In Matthew 23:9 Jesus says, " Do not call anyone on earth your father". Please help me understand what Our Lord was saying - are we to take this literally and not refer to dad as "father"?
The following is from Matthew Henry's commentary:
They are forbidden to ascribe such titles to others (v. 9); "Call no man your father upon the earth; constitute no man the father of your religion, that is, the founder, author, director, and governor, of it. The fathers of our flesh must be called fathers, and as such we must give them reverence; but God only must be allowed as the Father of our spirits, Heb. 12:9. Our religion must not be derived from, or made to depend upon, any man. We are born again to the spiritual and divine life, not of corruptible seed, but by the word of God; not of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God. Now the will of man, not being the rise of our religion, must not be the rule of it. We must not jurare in verba magistri swear to the dictates of any creature, not the wisest or best, nor pin our faith on any man's sleeve, because we know not whither he will carry it. St. Paul calls himself a Father to those whose conversion he had been an instrument of (1 Co. 4:15; Phil. 10); but he pretends to no dominion over them, and uses that title to denote, not authority, but affection: therefore he calls them not his obliged, but his beloved, sons, 1 Co. 4:14.
The reason given is, One is your Father, who is in heaven. God is our Father, and is All in all in our religion. He is the Fountain of it, and its Founder; the Life of it, and its Lord; from whom alone, as the Original, our spiritual life is derived, and on whom it depends. He is the Father of all lights (Jam. 1:17), that one Father, from whom are all things, and we in him, Eph. 4:6. Christ having taught us to say, Our Father, who art in heaven; let us call no man Father upon earth; no man, because man is a worm, and the son of man is a worm, hewn out of the same rock with us; especially not upon earth, for man upon earth is a sinful worm; there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not, and therefore no one is fit to be called Father.
So your earthly dad can be referred to as your father.
Published on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 @ 4:47 PM CDT