The Pharisees’ Real Issue May Not be What You Think it is

For most of my life I thought the Pharisees’ issues were legalism and hypocrisy. I could relate with both. The more I consider them the more I think those two things are symptomatic of a much deeper and even more troubling issue.

Here it is.

Self-sufficiency.

They thought they had it figured out. They didn’t need Messiah even though they were looking for him. In their own minds, although they would never admit to it, they were Messiah – the saviors of Israel. When Jesus came teaching they didn’t want to hear it. They rejected his miracles too. They rejected Jesus forgiving sins. There it is – self-sufficiency.

Here is where it gets tough. I think more than the legalism and more than the hypocrisy, this is one of the biggest problems in Christianity today. We have our methods and traditions that bear few of any markers of a deep and profound sense of a desire for God and a need for God. It is killing us. It could well be why Christianity is in decline in the global West and on the rise in places and culture where people fully understand they cannot make it without God.

Let us turn back to God. Fall on our faces and repent of self-sufficiency to rely fully on God. Then wait on the Lord and see how He responds because He will.

3 Responses to The Pharisees’ Real Issue May Not be What You Think it is

  1. Mark says:

    I heard a rabbi once say in a sermon that he realized that needed God. He went on to say that when he went to hospital not knowing the situation of the patient and the family, when he went to visit mourning families, and when he met with people in his office, he needed God. He thought we all, himself included, tried to do it ourselves and go it alone. Reading the Torah out loud is easy, reminding people of the rules is easy. Knowing what to say and how to act in a particular situation (taking care of the flock) is quite difficult and more difficult when you try to do it alone.

  2. Another part of their problem, I think, along with the other Jewish leaders, was a love of the power and prestige they had under the current system. Jesus was empowering the common man, the uneducated, the non-Pharisee… and that didn’t sit well with those who currently held the power. Never does.

  3. Another part of their problem, I think, along with the other Jewish leaders, was a love of the power and prestige they had under the current system. Jesus was empowering the common man, the uneducated, the non-Pharisee… and that didn’t sit well with those who currently held the power. Never does.

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