Were the teachings of Jesus similar to that of the Pharisees? February 6, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Religion, Theology.
One of the things that has always bothered me was the way Jesus supposedly treated the Pharisees. On one hand, he taught us how we should treat our enemies (we should love them, do good to them, pray for them, etc.) yet it is recorded that he was mean and nasty towards the Pharisees. Wasn’t this a bit hypocritical?
I continue to have doubts that Jesus actually treated the Pharisees as badly as it is recorded when his core teachings include loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, and doing unto to others what you would like them to do for you.
In fact, many of Jesus’ teachings line with with many of the Pharisee’s teachings made popular during the years before Jesus was born. This morning, I read the following passage that brought this issue to light once again:
Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
My question is this – Why is Jesus condemning the Pharisees a teaching that lines up with many of the teachings attributed to him? Here’s a sample:
Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the dead bury their own dead.”
A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’
If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.
And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father.
Can you see the similarities with the teaching of the Pharisees that Jesus was calling into question and what Jesus himself taught? In fact, it’s easy to conclude that Jesus’ teachings were more radical than that of the Pharisees on this subject.