-Motivational Blog Posts To Encourage You To Stay On The Mainstream Path Of Faith-
If you haven't read the two post before this, I'd recommend reading them. It will give you understanding of where I am coming from and why I am writing this. Are You A Pharisee? & Are You A Pharisee Part I - What Did The Pharisees Believe -
WARNING: This is a 15-20 minute read, but it is 100% worth your time. I did not include any scripture in the blog post, but I will link from where in the Bible I am teaching. You can easily find all these passages from Biblegateway.com, which is a great source for Bible studying and reading the Bible online!
If you read The ending of Matthew 22 and the whole chapter of Matthew 23, that is where I will take most of my information. This is the last time the Pharisees try to test/tempt Jesus, and He silences them once and for all. He does not only answer their trick question, but he then preaches against them to the point that they council together and plot to kill him just a few chapters later! (Matthew 26:3-5)
When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He did not sugarcoat anything, and He didn’t show too much grace. It’s actually tough to think this is how Jesus would speak to the false believers/false church even today. You know, the people that make a bad name for Christians by calling themselves Christians but live the opposite way or change the whole meaning of Christian in general? Yeah, that's kind of what the Pharisees did. They called themselves men of God, and most people thought they were great for their good works, but Jesus condemned them for how they lived!
If it made Christ upset, and He refuted them like this, does that mean we should do the same against today’s Pharisees? Jesus never went out of His way to pick a fight with the Pharisees, but in conversation with them He made it very clear that He disagreed and shared the gospel. I’m going to leave that question open to the reader’s discretion, because that’s not what this blog post is all about, but if you have thoughts on the topic, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below!
Anyways, back to what I am suppose to be writing about, from taking note of what Jesus had to say about the Pharisees, we can see what kind of people they were, and who lines up in this category today. This is a very serious topic; we need to be able to see the real and false identity of Christ today. Someone you know may be crossing the line of Pharisee and Christian; or even worse… it might be you.
Read the rest of the blog post to find out what the Bible and ultimately Jesus has to say about it.
Jesus Was Not A Pharisee! - 2 Proofs
First, we must point out the fact that Jesus was MUCH different than the Pharisees. Jesus was not some sort of a true Pharisee and He was not proud of the Pharisees either. This is so important to point out! There are some out there that would say Jesus came to show how to be a Pharisee, or that He was not condemning them but instructing them what to change. This is in complete contradiction of scripture.
I would recommend reading Matthew 12 if you are looking for an example. This chapter gives two proofs of how we know that Jesus is not a Pharisee.
One indication is that Jesus never goes to seek out the Pharisees; the Pharisees always come to Him. Remember, the Pharisees wasn’t a huge group back then. Some say there were less than 10,000 Pharisees in total at the time of Jesus. This means the groups of them that were spread out among the land would be spying on Jesus. Jesus never goes looking around for the Pharisee hang out spots; they always came to catch Him doing or allowing something they believed was wrong.
The reason I point this out is because we need to understand that Jesus didn’t come to earth to instruct the Pharisees. If He did, don’t you think He’d go find them and speak to them? He never went out of His way for them; they were always looking to get in His way. Praise God that these conversations are recorded though! Without them, we’d end up doing the same thing!
The second indication is the attitude and the mood you can feel in the accounts of the Pharisees and Jesus. They are never really happy encounters; they always come with a snobby, arrogant attitude, almost like a Ha! We Got You! kinda attitude. They also always left the conversation more defeated than when they entered, making them very angry, to the point of wanting to murder Jesus! This doesn’t sound like the type of people that want to learn from Jesus, and if Jesus being the Son of God and knowing all things wanted them to learn from Him, I am sure He would not have turned them away as many times as He did.
If Jesus came to be a Pharisee or to teach the Pharisees, He would have shown them much more grace, but instead Christ came making the first to be last and the last to be first.
After accepting the fact that Jesus is not a Pharisee and never encountered them out of His own endeavors, you can now understand each conversation out of a more solid perspective. The Pharisees come to cause friction with Jesus; Jesus turns them away each and every time.
