Why Did the Pharisees Hate Jesus So Much?
When you talk to individuals who are not Christians today, you will find that they are often highly positive of Jesus and his teaching. “I don’t think that He was the Messiah, and I don’t believe that He was the Son of God, but Jesus was unquestionably a wonderful guy,” they’ll declare. He was an excellent instructor. “Perhaps He was a prophet.” It is important to note that this type of strong admiration for Jesus is not universal. Even in the Bible, we find examples of people who were hostile toward Jesus, with the scribes and Pharisees being the most prominent of these individuals.
In John 5, we are informed that they desired to murder Him, and in John chapters 8 and 10, we are told that they attempted to stone Him to death.
However, while it is impossible to offer a comprehensive explanation for why they were motivated in this manner, the following are three reasons why the religious leaders despised Jesus so intensely.
Why would they feel envious of the Son of God, if they were not?
- It is widely believed that he enjoyed widespread public support, whereas Jewish leaders burdened their people with enormous duties, and they treated those who lived among them — the inhabitants of the earth — with what appeared to be an attitude of contempt and derision.
- Due to the fact that the Pharisees were mainly concerned with the sin of the people, they held a certain amount of scorn for the regular people.
- They were moved.
- The second reason they despised Him was because He had revealed their identities to them.
- They were seated in the most elevated sections of the synagogue.
- They were the ones who were most lauded and celebrated for their virtue.
- It seemed as if you were like dead men’s tombs, whitewashed sepulchers that were painted without a flaw on the outside but were filled with the bones of deceased people on the inside.
The impurity, crud, and filthiness of your skin are concealed from the public eye by any means at your disposal.
” A group of religious leaders who were outraged that God’s people were losing the purity of the covenant that they had made with God and were becoming slack in their morals and adherence to God’s commands began to emerge during the intertestamental era.
These were the traditional conservatives of the day.
In fact, one faction of the Pharisees thought that if they could obey every commandment that God provided to Israel in the Old Testament for just twenty-four hours, God would be compelled to bring the Messiah to Israel, according to their beliefs.
To put it simply, they were forgeries.
Nothing, however, indicates a forgery quite like the presence of the actual article.
For the most part, it didn’t require extraordinary intelligence to distinguish between the genuine article and the counterfeit.
There is a widely held belief that God must assign grades on a grading scale.
As a result, it must have been a horrible or unfair exam, or the instructor must have failed in his or her instruction because the pupils failed to learn.
There is a formula for accomplishing this.
This throws off the formula, and as a result, most students dislike persons who defy the rules of physics or mathematics.
The bad news is that God doesn’t give grades on a scale of 1 to 10.
All persons will be judged according to His flawless standard of righteousness, which will be applied to everyone.
The good news, on the other hand, is that Jesus reversed the trend.
He went out of His way to do so for us.
Their hatred for Him, according to my estimation, sprang from their fear—not so much of what they could suffer at the hands of the Almighty in His fury as they were of the implications of allowing Him into their midst.
Take a look at Israel’s historical development.
You’ve probably heard of the Pax Romana, but did you know that there’s also a Pax Israeliana?
A conquered people almost often refers to a group of people who have been subjected to the oppression and tyranny of their adversaries.
It had been the case throughout Jewish history that there would always be individuals who were devoted to revolution, who want to free themselves from the oppression of the foreigners who had imprisoned them.
There were a few persons among Jesus’ disciples who were known as Zealots: at least two, and most likely more.
The Jewish leaders were concerned about the ramifications of an uprising against Rome.
They were terrified of the Romans. They were concerned that Jesus would somehow instigate an insurrection, spark another rebellion, and result in a slaughter, and so they tried to have Him removed from the scene before he could cause trouble for them.
Why Did They Hate Jesus?
It is frequently said that Jesus was executed because the Jews despised him for associating with sinners and tax collectors, and that the Jews were enraged by his inclusiveness and tolerance. A small amount of truth can be found in this type of emotion, however it is a very small amount of truth. Without a doubt, many of the Jewish officials were displeased with Jesus because he extended friendship and kindness beyond their narrowly defined borders. However, it is inaccurate to assert that Jesus was despised merely because he was too doggone nice, as if his awe-inspiring tolerance was the root cause of his adversaries’ unyielding intolerance.
