Luke – Dec 5

Who Are the Pharisees?– Luke 18:9-14

Because the Pharisees figure so prominently in the Gospels as Jesus opponents, we have a negative image of them. But to the people of their day (Jews of 1st Century Israel), the Pharisees were pious, godly, and righteous. They were the political and religious conservatives who were regarded by all as the standard bearers of what it meant to be Jewish.  If anyone could be said to be a fastidious, religious rule-keeper, it was a Pharisee.

When in this parable, Jesus described the Pharisee as someone who was proud of his piety, his hearers would have nodded, and thought, “He had every right to think this way. He’s a Pharisee!” But Jesus turns the tables and says his prayers never left the temple courtyard; he “prayed with himself.”

We have no sect officially called “Pharisees” today. Who do they most closely align with in the modern church? What do such people need to be on guard against?