There’s an old Bible word that’s making a comeback in our culture today. It’s being thrown around quite a bit. Christians sometimes lob it at each other, and many non-Christians also enjoy wielding it like Thor’s hammer on God’s people. When it is convenient during arguments over many different issues, the word gets cast to try and end the argument.
What is this seemingly powerful word, you ask?
Yes, even non-Christians know that a Pharisee is not a good person.
But just what is a Pharisee, and what does that have to do with us?
The short answer can be found in a line from an old children’s song:
“‘Cause they’re not fair, you see?”
During the time when Jesus walked the earth, the Pharisees were good at being not fair. The lawyers were just as bad. But the difference is that these two groups of people were honored in Jewish society. They were the leaders. The movers. The shakers. The drivers of Jewish society. The examples people looked up to. And they missed God’s point.
And that’s why Jesus called them out.
So, what does a group of guys from 2000 years ago have to do with those of us trying to follow Christ today, and with those non-Christians standing in vocal opposition to us?
Well, if we’re not careful, any of us (all of us?) can drift into the Pharisee and lawyer’s lanes. It’s easy to do. If we’re honest, probably most of us struggle with at least one aspect of the Pharisaical life. And because the world can smell hypocrisy from miles away, any time any of us that claim to be a Christ-follower sins, stumbles, and falls, the world is right there waiting to say:
“See! We told you so!”
But there is hope. Hope for those of us who want to leave behind the stigma of Pharisee and walk in freedom. As we continue through Luke 11 this Sunday, we’ll see more bad news for Pharisees, lawyers, and anyone else living the way they did. But with the bad news we’ll also see good news. We don’t have to live like Pharisees or lawyers, even when other people mislabel us as such.
Knowing the Truth will set us free. And that freedom is something we and our world around us desperately needs.
Come Sunday morning to find out more!