Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Praise of Pharisees

Pharisees make the world go 'round.  They kept the nation of Israel straight.  They protected the law and the traditions.  They preserved the culture. 

The older brother is the one who got the work done.  He preserved the farm.  He loved his father and stuck around.  And we don't know the rest of the story.  Did the younger brother, the prodigal, remain with the father and take his place, working hard, staying faithful?  Or did he get a wild hair again?  (or is that wild hare?)  Did the father's kind retort persuade the older brother to stand down and accept the prodigal, or did he remain bitter?

We never have a record in the New Testament of the Sadducees, the group that denied the spiritual world, coming to Christ in faith.  They came to dispute, but not to believe. 

I think there are two kinds of Pharisees:  the kind who are searching for truth and godliness and get stuck in the only kind they have available, and the kind who know there is a better way and deny it because Phariseeism tickles their fancy, bolsters their egos, feeds their pride, and allows them power, especially over others usually in the first category.  Don't be hard on all Pharisees.  Yes, Jesus preached against them, but he also welcomed them, just as he did the criminals and scammers and prostitutes.   

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