In my estimation, Jesus is opposed once for eating with sinners (2:16), once for upsetting stereotypes about him in his hometown (6:3), a few times for violating Jewish scruples about the law (2:24, 3:6, 7:5), and several times for “blasphemy” or for claiming too much authority for himself (Matthew 7:5).
- Mark’s Gospel shows us how the Jewish authorities become more and more antagonistic against Jesus as the narrative progresses.
- There are many things about Jesus that the Jewish authorities dislike, but their most intense and homicidal rage is aimed against him because he believes “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (14:62).
- For example, Luke emphasizes Jesus’ affiliation with society’s outcasts as a source of contention for the Jewish authorities, but John emphasizes Jesus’ unique position as God’s equal.
- In response to the growing popularity of Jesus’ reputation as a healer and miracle worker, increasing numbers of people flock to him, driving the ruling class to further detest him.
- There were a variety of reasons why the Jewish authorities despised and finally came to despise Jesus.
- They were enraged with him because he had disrupted their traditions as well as some of their legal preconceptions about the law.
- But, most all, they despised Jesus because he claimed to be from God and, as time went on, ventured to declare himself to be on an equal footing with God.
This is why Jesus was crucified.
It’s safe to say that jealousy played a role (Matt.
But it went deeper than that; they simply lacked the vision to see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the faith to believe it.
26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:66-71; and less clearly in John 18:9-24).
After all was said and done, it was Jesus’ tacit and explicit assertions of power, Messiahship, and God-ness, rather than his boundless love, that eventually brought him down.
We require Jesus’ example to guide us in the right direction.
Despite their disapproval of Jesus’s extensive compassion, the Jewish authorities desired his death because he believed himself to be the Christ, the Son of the living God.
However, it is likely that he would not have been executed if he had not made claims to deity, power, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Kevin DeYoung (PhD, University of Leicester) is senior pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, a member of the Gospel Coalition’s council, and an associate professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Just Do Something is one of his many works of fiction, which he has authored.
Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah. Kevin and Trisha have nine children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, Mary, Benjamin, Tabitha, Andrew, and Susannah.
Why did the Pharisees hate Jesus so much?
It’s possible that the Pharisee is the only figure that fared worse than a Nazi in the calculus of evil, but that’s just speculation. These were the very first black hats ever made. They are the no-stories in each of the gospel accounts, and they are the precise antithesis of Jesus himself. For the simple reason that we are sinners just like them, we impute to the Pharisees every imaginable fault that we do not believe ourselves are responsible for. It’s possible we’ll have to confess to this or that vice, but at the very least, we’ll convince ourselves, we’re not like those other men.
- This is the scapegoating scenario we have in mind.
- He healed a puppy, and the owners booted it out of the house.
- He exposed their hypocrisy and called them out on it.
- However, their hate for Him was not only a result of their dissatisfaction with His popularity rating, nor was it based on a fundamental difference between good and evil.
- They despised Jesus not because he called them names, but because he posed a danger to their financial stability, social standing, and livelihood.
- The Pharisees had negotiated a tense truce between the powers of Rome and their own people, which had been a source of contention for them.
- Nations who were prepared to surrender to the military and political power of Rome were free to go about their business.
The advent of the Zealots, a group inspired by the Maccabees and dedicated to removing the burden of Rome, was a result of this development.
And they were able to make a respectable income doing it.
His rising popularity, his discourse of the kingdom, and his declaration that He was, in fact, the Messiah all posed a threat to the fragile peace in the region.
“Why do you feel it expedient for us that one man should suffer for the people, rather than that the entire nation should perish,” Caiaphas replied in a moment of deceit, yet he was speaking the gospel truth when he added ().
We would be prudent to keep this in mind because the trend has not changed.
When the zealous, the obedient, and those who refuse to acknowledge that Caesar is Lord are delivered over to Caesar, it is because they are fearful of man rather than of God that they will be turned over to Caesar.
Last but not least, persecution does not split the church, but rather shows where the boundary between wheat and chaff is drawn. It is possible that the real church may be burnt during times of persecution, but those who escape will merely be blown away.
Why Did the Pharisees Dislike Jesus?
