Matthew 23 is an extremely important chapter in the Gospel of Matthew as it describes G-D's fury toward those entrusted with Moses' seat in the Temple. The works of the Law, and this is probably the most contentious subject within Jewish and Christian relations, is not to be seen, it is not a series of itemized instructions, it must first be observed within the heart. Yeshua did not come to change the Law, he came to change our Hearts.
There is little doubt that the Pharisee misused the authority given to them. The situation then is much like the situation today where "men" want to be seen by other "men". The modern Evangelical Minister has all but become a modern day Pharisee.
This chapter is, I believe, the true fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel in Chapter 9. As Christ announced the coming of the desolation of Jerusalem in Matthew 23.
1. Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
As you can read in the verses above the Pharisee wanted to be seen. They had judicial authority, to some extent, over the Jewish people and operated within that old adage; do as I say not as I do. The explanation here is simple; they wanted to be seen by men and they did as they pleased.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
These series of verses also cause a bit of a conflict between the foundation or structure of the Church and the Words of Christ. Yeshua said do not call other men Father or Master. Within this context the meaning is simple to understand; and just as Yeshua commanded in other parts of the Gospel, men should not practice authority over their brethren in the Church as we all have ONE Father and that is G-D.
Yeshua wanted us to follow his example and to follow his Gospel, the ONLY Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. And his example was humbleness and gentle mercy.