The Pharisees were not disciples but were critics of Jesus. They did not ‘live and let live’ in regards to Jesus, but had a need to oppose him, argue with him and criticize him. These guys get to go down in history as being and acting like who and how we do not want to be.
Pharisee means ‘separated one’ and that is what they were known as. Sincerely following of the Bible is not the problem. The problem is works righteousness, self righteousness and the disregard for and lack of recognition for the living Christ.
I have come to believe that self-righteousness is the worst and core sin. These guys took the OT Bible and perverted it into a religion that was human centered.
The Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross, but self-righteous Bible teachers put them up to it.
The word ‘pharisee’ comes up 96 times in the NT. They are almost always mentioned in a bad light. What was so wrong with the pharisees?
They purported to love God, but they conflated truth for love and the truth for them was their truth and not the truth. This is most obvious when they hated Jesus while identifying themselves as standard bearers of God’s truth. With a straight face, they could say, “we must destroy him” (Matt. 12:14).
Here is a test to determine your inner pharisee quotient, taken from the Barna study on Phariseeism and Carey Nieuwhof’s post, from 2014 (links below):
Yes or No?
- I tell people that following God’s rules is my thing in life.
- I do not share, confess, or admit my sins or faults to others.
- I do not want to spend time with LGBTQ people.
- I point out wrong, bad or faulty theology or doctrine.
- I prefer serving people who attend my church.
- I find it hard to be friends with people who have messed up lives.
- I feel no desire to help people who are self-destructive.
- I am glad I am saved when I observe people who are are unsaved.
- I spend time and give energy opposing people who oppose Christian values.
- I believe that we who follow God’s rules are superior.
- I believe that if others knew the Bible as well as I do, they would have a better life.
- My motto is, “I follow the rules”.
- I don’t like to be around non-Christians.
- I pray more than most people.
- I believe that I am a Christian because of my obedience and faithfulness.
On the other hand, here is a quiz to see how Christ-like you are, again based on Barna from 2014:
Yes or No?
- I listen to people first before I speak about spiritual things.
- I have influenced people to follow Christ, in the past couple of years.
- I share mealtimes with non-Christians or people with asymmetrical morals than mine.
- I try to see the needs of non-believers, rather than waiting for them to ask me for help.
- I spend time with non-believers to help them know Jesus.
- I see every person as valued by God, regardless of their past or present sins.
- I believe God wants everyone to be saved.
- I can see God working in people’s lives who are not trying to do right.
- I believe that it is more important for people to know God loves them than realize they are bad.
- I feel compassion for people who are doing wrong things and in my view, living immorally.
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Pharisees, 1912
Leave a Reply