Matthew 23:12

12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 23:12

And whosoever shall exalt himself
Above his fellow Christians, or fellow ministers, by entertaining too high an opinion of himself, by boasting of his gifts, as preferable to others, and as if he had not received them; by assuming, or eagerly coveting titles of honour among men, or by affecting honour that do not belong to him, or, abusing what he has: "shall be abased"; or humbled by God, or men, or both; such shall lose the honour they have, and come greatly short of what they are ambitious of; they shall fall into disgrace with men, and are abominable in the sight of God: "and he that shall humble himself"; by entertaining low thoughts, and a mean opinion of himself, behaving modestly among men; not being elated with his gifts, but acknowledging that they are owing to the grace and goodness of God; and using them in an humble manner, for, the advantage of others; not coveting honour from men, nor lifted up with what is conferred on him: "shall be exalted"; by God, or men, or both; if not in this world, yet in the world to come: and indeed, generally speaking, such modest, humble, persons, are most esteemed among men; and God gives more grace unto them, and will at last give them glory. This is a saying, often used by our Lord on different accounts, both with respect to his disciples, for their instruction, and with regard to the scribes and Pharisees, for their mortification; see ( Luke 14:11 ) ( 18:14 ) . It seems to be a proverbial expression, and much in use among the Jews: it is said in so many words in the Talmud F21, as here;

``whosoever shall humble himself, the holy blessed God shall exalt him; and whosoever shall exalt himself, the holy blessed God shall humble him.''


FOOTNOTES:

F21 T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 13. 2. & 54. 1. & Nedarim, fol. 55. 1.

Matthew 23:12 In-Context

10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.
11 The greatest among you must be a servant.
12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.