Building up to the conversation in Matthew 22-23, there is a lot of tension. Each time the Pharisees come to Jesus, it is to prove Him wrong or catch Him in the act. They were testing Him.
They wanted Him to fall! They wanted Jesus to mess up so that they can get the crowd’s to look back at them. He stole their thunder; Jesus could actually do something no one has ever done before… He bypassed their "righteousness" (as if they really had any). He became the center stage and the talk of the time.
This tension and anger build-up most likely kept getting worse and worse. They didn’t just want Jesus dead overnight. No, this wrath inside them against Jesus was a build up from every time He either stumped them or proved them wrong. Do you really think they walked away from the conversations they were defeated in saying, “Aw, bummer. We’ll get em next time, boys!”? Doubtful. They probably walked away mumbling under their breath curses and harsh remarks about how stupid this Jesus guy was. Their careers were going down the drain because of Jesus; they wanted revenge!
The Pharisees knew Jesus was sent by God? -2 Proofs
The crazy thing about the Pharisees is that they knew Jesus was from God. We know this because first of all, they wouldn’t try to disprove He was something if they didn’t think He was something in the first place, right? It’s just like any scenario today: if someone said, “I can solve any math problem without a calculator” you’re gonna try to disprove them by asking a bizarre mathematical question. This is exactly what happened with the Pharisees. Jesus claimed to be equal with God. They couldn’t let this kind of bizarre statement stand! When Jesus ended up passing all their tests, they’re spotlight kept becoming threatened and ruined more and more.
We also know they knew Jesus was from God because of the account in John 3, where Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night. He states that we know that you are a teacher from God. We, meaning Nicodemus and other Pharisees. I just find it interesting that they knew the truth, but they suppressed the truth, trying to prove to themselves the lie they were telling themselves. Sounds a lot like Romans 1!
We do this all the time. We know a fact, and it seems obvious to us, but instead of accepting it, we try to prove otherwise. Have you ever sinned but tried telling yourself that it was okay or not that bad? That’s exactly what the Pharisees were doing. They knew Jesus was from God. I mean, they saw Him do miracles! They didn’t believe miracles came from anywhere else (one time a Pharisee tried saying He was of the Devil, but Jesus blew that theory out of the water!). But instead of believing, their blind eyes and wicked ways caused them to fall into believing their own lie. Their pride caused them to want to kill the greatest man ever sent by God… God Himself!
What Did Jesus Say About The Pharisees?
Jesus’ words in Matthew 23 indicate a lot about who the Pharisees really were.
We first see they have seated themselves in Moses’ seat. In other words, they have gained a high role of leadership over the Jewish people. They were looked up to; they had the same status that Moses had when He led the Israelite people. They were seen in a spiritual sense “closer to God” by others, and they even probably thought this about themselves.
The next remark by Jesus is to do as they say but not as they do. OUCH!
They spoke Truth. They taught the Old Testament, which was ultimately the Word’s of God Himself. I mean, Jesus even quoted the Old Testament. Speaking the Bible is a good thing, right? The problem was they did not live it out themselves. They could say the right things, and looked great on the outside, but they didn’t do as they spoke. They didn’t apply it personally. As long as they looked good and scholarly, that was more important than truly devoting their life to God. They weren’t willing to take on the heavy load of the law they dealt.
We then hear Christ say who the Pharisees truly lived for: the praise of men. WHOA!
Instead of living to bless and glorify God, they lived for the temporary praise of men around them. They wanted to look good on the outside to be respected. Their hearts were not in it for the right reason. Sure, they looked like they were living for God to others, and probably said they were living for God too, but their entire life orbited pride. All they cared about was what everyone else saw in them.
This next statement by Jesus hurts: Jesus says the Pharisees unworthy of their earthly position. YIKES!
If I were a Pharisee, I think this one would have me boiling with anger. He doesn’t only steal the spotlight; He basically says they don’t deserve to have it back! Don’t call them teacher; don’t call them father; don’t call them master. Why? They are not God! He is our Teacher, our heavenly Father, and our one and only Master! This statement is heavy. Jesus just took the leadership position they thought they had and claimed it as His own. He levels the playing field by causing the crowd to hear that the Pharisees are no higher or closer to God than any other man.
