TO BE SEEN OF MEN
"....to be seen of men....", Matthew 23:6
It is not unusual to see those that want to be seen of men (meaning, all people).
We see them grab the microphones; get before the TV camera; even hold up their fingers
behind their head at picture taking time. We can pass off the kids antics as "kid's
play"; and then there is the politician who livens up when he sees he's being viewed
on camera. We can say it is a proper political stance. But the fact is, it is being
egotistical, also known as being conceited.
Our text narrows this down to actions to convince men how pious they are. They do
it with a pretended religious motive. Our text in Matthew 23:5-6 lists four such
acts which were done by the Pharisees. Oh! the great pretenders:
(1) They make broad their phylacteries. The phylacteries were an encasement of bits
of scriptures---such as a verse. They were placed on the arm, forehead, doorposts, etc.
They were designed to remind them of the Word of God. But they emphasized them to show
how full of religiousity they were. I see some 'preachers' like this. Almost breaking
their arms patting themselves on the back.
(2) They edge or decorate the seams of their garments with tassels, fringes, etc.
to call attention to themselves. On one of our trips to Israel, we had a layover in
Amsterdam. A Jewish zealot passed by us and separated himself a short distance away.
Then he took from his baggage an ornate shawl for prayer. Also he produced a phylactery
which he wrapped conspiciously about his arm - - - he was preparing for prayer. He kept
glancing to see if we were in the process of watching him - - - he wanted to me seen of
men. On the plane we saw him again; he was complaining about not being served a kosher
lunch. He was a modern Pharisee.
(3) They did crowd to prominent places to be seen of men.
(4) They want the prominent places in the synagogue and to be called Rabbi, Rabbi
(a great teacher). This is reminiscent of the men today and their "Doctor" titles, who
flaunt this before others. They ingratiate themselves.
Jesus warns that such will be "abased", Matthew 23:12. The humble shall be "exalted".
That's the best of all things, to so live that Jesus will reward by exalting you. DDH
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