Tag Archives: Pharisees

Don’t be shocked!

Are you shocked by the love that is offered by Jesus and His disciples? His grace transcends the barriers between those who are visibly sinful and His perfection. He longs for fellowship with those who know they are unworthy. 
Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and dinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Perhaps if you find yourself shocked by His love for the unlovely, you must repent of a Pharisaical attitude. Jesus loves a truly repentant former Pharisee too. 

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

Not Welcome

“Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts.” – Luke 6:7-8a

Since Jesus’ physical coming to earth, neither He nor His message has been very popular, especially with the super religious people who refer to feel as though they are honoring God by their super religious actions, rather than truly honoring God with their hearts. They like to see if they can catch Jesus or His followers doing something they don’t consider to be holy. 

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!'” – Luke 18:11

Some people today find themselves surprised by the judgment of outwardly religious people who pretend to love Jesus. Personally in the past few years I have spent in what’s affectionately known as the “Bible Belt” of the Southern USA, I have been absolutely appalled by people who seem nice out in the general public, but when I attended their little Bible study group, I found it focused on the messenger rather than the message. There also were literally a bunch of people who thought of themselves as great Christians literally standing around comparing the good deeds they had done over the past week since the last study session! I literally felt sickened. This supposed religious group was in no way honoring God – they were building themselves up in order to feel like good Christians. In addition, it was clearly a “holier than thou” religious clique that made it clear through looks and sideways glances that I was in no way a part of their group. How does this honor God in any way, when someone thinks they’re so righteous that they push other brothers and sisters in Christ away, because they don’t consider them to look as holy?

I soon realized that I shouldn’t find this at all surprising. After all, there were Pharisees in Jesus’ day, and there are modern day Pharisees all over the world today too. Jesus promised that those of us who are truly following after Him in spirit and in truth will not find ourselves very welcome or popular in so-called religious groups. He said that we shouldn’t worry about that, but rather focus on Him. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24) 

Rather than try to fit in where we aren’t wanted and customs and works are more important to the people than Jesus, let us work with brothers and sisters who are truly seeking Him in spirit and truth, not just in outward, visible deeds, and reach this world for Christ together, rather than building ourselves up and tearing others down.