It’s possible that the Pharisee is the only figure that fared worse than a Nazi in the calculus of evil, but that’s just speculation. These were the very first dark hats ever made. They are the no-tales in every one of the gospel accounts, and they are the ones who stand in the way of Jesus himself. We, since we are heathens just like them, impute to the Pharisees any and all sins that we believe we are not responsible for on our own will. We may have to acknowledge to this or that offense, but at the very least, we make it clear to ourselves that we don’t care for such people.
- The people on the street mumbled and spat as he walked along the path.
- In truth, the Pharisees despised Jesus, and He is not well-known for exhibiting much beauty to them, as is the case with many other religious leaders.
- He discovered the graves that were hidden within them.
- It was a little more timid in its approach.
- He would wreck all they had fought so hard for and have them all slaughtered in the process.
- You will recall that Rome desired to change the style of life that had been established by its military forces.
- Whatever the case, Israel was not a government that valued its citizens’ ability to maintain a separation between their political and religious allegiances.
As a result of the rebellion in 70 AD, the city of Jerusalem was demolished in its whole, according to tradition.
Furthermore, they were able to bring home the bacon as a result of their efforts.
His presence, his explanation of the kingdom, and his confirmation that He was, in fact, the Messiah all contributed to the deterioration of the already precarious peace.
This is the method in which Caiaphas came to speak a clear truth in the midst of a moment of injustice when he said, “nor do you believe it feasible for us that one man should pass on to the whole population, rather than that the entire country should perish” (John 11:50).
We would be wise to keep this in mind because the example is still relevant.
The careless, the fickle, the ones who fear man instead of God will swing the pendulum back to Caesar in favor of the active, the steady, and those who refuse to acknowledge that Caesar is Lord.
Although mistreatment does not divide the congregation, it has been shown where the boundary is drawn between wheat and garbage at long last. Despite the fact that the actual church may be signed in the midst of abuse, the persons who manage to flee may get overwhelmed.
3 Reasons Why Jesus Was Hated
Perhaps, in the scheme of things, the only figure who performs worse than a Nazi is a Pharisee, according to the calculus of evil. Dark caps were introduced with them. These people appear in every single one of the gospel tales, and they are the ones that sabotage Jesus’ plans. We, since we are heathens like them, impute to the Pharisees any and all sins that we believe we are not responsible for ourselves. Despite the fact that we may be required to acknowledge this or that offense, we make it clear that we have no affection for those individuals.
- They mumbled and spewed as he sauntered down the path with his arms in his.
- To be honest with you, the Pharisees despised Jesus, and He isn’t exactly known for exhibiting much beauty to them.
- He discovered the graves that were hidden inside them.
- It appeared to be a little weaker in the stomach.
- He would wreck everything they had fought so hard for and have them all slain in front of their eyes.
- It’s important to remember that Rome aspired to change the manner of life that had been established by military power.
- ” What’s more, Israel was never a country that encouraged people to keep their political and religious allegiances separate.
Thus, the insurrection in 70 AD, which resulted in the extermination of Jerusalem as a result of its destruction, It was the Pharisees who were the ones who had their finger in the dike throughout the story.
Although Jesus continued to stab at the levee, no one could stop him.
The Romans would be alerted and begin killing Jews in an unpredictable manner, not attempting to distinguish between the Pharisee party and the Jesus party, in the case that the broad public rallied behind Joseph’s kid.
Although the Pharisees loathed Jesus, it was not because He had caused them to appear unattractive to the general public, but rather because He had made them all appear unattractive to the Roman authorities.
When abuse occurs, it is not the state that initiates the process; rather, it is a segment of the congregation that seeks to appease the state.
Individuals who attempt to maintain respectability, persons who expel the gospel’s offense, individuals who barter their prophet’s mantle for something more fashionable, these are the individuals who sell Christ and His Lady out.
Although mistreatment does not divide the congregation, it has been shown where the boundary is drawn between wheat and detritus at this final stage. However, even if a true Church is established during times of abuse, the people who manage to flee may be overpowered.
Jesus Confronted Empty Religion
Taking a quick look at Matthew’s Gospel’s 23rd chapter will illustrate the polemical nature of Jesus’ mission. The scribes and Pharisees’ hollow religiousness was something that Jesus confronted directly, even though he was not always confrontational in his approach to preaching and teaching. Seven times in one chapter (Matthew 23), Jesus is reported as having spoken the ominous phrase “woe to you.” In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus admonished the scribes and Pharisees, calling them hypocrites. In this regard, you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside seem lovely, but on the inside are filled with the remains of dead people and all manner of filth.
