Posted by: bshelley | December 3, 2008



Today’s Verse: Matthew 23:9 Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. NAB

Your first thought, like mine some time ago when I first really thought about this, might be “Am I not supposed to call even my earthly father by the title “father”? Fortunately we do not have to read much in this passage (Matthew 23) by Jesus to gain a contextual understanding of what His command was regarding the misuse of this title of “father”. It does make you stop and ponder for a minute does it not? God cares what we call each other and is jealous of His rightful titles. This is Jesus talking, so we certainly want to understand what He is commanding here. His discussion has nothing to do with biological earthly fathers. What He is addressing is religious leaders desiring the title of “father”. He is chastising those religious leaders, here specifically the Pharisees, for a number of wrong practices. He follows it up with the Eight Woes telling those who would not follow His commands in this regard that they would face judgment for their wrong attitudes and behaviors including desiring to be called by a title Jesus clearly says should be reserved for God Himself, our heavenly Father. He talks of their practice of wearing special garments so as to be recognized above others. Jesus says in verse eight that we should not hold one above the other as we are all equal as brothers. Honor and glory are to be reserved for God, not men. I get called a lot of things, fortunately most are nice (ha). Out of respect and tradition, some address me as pastor or reverend occasionally. I don’t make a big thing out of it, but I do ask them to “just call me Bryan”. Jesus’ words here are the reason. For the same reason, I don’t wear fancy robes, special clothes or ask to be seated at the front. Jesus says that we are all equal in Him as brothers and sisters and should desire only to serve so as to glorify Him who deserves to be called Father. When you think “Teacher” think of the One who gives us the Word (v.8), when you think “Leader” think of Jesus (v.10) and when you use the title “Father” be addressing Him who alone Jesus says is to be so called (v.9). Pause for a moment right now and consider prayerfully how what you have planned for today can bring glory and honor to Him alone who deserves to be called Father.

As always, may God our Father bless you as you seek His heart.



  1. Sorry to be off topic, but I am looking for information. Can you tell me what God’s glory is?

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