Beware. Controlling, religious Pharisees aren’t unique to the first century. In the Bible, religious leaders felt threatened by Jesus. Many still do today. (The Pharisees wanted to keep the living Jesus from disrupting their religion. Do we?)
The Pharisees converted faith into a mere formula to follow, but Jesus says, “Follow Me.” The Pharisees saw their religion as entitlement, but saw the living Jesus as a threat to it.
To be proud and forceful about your opinions, but resist the living Jesus, is to be a Pharisee. The Pharisees were very religious, but they had no room for the living Jesus. They wanted Him dead.
Pharisees believe that they’re good people. Biblical Christians know we’re not. Pharisees are proud of their holiness. Biblical Christians are humbled by our lack of it.
The Bible clearly shows that Jesus didn’t support the status quo. He disrupted it. Pharisees were amazingly good at religious activities, but bad at following Jesus.
I love to see Christians interact as the body of Christ, not just sit and passively listen to one speaker. Worship that refuses to welcome spontaneity, quenches the Holy Spirit. Christ-followers are called to be spiritually living stones, not religious dry bones.
Today we have the Bible and we have direct access to the living Jesus. We can move beyond prepackaged and controlled religion. I’m always amazed at how everyday, the living Jesus is actively working inside me.
The kingdom of God is a demonstratable reality when King Jesus is present and obeyed. Biblical Christianity is so much more than pastor-focus and formal religious status. Unfortunately, I think today’s church might welcome the ancient Pharisees as their strongest members.
Christianity lost sight of
The living Jesus.
If we ignore the living Jesus,
We’ll miss out
On what Christianity
Is all about.
Christians aren’t called
To be proud Pharisees,
But humble servants
Of “the least of these.”
“In our day, the scribes and Pharisees would be represented by the clergy, the professors in our theological seminaries, and all high church officials.” —Francis J. Grimke