“A pastor needs two voices, one for collecting the sheep and the other for driving away wolves and thieves,” according to John Calvin.
Jesus, in his role as the Good Shepherd, summoned his sheep to him, and they responded positively to his call.
Jesus was despised as a result of this.
Jesus Loved the Outcasts
Jesus was despised by the religious authorities of his day. He didn’t spend much time with them, and he didn’t treat them with the respect that they were accustomed to getting from the rest of the community. Instead, Jesus chose to spend his time with outcasts, the poor, the lowly, the ill, the hungry, and the defenseless, among others. For example, consider the fact that Jesus gathered a group of disciples from the fishing sector and tax collecting to be his disciples. However, Jesus summoned those individuals to himself and then sent them out on a mission after he had discipled and trained the people in his own way.
“The Son of Man arrived eating and drinking, and they exclaimed, ‘Look at him!'” says Matthew 11:19.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is vindicated by her acts.” The religious establishment was at a loss as to what to do with Jesus since he challenged their preconceived notions and befuddled their reasoning.
Despite the fact that it was deemed inappropriate by cultural norms, Jesus practically embodied how the church of Jesus should relate with people from all walks of life.
Jesus Forgave Sinners
When Jesus revealed his power and authority to forgive sin among the multitudes of miracles he performed—including turning water into wine and walking on water—the greatest miracle was revealed when he revealed his power and authority to forgive sin. This miracle occurred when Jesus revealed his power and authority to forgive sin to the multitudes of people he fed. According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus healed a disabled man who was brought before Jesus on his bed and healed by him. Because of the large number of people there, the companions carried the guy up to the roof, dismantled the roof, and dropped him into the presence of Jesus before the crowds.
When Jesus witnessed their trust, he told the guy, “Your sins have been forgiven you.” Immediately, the scribes and Pharisees raised their voices in opposition.
Only God has the ability to pardon sins.
What is it that you are questioning in your hearts?
But in order for you to understand that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralyzed man, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And soon after that, he stood up in front of them, picked up what he had been resting on, and returned home, praising God (Luke 5:22-25).
- They didn’t think Jesus was the prophesied Messiah since he didn’t look like him.
- When Jesus was finally put on a Roman cross, it was because the Romans had a basic rejection and hate of Jesus’ divine authority on their part.
- It was a huge source of concern for them when they received the news of the resurrection.
- Even as they were departing, a contingent of soldiers walked inside the city and reported back to the senior priests on what had transpired.
- And this narrative has continued to be passed down among the Jews to this day (Matthew 28:11-15).
- Continue to propagate and believe lies about Jesus, completely oblivious to the reality of what is going to take place before the throne of God in the very near future.
The original version of this article may be seen here.
Why Did the Religious Leaders Want to Kill Jesus?
According to the New Testament, the religious authorities despised Jesus to the degree that they seized Him, tried Him, and took Him before Pilate to be sentenced to death for His actions. What was it that made them so enraged with Jesus that they desired to have Him executed? There were a variety of reasons why they desired Jesus’ death. There were a lot of aspects of Jesus’ character that upset the religious authorities. These are among them.
- According to the New Testament, the religious authorities despised Jesus to the degree that they seized Him, tried Him, and took Him before Pilate to be sentenced to death for his actions. What was it about Jesus that made them so enraged that they desired to see Him killed? Several factors contributed to their desire to have Jesus killed. Numerous aspects of Jesus’ character upset the religious authorities of the day. Incorporated within this are
The religious leaders were enraged by these six items on the list above. As a result, they want to see Jesus put to death. We shall take each of these arguments into consideration. 1. The claims of Jesus outweighed the authority of the authorities. Whenever Jesus declared Himself to be the Messiah, it implied that His authority trumped their authority. He said that the religious authorities did not believe Him, and they were outraged that some of the people did. They inquired, “Have any of the rulers or Pharisees placed their faith in him?” However, this mob of people who do not understand the law is cursed (John 7:48, 49).
- However, the leaders’ hostility and envy were heightened as a result of the attention Jesus was receiving.
- Aside from the religious authorities, Jesus’ actions enraged them as well.
- The miracle was evident, considering that the man was demon-possessed as well as blind and deaf.
