve and to offer his life as a ransom for many.


Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at

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