Lastly, Jesus describes the Pharisees: Blind Guides, Fools, and Hypocrites. OOF!
Jesus’ gives many reasons for calling them these terms, but the main point is that this is who they are. Anyone listening in on this conversation would have a lot of second thoughts about both Jesus and the Pharisees. They wouldn’t know who to trust, who was right, and what to do about it. But if one were to take all these terms Christ spoke about the Pharisees literally, I don’t think they’d want to follow them anymore.
Bling Guides - The Pharisees leading was going nowhere because they cannot lead. It’s literally like asking a blind man for direction through a maze! The Pharisees looked as if they had the transportation to Heaven, but really, they were in the same boat as the rest of humanity… the boat that was going downstream straight to hell!
Fools - The term fool is a very strong word in the Bible. A fool is usually a description of one who has not been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, meaning they are still ignorant to God’s ways. Just look at any of the Psalms or Proverbs; the description of a fool is NOT how you want your leaders to be described. For Christ to say this about the Pharisees must have caused some sharp gasps in the crowd.
Hypocrites - Everyone knows what a hypocrite is. Saddest reality is most Christians are the biggest hypocrites. We say we're not suppose to something because God says so, and do it anyways. This is something the Pharisees struggled with too! They were very good at teaching the law and looking like scholarly teachers, but behind closed doors they didn’t live that way. Sadly, their looks in front of men had caused a blinding pride in their heart. This pride took away the sight of what they were really doing; they didn’t realize (or if they did they didn’t care) that God was watching them the whole time. You aren’t a Christian just on Sundays! Your a Christian 24/7! Their role as Pharisees was only a part-time job.
What Would Jesus Have To Say About You?
Now, as a Christian, you’d say you believe everything Jesus said, right? Of course, so you must believe what He said about the Pharisees. You can see He wasn’t proud of them; He did not show any praise to them. He condemned them for the life they were living! The Pharisees were living a facade! Whether they thought it was pleasing to God or not, this is no way to live life in accordance to God’s word.
Is that you? Are you living the Pharisee lifestyle? Are you faking it to look good for the praise of men, or are you truly living in full devotion to God. There are many that fake it for so long, it becomes their life. Like the Pharisees, if you live the lie long enough, it becomes your reality. It becomes your truth. You go so far to think that the way you are living is ACTUALLY pleasing to God!
Don’t let this happen! What kind of Christians are we? FAKES!?!? Because if that’s true, are we even really a Christian?
Are you doing this because you want to please God, or are you doing things because you feel like you have to please God?
Do you live in accordance to God’s word because you love Jesus Christ, or do you look like you live in accordance to God’s word because you like the idea of Jesus Christ?
Do you live with eternity in perspective because God has saved you, or do you live with the present in perspective looking good for God to save you?
Ask yourself these questions; they are vital questions that need to be answered for the sake of your life. You can’t earn God’s favor by looking good. You can’t live a certain way because it feels right. You can’t walk-the-walk hoping to get by. GOD WILL NOT BE FOOLED! Jesus saw right through the Pharisees; He will see right through you!
So what is it? Are you a Pharisee? Because if you are, I hope you’re like Nicodemus, brave enough to face the reality that you are a sinner that needs to rely on Christ. He’s the one who found favor in God in our place. He is the only option for salvation and union with God. Whether you are a Christian or not, your hope is found solely in Christ. If you don’t go to Him, don’t expect to fix your life on your own. You don’t always have to live a Pharisitical lifestyle; ask God for mercy. Don’t stay under the condemnation that the Pharisees received; come to Christ, the only one who can take away this burden.
Thank you for taking the time for reading this blog post on the Pharisees. I hope I have encouraged and motivated you to stay away from the Pharisee’s lifestyle. If you enjoyed it, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. You can also subscribe to receive emails of my new posts below, or get in direct contact with me by hitting the subscribe tab above.
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am 20 years old, and decided to start writing in the winter of 2017. I have always loved writing, and I get to pour out that passion in my blog. I want to be a motivation, an encouragement, and edify my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that come to MainstreamBlog. I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." This is where I live that out!