- As a result, their “official” explanation for Jesus’ power was that it originated from Satan.
- Jesus was also a danger to their religious structure, which they viewed as a menace.
The Bible relates that on two separate occasions, He entered the temple precincts and drove out the moneychangers, according to the accounts.
And he discovered people who were selling oxen, lambs, and doves in the temple, as well as the money changers who were sitting at their tables.
Jesus posed a threat to their way of life in four ways.
The relationship between the Jews and the Romans was in shaky shaky shape.
He was enraged by the people with whom he interacted.
Those in authority were brimming with self-importance and arrogance.
In response to one Pharisee’s observation that Jesus allowed a woman to wash His feet, he said, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what manner of woman this woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39).
“When the Son of Man came eating and drinking, they exclaimed, “Look, a gluttonous man and an intoxicated man, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” 11:19) in the Bible.
When Jesus hung out with these people, it infuriated the Pharisees and other religious leaders who were accustomed to being in charge.
Jesus Showed Little Respect For Their Customs And Traditions The religious leaders were particularly enraged by Jesus’ lack of regard for their religious traditions, which was more than anything else.
He was well aware that they were rules imposed by humans rather than rules originating from God.
God had commanded that the Sabbath be observed as a day of rest from labor and a time of worshiping the Lord Almighty.
When Jesus saw how they had distorted the Sabbath observance, he was very saddened and enraged.
They, on the other hand, remained silent.
Then Jesus performed a miracle in their midst, healing a man.
They came to the conclusion that the actual Messiah would never do something like that.
They were sure that Jesus would have to die for their sake.
The religious authorities did not wish to send Jesus to death for any reason that was divine or moral in their eyes.
They were adamant about not hearing the truth of God.
In the first place, the assertions he made indicated that he possessed higher power than they.
Because of the supernatural miracles that he performed, which revealed his greater power, they desired him dead for another reason.
He visited the temple and expressed his displeasure with the procedures.
They were apprehensive about how the Romans might react.
Their urge to kill him stemmed mostly from a lack of regard for their religious traditions, which they felt compelled to do so. This is particularly true of Jesus’ attitude toward the Sabbath. Every one of these factors led to their nefarious intention to have Jesus crucified.
The Pharisees and Sadducees: Did They Really Hate Jesus?
We can observe that two factions dominate the religious scene when we read about Jesus in the Gospels: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These and other elements seldom come together to support a single cause. That is, until Jesus appeared on the scene and changed everything. Even the most inexperienced Bible Nerds are familiar with the names of the first two categories we need to investigate. They’re all over the place in the Gospels. These two factions were bitterly opposed to one another. But thank god for Jesus, who came along to bring them all together again.
When the Pharisees and Sadducees arrived to put Jesus to the test, they requested that he show them a sign from on high.
You have the ability to accurately analyze the sight of the sky, but you are unable to interpret the indications of the times.
Then he abandoned them and disappeared (Matthew 16:1-4 NET)
The Sadducees were the big boys of first-century Judea, and they were well-liked by everyone. Consider them to be members of the ecclesiastical aristocracy. Because they were the priests and the Levites, they were in charge of the Temple’s daily operations. In the Gospels, you’ll nearly always find them at one of the Feasts in Jerusalem, which means they’re virtually always there. At one point, these were considered to be the good men. Their forefathers were responsible for the construction of the Second Temple.
They waged an uprising against the Greeks some 200 years before the birth of Christ.
Eventually, he rose to the position of priest/king, and his family founded the Hasmonean Dynasty, which ruled until the time of Herod the Great.
When the Romans ultimately gained control of Judea, these priests and Levites reached a deal with the Roman rulers and formed an uneasy, but stable, peace with the Roman Empire in exchange for protection.
Torah Only, Please
They were the fundamentalists of first-century Judaism, and they were known as the Sadducees. They thought that the Torah was the sole real Word of God and that nothing else could be trusted. This implies that they disapproved of the vast majority of what we now refer to as the Old Testament. As a result, the Sadducees did not believe in the physical resurrection of a coming Messiah when he appeared. What we must remember about the Sadducees is that they were in a position of authority.
This was because they were allied with the Romans and couldn’t allow anything to disturb the balance of power. In the event that a revolutionary showed up for the pilgrimage feasts of Passover or Sukkot and caused a fuss, it may be terrible for their political standing.
