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Is it Bad to be a Pharisee?

Is it Bad to be a Pharisee?

Being a Pharisee in the Bible is not synonymous for being a bad person. The Pharisees were not inherently devious because they were Pharisees. No. The Pharisees were simply people who had a zeal for the Torah and the purity of Israel in the hopes of speeding up the coming of God’s Kingdom. This is a quality and not a weakness. Their weakness only showed through when the Messiah they were waiting for and praying for, did not meet their preconceived expectations. This is a weakness that we are ALL subject too. We must check ourselves when we find ourselves looking down our noses at the Pharisees in the Bible. They were not ignorant, and they were no more arrogant than you or I. They were people. Passionate people. Committed people. And sometimes they were misguided people. But we should also know that many Pharisees became followers of Jesus as a matter of continued devotion to the One True God of Israel. Acts 15:5 makes it clear that there were Pharisees who had become followers of Jesus through the preaching of the Apostles. They are still Pharisees too, even after believing in Jesus. Famously, the Apostle Paul himself was also a Pharisees who continued his passion and zeal for the Lord by becoming a devoted follower of Jesus. The problem that the Pharisees faced when it came to acknowledging the Messiahship of Jesus is a problem that I can identify with and I think that most of the human race does as well. The Pharisees were passionate and committed. That is more than we can say for a good amount of the human race. However, passion and pride are two closely related cousins and it is often very hard to get the one without the other. The challenge the Pharisees faced in Jesus was the challenge of recognizing that, in spite of their passion and commitments, some of their passions and commitments were spent on the wrong things. Simply put, their understanding of who God is and their expectations of how He would go about answering their prayers, was in need of some serious critique. Was their pride too big to receive such a blow without retaliation? That is the key question. We all have convictions and expectations about who God is and how He behaves. But what if the reality contradicts our expectations? When that happens, we must ask ourselves “to whom or to what am I truly committed?” Jesus said, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."(John 8:32). Are our convictions leading us to a dead end or are they producing the freedom that comes with the truth? There is nothing inherently bad about being a Pharisee. What is bad is fighting against God. And we have all done that. The question is, will we repent and be saved?

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