555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

277. Why Should We Call Jesus "Master"?

Because he himself has told us to do so. It is a very beautiful and inspiring title which Christians everywhere may apply to their beloved Lord. (See Matt 23 :10.) This passage is a part of Jesus' denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, who were given over to formalism and regarded the letter rather than the spirit of Scripture. They sought personal honors and the applause of the multitudes. They carried strips of parchment of Scripture texts, bound to arm, forehead and side, in time of prayer, and they loved to be addressed by ecclesiastical titles. Rabbi (Master) was a title which they particularly affected and which their whole spiritual conduct discredited. Had they been true teachers and guides, instead of false, he would not have reprobated them, nor would they have belied the title they bore. Titles in the modern Christian Church are vain distinctions, except where they are worthily worn. All should be brethren in Christ, the highest dignitary of the church and the humblest follower. Unfortunately, in every age there has been a desire for ecclesiastical distinctions and, while in many cases these have been merited and gladly accorded, in others the honors were not deserved. The ecclesiastical system of the Jews lent itself to this vanity to such an extent as to arouse the divine indignation. The tide "Rab" was originally Babylonian and that of "Rabbi," Palestinian. It was given to learned men, authorized teachers of the law and spiritual heads of the community.