When it came to first-century Judaism, the Sadducees were the extremists to be reckoned with. According to them, only the Torah was the authentic Word of God. Thus, the majority of what we refer to as the Old Testament was disregarded. This led the Sadducees to reject the idea of a physical resurrection of the Messiah when he came to earth. That the Sadducees were powerful is something we must remember about them. As allies of the Romans, they were unable to tolerate any disruption of the status quo.
However, the issue with these walls was the question of who had the authority to build them in the first place. The concept of “semikhah” – or “authority” – developed as a result of this. It was said that the Pharisees could trace their semikhah all the way back to the 70 elders who accompanied Moses on his journey up Sinai. This semikhah, according to their beliefs, was passed down from generation to generation by the laying on of hands, until it reached the hands of special rabbis who were given the authority to develop new interpretations of the Torah.
- They had read in the prophetic books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, as well as other literature, that one day the nations will be controlled by the Son of David.
- As a result, they dispatched missionaries around the world in order to persuade pagans to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- Everything that was done outside of Jerusalem to spread the gospel produced a whole new set of problems.
- What about other types of sacrifices?
- Afterwards, they taught that these deeds were equally significant to the Jews as the offerings and Feasts.
The Groups You Haven’t Heard Of
The Essenes were a group of people who were opposed to both the Pharisees and the Sadducees in Jesus’ day. As a result, they traveled to the desert and established a community to await the Messiah, in fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah: “Clear a path for the Lord in the wilderness; construct a level route across the rift valley for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3 New International Version) In many respects, the Essenes were a cross between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, with a dash of apocalyptic fanaticism tossed in for good measure.
Even though, like the Sadducees, they were clergy and Levites, they were enraged by what they saw to be corruption within the religious system in Jerusalem.
Take their idea that YHWH was on his way to kill the Romans and establish His Messiah in Jerusalem, with just their group remaining alive, and you have a recipe for some entertaining theological speculation.
A faction known as the Essenes opposed both the Pharisees and the Sadducees in equal measure. Consequently, they traveled to the desert and established a community to await the Messiah, in fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah: “Clear a path for the Lord in the wilderness; construct a level route across the rift valley for our God. ” According to the New International Version of Isaiah 40:3, Most of the Essenes were a cross between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, with a dash of end-of-the-world fanaticism tossed in for good measure.
While they, like the Pharisees, believed that the entire Old Testament and much more were inspired by God, they were adamant in their opposition to any efforts to convert Gentiles.
The Essenes were a group of people who were opposed to both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. As a result, they traveled to the desert and established a community to await the Messiah, in fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah: “Clear a path for the Lord in the wilderness; construct a level route across the rift valley for our God. (4:3 NET) (Isaiah 40:3 NASB) The Essenes were a hybrid of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, with a dash of apocalyptic extremism tossed in for good measure. They were priests and Levites (as were the Sadducees), but they despised the corruption of the religious establishment in Jerusalem.
Take their idea that YHWH was on his way to kill the Romans and establish His Messiah in Jerusalem, with just their group remaining alive, and you have a recipe for some entertaining theology.
The Essenes were a sect that opposed both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. As a result, they traveled to the desert and established a community to await the Messiah, in fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah: “In the wilderness, prepare a path for the Lord; construct a level route across the rift valley for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3 NET) In many respects, the Essenes were a hybrid of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, with a dash of apocalyptic fanaticism tossed in for good measure.
They were priests and Levites (like the Sadducees), but they despised the corruption of the religious establishment in Jerusalem.
Take their idea that YHWH was going to kill the Romans and establish His Messiah in Jerusalem, with just their group surviving alive, and you have a recipe for some entertaining theology.
Why Were the Pharisees the ‘Bad Guys’ in the Bible?
Jesus barely loses his temper a couple of times in the New Testament (just ask the moneychangers in the Temple), but inMatthew 23, he launches one of his fiercest tirades against the Pharisees and other “teachers of the law,” which is a reference to the Jewish religious establishment. In the seven sorrows, which are found in lines 13-39, Jesus refers to the Pharisees as “hypocrites” six times. Additionally, he refers to them as “blind” (five times), “children of hell,” and “a brood of vipers,” and compares their phony piety and pretensions to “whitewashed tombs,” which appear beautiful on the outside but are filled with the bones of the dead and everything unclean on the inside.
