The Pharisees are the religious leaders we love to hate.  In the gospels we see them time and again pitched against Jesus and the side of truth and good.

But let’s stop for a moment to regroup.

Yes, history paints the Pharisees in a bad way.  But in the day, they were the cat’s “meow”. They followed the rules (they defined the rules).  They studied the scriptures.  They practiced charity and giving and tried really really hard to do the right thing.

I think that if they were time-shifted to today, they would be the kind of people we admired.  They would be the kind of people who lived at the church.  When the doors were open, they’d be there.  They would be small group leaders and Bible study teachers.  

(This is a trick question.)

Here’s the truth, though.  They were dangerous. They were wrong in the most deadly way.  Their spiritual leadership was completely off.

The sermon I heard this weekend was the end of John chapter 8.  It started off with the Pharisees claiming that Jesus was demon possessed.

Stop and think about that.  The religious experts said the Son of God was possessed by a demon.

How wrong is that?

That’s not “missed it by just a little”.  That’s playing in the completely wrong sport.

How is it that the religious experts of Jesus’ day were so badly off? Should we worry about that?  And they weren’t just off “a little bit.”  They had it dead wrong.

The pharisees should be a cautionary tale for us today.  Being respectable isn’t a guarantee of “being close”.  The only thing that guarantees the truth is… the truth.

You have to be diligent.  You have to stay focused.  You have to be aware that you aren’t entitled to be right just because of who you are.  

Read John 8:48-59 if you have any questions.  The Pharisees, the establishment, the respectable ones were out of control and beyond any excusing.

Don’t let that happen to you.  The only answer is to go back to the Bible and test yourself.  There is no other standard that we can follow that will guarantee that we are on the right path.  

And don’t become complacent.  That’s the other path to Pharisee-land.

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