We’re all Pharisees!

By: Ng Shaowen

Before you question, let Jesus tell you why, systematically:

There are perhaps 2 major characteristics of the Pharisees;

1. Their meticulous observance of the Law &

2. Their emphasis of oral tradition as equally binding as the Law.

Well, Jesus has the largest source of material to rebuke them based on their above attributes, to give us a sound warning to ourselves.

1. Pharisees are self-righteous.

Pharisees conduct themselves according to the Law.

In the Pharisee’s prayer from Luke 18:10-12, in paraphrase, he basically said, “I thank You that I’m not a loser like the rest of them”. Luke 18:12 is the funniest: “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” Just picture the Pharisee bringing everything to the temple, and give 10 percent of his rice, salt, pepper, etc. Hilarious. Of course, Jesus offers us the lesson in Luke 18:14: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” If we had, at any point of time, thought that we were better than any other person in anything…

Congratulations, we’re official Pharisees.

2. Pharisees possess “Holier than thou-ism.

Pharisees study the Law.

The Pharisees are the equivalent of our PhD scholars now. They were well-read and well-versed in the Holy Scriptures. So much so, they became the authority of knowledge, and refused to accept/seek understanding from anyone else. When Jesus the God-man came to earth to offer the New Covenant, together with it’s teachings, the Pharisees simply dismissed Jesus. Jesus, in payback, didn’t teach the Pharisees a single thing, but rebuked them. Lesson here is, if we had, at anytime, refused to listen to Godly authority/anointed Bible teachers/God himself and exercised our own “consciousness” and “logic”, and assumed that we have the knowledge and self-awareness, and can’t seem to humble ourselves …

Congratulations, we’re official Pharisees.

3. Pharisees were aggressive by nature.

Pharisees killed anyone who negated their traditions.

(I see Jesus as a rockstar, ask me why) Anyway, Jesus the rockstar began His earthy ministry in Galilee. And this is the commitment that the Pharisees had went through to crush/debunk anybody that didn’t do things their way.  John 1:19:  “And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ ” The distance between Jerusalem and the Jordan River was at least 30km!  The Pharisees must have been hell-bent on John the Baptist and his baptism practices. Of course, the Pharisees came down soon after, to examine Jesus’s deeds in Galilee. The irritating fact is that, they followed Jesus to search for mistakes. When Jesus said “I AM”, the Pharisees freaked out and wanted to kill Him. Lesson here is, righteous people are not aggressive in thought or deed, and don’t treat meekness as a weakness. If we had, at any time, searched for mistakes from another denomination/church/person and gone forth to condemn them in our hearts/mind..

Congratulations, we’re official Pharisees.

I believe that Jesus said all these not particularly for the Pharisees, but also to each and every one of humanity.

Pharisees were hardened, inflexible, judgmental, cold, unsympathetic, emotional deserts, religious robots and loveless. “Matt 23:28  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

And if we don’t fill our heart with warmness, life, kindness, love and compassion, given only by and through Christ, we’ll all become Pharisees.

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One Response to We’re all Pharisees!

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | Zion Bishan Young Adults

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