- Traditionally, the Pharisees are depicted as nitpicky enforcers of Jewish law who are so preoccupied with the text of the law that they completely overlook the spirit of the law.
- However, you have failed to address the most significant issues of the law, such as justice, kindness, and loyalty.
- You deafening guides!
- During our conversation with Bruce Chilton, a religion professor at Bard College and co-editor of the book ” In Quest of the Historical Pharisees,” we gained a deeper understanding of what the Pharisees truly thought and why they were at odds with the first century Christians.
Who Were the Pharisees — and the Sadducees?
During Jesus’ lifetime, in the first century C.E., the Pharisees formed as a religious movement inside Judaism, rather than as a distinct sect or movement. The Temple, which was still standing in Jerusalem, served as the focal point of Jewish life. One of the most important considerations in Temple ceremonies was purity – that both the individuals who entered the Temple and the animals killed there were “clean” enough to meet God’s requirements for sacrifice. Pharisees asserted that they had additional divine instructions that had been passed down through centuries of oral tradition that were not contained in the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, beginning with Genesis).
- ‘The Pharisees were under the impression that they possessed a unique reservoir of knowledge about cleanliness,’ explains Chilton.
- What was remarkable about the oral tradition of the Pharisees was that it extended the discussion of purity to include aspects of one’s life outside the Temple complex.
- Consequently, according to Chilton, the Pharisees grew into a movement dedicated to maintaining the purity of the Jewish people.
- That group was comprised of the Sadducees, a priestly class that controlled Temple worship and wielded the greatest amount of political power with the Roman Empire, which ruled over Palestine.
- Known as a working-class movement, the Pharisees were concerned with the establishment of a distinct and consistent Jewish identity in everyday life.
The Pharisees also thought that a messiah would come who would bring peace to the globe, however they did not believe that messiah to be Jesus, as the majority of them did.
Jesus Had Friends (and Followers) Who Were Pharisees
The Pharisees are depicted as a monolithic group in the New Testament, but according to Chilton, while all Pharisees were concerned with cleanliness, there was vigorous discussion within the Pharisees over the most effective means of achieving it. In the ancient world, there were probably Pharisees who felt that purity could only be gained from the outside in, who taught that ritual baths (mikvahs) and ceremonial cleaning of cups and cooking tools were the only ways to achieve purity. In Matthew 23, Jesus criticizes the pharisaic habit of cleansing the outside of cups and plates while the “insides are full of greed and self-indulgence,” as the practice is known.
“If you accuse someone of being impure, you are not implying that cleanliness is unimportant; rather, you are implying that there is a more effective method to obtain it.” However, according to Chilton, there were some Pharisees who would have agreed with Jesus that the genuine process of cleansing begins with a pure heart and confidence in God, and that the true labor of purification begins with the heart.
If you pay great attention to the New Testament, you’ll see that Jesus gained sympathizers and even disciples within the ranks of the Pharisees, who were reputedly despised by the Jewish people.
In addition, in Luke 13:31, a Pharisee arrives to inform Jesus that Herod has ordered his death.
The Pharisees maintained an ideological stance in opposition to powerful apostles such as Paul and Peter, as Chilton notes, which may explain why the Pharisees had such a terrible reputation in the New Testament.
The Meeting That Doomed the Pharisees
The Pharisees are depicted as a monolithic group in the New Testament, but according to Chilton, while all Pharisees were concerned with cleanliness, there was vigorous discussion within the Pharisees regarding the most effective means of attaining it. There were probably Pharisees who felt that cleanliness could only be attained from the outside in, and who taught that ritual baths (mikvahs) and the ceremonial cleaning of cups and cooking tools were the only ways to achieve this state of perfection.
As Chilton points out, “since Jesus himself was involved in the problem of cleanliness — yet was not a Pharisee — his dispute with some Pharisees of his day was unavoidable.” “If you accuse someone of being impure, you are not implying that cleanliness is not important; rather, you are implying that there is a more effective method to accomplish it.” Other Pharisees, according to Chilton, would have agreed with Jesus that the genuine process of cleansing begins with a pure heart and confidence in God, and that the true labor of purification begins with faith in God.
