Soul Snack 19/12 ... Recognising Pharisees
The word Pharisee can be used as an insult with a force equal to other Biblical notables such as Jezebel, Jonah and Judas. Each name has become a title of derision - with good reason considering the character of each name-sake.
Pharisees are synonymous with hollowness, religiosity, gracelesseness and a blindly proud ignorance to the things of life they claim expertise in. Jesus warned each disciple without reserve to protect themself from such people's teachings.
“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Mt16:6)
In the preceding chapters of Matthew's Gospel Jesus had walked on water, taught on holiness and worship, healed the daughter of a woman from Canaan and fed four thousand people. As chapter sixteen opens it is the Pharisees and Sadducees who demand even further evidence from Jesus and test Him. There are none so blind as they who refuse to see.
So how can you follow Jesus' advice and guard yourself against the Pharisees' blind teaching?
The Pharisees are those who:
- don't recognise/accept miracles,
- honor their traditions and teachings alone (see also Mathew 15:1-20),
- have a heart that is far from Jesus,
- operate and teach out of law and not love,
- and who are incapable of reading spiritual signs (see also Matthew 16:1-4)
Christendom is still littered with Pharisees. They are not confined to Judaism but are also ripe in both Catholicism and Protestantism (and even Pentecostalism). The spirit of the religious still strives. They are now born in the historical halls of theology and nurtured in the success of academia. Today's Pharisees have simply made new rules to burden believers.
Jesus died for relationship, still so many die in ritual ~ sadly it remains necessary today to be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees.
Today's Soul Snippet:
The church honors Christian knowledge but not Christian devotion.