Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 22:34-46

This is our fourteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we see how Jesus turned the tables on the Pharisees—how He tested their weak faith.

Matthew 22:34-46

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies

under your feet.” ‘

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”  46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Observations

After the Pharisees tried to stump Jesus by asking Him which was the greatest commandment in the Law (and Jesus not only told them which was the greatest, but also the second greatest), He then had a question for them. He asked them whose son was Jesus. They answered correctly: the son of David. He them asked them, why then did David in the Spirit call Him Lord (in Ps. 110:1). It is obvious here that Jesus was pointing out His own deity. But still the Pharisees would not accept it. They understood what He was saying, but they refused to believe that He was the Son of God.

Application

The application for the Pharisees is to believe. The application for us today is the same. We must believe that He is the Son of God—the Lord, our Lord.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 16:1-4

This is our ninth study on this topic. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will focus on how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not being able in interpret the signs of the times, and how many of us can’t do it either.

Matthew 16:1-4

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

Observations

The Pharisees seemed to be obsessed with miracles—that Jesus had to prove Himself by miracles. This was the second time they asked Jesus to show them a sign. The first time was in Matthew 12:38.

Jesus rebuked them for being so concerned with miracles, that they should first be able to read the signs of the times all around them. That is, to know who He was, to understand how people were rejecting Him, and how prophecy was being fulfilled right in front of their eyes.

Jesus again, as in Matthew 12, gives them the sign of Jonah, which was through Jonah a foretelling of and the miracle of His resurrection on the third day.

Applications

So many people today can’t read the signs of the times. So many have no idea what is happening or what will happen. It comes only to those who study bible prophecy. Many don’t even realize their own sin; they don’t read in the bible about sin and how sin begins and grows like a cancer (read Romans 1:24-32). Then they don’t realize how world events are falling into place, telling us that His coming is very soon. Of course, they don’t realize it because they don’t read the prophetical books in the bible. Some people don’t even bother to watch the world news on TV, or read the paper. They maybe don’t want to know what’s going on. They just want to be left along with their games and entertainment and pleasing themselves.

We should look around more and see all the transvestites and the queers, etc., and so to discern our times. We should also look at some of our politicians and see all the corruption and lying, and then to discern how things will end.

God wants us to be aware of things going on, and He wants us to know something of the future—both good and bad—which He has written out for us in His word.

Jesus and the Pharisees : Study #1

To begin our study, I think we should say a little bit about who the Pharisees are. An article I found by Jack Zavada, I think is good. I will give you just the first part of it.

Who Were the Pharisees in the Bible?

The Pharisees in the Bible were members of a religious group or party that frequently clashed with Jesus Christ over his interpretation of the Law.

The Pharisees formed the largest and most influential religious-political party in New Testament times. They are consistently depicted in the Gospels as antagonists or opponents of Jesus Christ and the early Christians.

The name “Pharisee” means “separated one.” The Pharisees separated themselves from society to study and teach the law, but they also separated themselves from the common people because they considered them religiously unclean.

Besides this article—and there is a lot more to it if you care to click the title and read it—I’m sure we will gain a good bit of info on the Pharisees just by this progressive study.

What I want to do in this study is to just observe what the Pharisees do and say toward Jesus and about Jesus; we want to see their attitude toward Jesus. We also want to see Jesus’ attitude and sayings about the Pharisees. In the end, we want to make some applications for ourselves and maybe also about other people. We want to look and see how some people are like the Pharisees and how others are more like Jesus. Generally, we can say that Jesus is the good guy who does everything right (because He is God); and the Pharisees are the bad guys who do most things wrong—though in their eyes, they are always right—righteous.

Okay, here is what we will do. I have already found all the passages in the gospels where there is a conversation or debate between Jesus and a pharisee, or a group of Pharisees. I found 41 such passages, eliminating all the repeat passages (mainly between Matthew and Mark, in which case I used Matthew). We will take this study a little at a time until we are finished. We will start this first blog with Matthew 5:17-20.

Matthew 5:17-20

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Bold text for emphasis)

Observations

In this passage Jesus is preaching in His famous Sermon on the Mount. He is saying here that He has come to fulfill the law, not to abolish it—as the Pharisees may have been saying about Him. In this public sermon He does not tip toe around the Pharisees. He comes right at them, telling His disciples and all who are listening that their kind of righteousness is not good enough to enter heaven. He said that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees…you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

John MacArthur in his bible notes writes that the Pharisees “had a tendency to soften the law’s demands by focusing only on external obedience.” But Jesus here was preaching a more “radical holiness” that demanded on “internal conformity to the spirit of the law.”

Applications

If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we ought to boldly warn against false teachers. And if we know who they are we ought not to be afraid to point them out.