If you pay great attention to the New Testament, you’ll see that Jesus gained sympathizers and even disciples within the ranks of the Pharisees, who were reportedly despised by the Jews at the time of Jesus’ death.
He came at night to interrogate him and then gave him money and spices so that he may be laid to rest in a traditional Jewish manner (seeJohn 3).
However, the most significant and crucial reference of “friendly” Pharisees is found in the book of Acts, where a group of Pharisees is named among the early disciples of Jesus who stayed faithful after his death and resurrection.
According to Chilton, however, the Pharisees took an ideological stance in opposition to powerful apostles such as Paul and Peter, which may explain why the Pharisees had such a terrible reputation in the New Testament.
What Happened to the Pharisees?
According to Chilton, when the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E., the power structure of Judaism was also brought crashing down with it. After being dispersed during the Second Temple era, the Sadducees resurfaced as the most powerful force in Judaism, while the underdog Pharisees, who had “been very much on the outside looking in,” according to Chilton, “actually emerged as the last authority standing” in the Jewish community. After hundreds of years of oral transmission, the oral traditions of the Pharisees were finally written down in the Mishnah and subsequently commented on in the Talmud.
Traditional Jewish practices are carried forth by the Pharisees and are, in a way, a continuation of their work.
Woes of the Pharisees – Wikipedia
It is documented inLuke 11:37–54 and Matthew 23:1–39 as the “Woes of the Pharisees,” a collection of Jesus’ complaints of the Pharisees and the Scribes. Mark 12:35–40 and Luke 20:45–47 both include cautionary statements concerning scribes. Matthew lists eight of them, and as a result, Matthew’s version is referred to as the “eight sorrows.” In Matthew 23, verses 13–16, 23, 25, 27, and 29, you will find a list of them. Only six are stated in Luke’s version, which is referred to as the “six sorrows” in English.
They serve to demonstrate the distinctions between inner and exterior moral states of being.
Context and background
It is referenced twice in the accounts of Matthew and Luke, both of which occur about the same time. They are referenced in Matthew following Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when he teaches in the Temple, however they are mentioned in Luke after theLord’s prayer is offered and thedisciples are first sent forth over the nation. Immediately before introducing the woes themselves, Matthew adds that Jesus rebuked them for assuming the position of honor at feasts, for dressing in showy apparel, and for pushing others to address them as rabbi.
The Pharisees, according to Jesus, were restless with external, routine adherence of details that made them appear acceptable and good publicly but left their inner selves unreformed and corrupt.
The seven woes
The seven ills are as follows:
- These people educated people about God, but they did not love God themselves. They neither entered nor allowed others to enter the kingdom of heaven. Their sermons preached God, but their conversions were to a dead religion
- They taught that an oath taken in front of a temple or altar was not binding, but that if taken in front of the temple’s gold ornamentation, or in front of a sacrificial gift on the altar, it was binding
- And they preached God, but converted people to a dead religion. Unlike the temple and altar, which were holy in and of themselves, gold and presents were not sacred in and of themselves, but gained a measure of lower sanctity by being associated with the temple or altar. The teachers and Pharisees went to the temple and gave sacrifices at the altar because they were aware that the temple and altar were sacred places to be worshipped. When they denied oath-binding value to what was truly sacred and accorded it to objects of trivial and derived sacredness, how could they explain it? They taught the law but did not put it into practice, especially when it came to the most important aspects of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness to God. Although they complied with the petty rules of the law, such as tithing spices, they did not comply with the more important aspects of the law
- They gave the appearance of being ‘clean’ (self-restrained, not involved in carnal matters), but they were filthy on the inside: they were rife with hidden worldly desires and carnality. These people were brimming with greed and self-indulgence
- They presented themselves as righteous on the basis of their strict observance of the law, but in reality, they were not righteous: behind their outward appearance of righteousness lay a secret inner world of immoral ideas and sentiments. It seemed as though they were filled with malice. They looked like whitewashed tombs on the outside, but on the inside, they were filled with the bones of deceased men. Their reverence for the deceased prophets of old was accompanied by the assertion that they would never have persecuted and murdered prophets, notwithstanding the fact that they were cut from the same fabric as the persecutors and murderers: they, too, had homicidal blood coursing through their veins.
- If the rest of the world despises you
- Christ’s Law
- The Law of the Father
- Take care of yourself, physician.