We are up to Matthew chapter 12 in our reading plan today. A large part of this chapter is about Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees.
The Pharisees didn’t like the way Jesus did things. He acted differently to their laws and way of doing things. That made them feel very uncomfortable.
They accused his disciples of “harvesting” grain on the Sabbath. Jesus explained they were preparing food like David’s followers who were hungry and went into the Temple and ate the bread.
Then they tried to trap Jesus on a issue of heading a man’s hand on the Sabbath. Jesus talked about saving a sheep who had fallen into a ditch and how they would rightfully help it out. Jesus then healed the man’s hand in the Synagogue.
The Pharisees got so caught up in keeping the rules. They applied them to themselves to give them a sense of purpose and righteousness in trying to fulfil them.
They also applied them to others so they could judge them and in turn make themselves feel superior and righteous. They also liked to trap people so they could have them stoned.
Rules are not bad, but the Pharisees always took them to the nth degree. They saw them as hard and fast and never thought of compassion, mercy or justice. This is why a loving, caring and compassionate Jesus often rebuked them.
I am so glad I am not a Pharisee in Jesus’ day. I would hate to be so caught up in the rules that I missed the Messiah I was waiting for. Even worse I would hate to think I would want Him dead because He was different to what I thought He would be.