Jesus often disputed the Pharisees of the day as they upheld their man-made rules and regulations. It’s interesting to consider that these once were “the separated ones” who became so devoted in upholding part of the law that they became spiritually blinded when Jesus the Messiah stood before them. We like to brush them off as foolish extremist whose hatred was evident to anyone who came against what they believed to be truth but we cannot overlook the fact that their bitterness led them to be deadly opponents against Jesus… even to the point of His death. Yet, even in that… God’s plan was fulfilled as Jesus’ death brought salvation to the world.
The Pharisees sadly have not vanished from society and in fact we still have them among us today. They may not be as easily recognizable, in long robes with broad borders and fringes to show off their importance but we can see their self-righteousness they proudly display. Like the Pharisee in Jesus’ day, they uphold certain scriptures as law while adding their own interpretation and then imposing their belief on all other Christians. If you don’t follow their doctrine they scorn, de-friend and condemn you. Though they first came to Christ through grace, over time they have traded grace for law and have become the religious of the day. Much like the original Pharisee, who wore the phylacteries (a small leather case) that held The Deuteronomy verses which speak of loving God with one’s heart, mind and spirit while they themselves adhere to fleshly judgment. Jesus compared them to tombs, beautiful on the outside but within they are as graves full of the bones of dead men.
While I don’t believe many wear the headdress of the Pharisee purposefully, it is likened to a serpent bound to their head, obstructing their ability to see truth or their error. All that is needed is to look into the mirror of God’s word for a reflection of how one personally should measure up. In the face of the Pharisee we find the spirit of pride and control hindering our relationship with both our Heavenly Father and fellow believers. Once pride has been cast out we humbly fall on God’s grace… the same grace that first brought us to Him, restores us from religion to relationship and we cannot help but love in return.
© By S.A. Tower, 2012