Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 284

greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.”

In such plain words the Savior revealed the selfish ambition that was always reaching for place and power, displaying a mock humility, while the heart was filled with greed and envy. The Pharisees were constantly scheming to secure the places of honor and special favors. Jesus rebuked this practice.

He also reproved the leaders’ vanity in coveting the title of rabbi, or teacher. Priests, scribes, and rulers were all brethren, children of one Father. The people were to give no man a title of honor indicating his control of their conscience or their faith.

If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of “Reverend” or “Right Reverend,” would He not repeat His saying, “Do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ”? The Scripture declares of God, “Holy and awesome [“reverend,” KJV] is His name.” Psalm 111:9. How many who assume this title misrepresent the name and character of God! How often have worldly ambition and the lowest sins been hidden under the ornate garments of a high and holy office!

The Savior continued, “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In heaven’s view, greatness of character consists in living for the benefit of others. Christ the King of glory was a servant to fallen humanity.

“You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.” NRSV. By perverting the Scriptures, the priests and lawyers blinded the minds of those who otherwise would have received a knowledge of Christ’s kingdom.

You “devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” The Pharisees gained the confidence of devout widows and then presented it as a duty for them to give their property for religious purposes. Having gained control of their money, the wily schemers used it for their own benefit. To cover their dishonesty, they offered long prayers in public and made a great show of being religious. The same rebuke falls on many in our day. Their lives are stained by selfishness and greed, yet over it all they throw a garment of pretended holiness.

The Priceless Gift of the Poor Widow

Christ severely condemned abuses, but He was careful not to lessen obligation. Someone else’s abuse of the gift could not turn God’s blessing from the giver.

Jesus was in the court and watched those who came to deposit their gifts. Many of the rich brought large sums with great show. Jesus looked at them sadly but made no comment on their

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