Matthew 23:12

New Testament

8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. 9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Bava Metzia 85b

Babylonian Talmud

Rabbi Yirmeya said to Rabbi Zeira: What is the meaning of that which is written with regard to the World-to-Come: “The humble and great are there; and the servant is free from his master” (Job 3:19)? Is that to say that we do not know that the humble and the great are there in the World-to-Come? Rather, this is the meaning of the verse: Anyone who humbles himself over matters of Torah in this world becomes great in the World-to-Come; and anyone who establishes himself as a servant over matters of Torah in this world becomes free in the World-to-Come.

 Notes and References

"... The substance of verse 11 is in 20:26: Matthew repeatedly emphasizes humility. For instances of exalting oneself, see on 20:20-28; of humbling oneself, on 18:4 (compare Proverbs 15:33; 22:4; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6). 'Will be your servant,' 'will be humbled,' and 'will be exalted' are pure futures without imperatival force. The latter two could not be otherwise; so verse 11 should be read the same way. The principle enunciated in these verses reflects not natural law but kingdom law: the eschatological reward will humble the self-exalted and exalt the self-humbled, after the pattern in Ezekiel 21:26. What is commended is humility, not humbug; service, not servility. The supreme example-the Messiah himself-makes this clear (20:26-28); for his astonishing humility and service to others was untainted by servility and was perfectly compatible with exercising the highest authority. Having done the greatest service, he has been most highly exalted ..."

Gaebelein, Frank Ely The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (p. 476) Pickering & Inglis, 1984

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