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the pride before the fall
"The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example." —Matthew 23:2-3
The scribes copied the Bible by hand. This indicates that in their time they were among the most intelligent and best educated people in the world. They were professionals and experts in the Bible.
The Pharisees believed in angels and in the resurrection of the just. They had the most advanced theology in history up to that time. Jesus Himself recognized that they and the scribes were the rightful, authoritative successors of "Moses as teachers" (Mt 23:2-3).
Despite the greatness of the scribes and the Pharisees, most of them rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and thus prepared the way for their own downfall. Their problem was pride. They exalted themselves, so God humbled them (Mt 23:12). They were show-offs, mere people-pleasers, and pleasure-seekers. They were "fond of places of honor at banquets and the front seats in synagogues, of marks of respect in public" (Mt 23:6-7).
Therefore, "be humbled in the sight of the Lord" (Jas 4:10). Learn from Jesus, Who is gentle and humble of heart (Mt 11:29). "In your relations with one another, clothe yourselves with humility, because God 'is stern with the arrogant but to the humble He shows kindness.' Bow humbly under God's mighty hand" (1 Pt 5:5-6). Humble yourself (Mt 23:12; Lk 14:11; 18:14).
Prayer: Jesus, You humbled Yourself even to death on the cross (Phil 2:8). Teach me humility.
Promise: "I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east." —Ez 43:2
Praise: Learning to humble herself as Jesus had taught, Karen, a public official, waited at the lowest place at a political rally and was called to the podium unexpectedly to be recognized and honored.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000