Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. – Matthew 23.2-7
Jesus begins a series of teaching here about men who use their religion as a means to promote and elevate themselves. That was a real problem with the religious leaders of His day, and, sadly it can be a problem today. So much of what happens and so much of what ‘religious’ people do is so that people can be seen as religious.
They say, but they don’t do.
They burden others with their laws but do nothing themselves
They love to do things so that others can see them
They love the best places
They love to hold on to titles
I’m going look at some of these, but I think they can all be summarised with the notion that they like for others to see them – but they don’t really want to make any changes in their own lives.
I think this is a challenge for all religious leaders of all time. The place of teacher or pastor or leader of any sort lends itself to pride and prestige.