And yet, there remained a group where he skipped over the 'Connection - Grace' part and went consistently straight to the Truth part: the Pharisees.
The religious establishment of the time, the Pharisees were the ones who made the link between the people of Israel and God. But they had corrupted that calling with the filth of pride.
Jesus did not show any Grace to them. On the contrary, he responded to their haughty attitude with harsh accusations and a telling portrait of who they really were.
I have gathered all the references in the Gospels to that particular group.
I wanted to know :
- What did the Pharisees themselves consider important ?
- How did they view others ?
- How were they viewed by Christ ?
The result is the study below where I have answered the three questions with verses in the order in which they appear. And a hat tip to Zac Poonen for his inspired and inspiring work in that area.
It breaks my heart to see that things have not changed since Jesus' time. I can see the same characteristics in myself first and in many profess the name of Christ.
My desire in this study on Pharisees is not to condemn a group that is long gone and already judged by the only Judge. It is to warn me about what I need to be careful of, lest the tide of my pride and moralism sweep me away.
The only cure to the very real and current pharisaic disease is one simple thing: Humility.
Study: The biblical characteristics of Pharisees (pdf)
Update: My definition of 'legalism'