This week’s message is a request to take an in depth look at who the Pharisees were. We are also, going to look at the difference between religion which is man made and a relationship with Jesus which is foundationally and profoundly different from religion.
The Pharisees were an influential religious sect within Judaism in the time of Christ and the early church. They were known for their emphasis on personal piety (the word Pharisee comes from a Hebrew word meaning “separated”), their acceptance of oral tradition in addition to the written Law, and their teaching that all Jews should observe all 600-plus laws in the Torah, including the rituals concerning ceremonial purification.
The Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen and leaders of the synagogues. Though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision-making of the Sanhedrin because they had popular support among the people.
Author Phil Boykin who wrote “The Gospel of Coincidence” shared this ………
What was so bad about [the Pharisees’] hypocrisy? If we think of it as consisting merely in their teaching or pretending one thing while in fact practicing something contradictory, we will miss Jesus’ main point. What He nailed them for was that they were using God and the things of God as a means to some other end. That’s what was insidious about the Pharisees’ example. “They do all their deeds to be noticed by men” (Matthew 23:5). … Theirs was a problem of priorities: their first priority was social status, to which end God was but a means. What greater offense to God could there be? Better to ignore Him altogether than to exploit Him as a means to something else you value more highly.