Summary: Jesus confronted the traditions of men in order to point men to the direction of God.
1. Mark 2.13-3.6
2. We cheer when we see Jesus confront the Pharisees and cast out the money changing Sadducees
3. We support his stand against men using their traditions to speak for God (Mark 7.6ff)
4. But wait, the religious leaders of Jesus' day aren't the only ones to fall into this trap. . . .
Evangelist Jeff Strite tells the following story. There is a true story of a church that had a problem. This congregation had a Young Couples class in the church basement, and it always ran about 5 or 6 people... that is, until a new couple came to church and took over the class. In a matter of months the Sunday School class had grown to 25 or 30 people and there were several decisions for Christ that came out of the class.
But then somebody noted that they were... eating donuts in that classroom.
There was rule in that church that no one was to eat anything in the church building. It was not acceptable. So a committee of the concerned brought their complaints to the preacher and demanded he tell this class how things ought to be done in their church.
The preacher prayed and thought about that all week long. Then on Sunday he got up in the pulpit and addressed the congregation.
"It's been brought to my attention that there's a problem in the young couples' class. I'm told you've been eating donuts down there in your class."
Asking the teacher to stand the preacher asked him "John is this true?" (John said that it was true)
"John tell me -- how many people were in that class when you starting teaching it?" (5 or 6)
How many are attending now?" (25 or 30)
But you've been eating donuts down there... and that's a terrible thing."
"John, tell me -- how many people have converted to Christ out of that class since you began teaching?
(7 or 8).
But you've been eating donuts down in your class... and the rules say you can't eat down there.
Then preacher paused for a moment and then called the servers to the front of the auditorium. He said: "I'm going have the servers take the collection plates and pass them down the aisles. And I want every pack of gum, every mint, every child's snack, and every package of tic-tac's put in those plates."
And when the plates were brought back to the front, filled with foods, the preacher declared: "I don't ever want to hear another complaint about the young couples' class eating donuts EVER again."
* Now, what was the problem? What were these people so upset about? They were upset about... donuts and man-made rules.
* Now correct me if I'm wrong (but I'm not):
o Is there anything in the Bible about eating donuts?
o Is there anything in the Bible about eating food during a Bible study?
o Is there anything in the Bible about eating food in the church building?
* But sometime in the church's history, somebody had created a rule about eating in the building.
o The rule became more important than people being brought into the Church.
o The rule became more important than people converting to Christ.
* The nature of the Pharisee is that they get unhappy when THEIR rules are ignored.
* The rules can deal with donuts in class.
* Or with the order of worship on a given Sunday.
* Or whether there are new songs or old songs selected.
* The rules can deal with whether the preacher wears a tie when he preaches or not.
I. The Rule Makers
1. Priests and High Priests established by Herod and Rome
2. Not well-liked by most of the people
Josephus -- "They are more heartless than any other Jews when they sit in judgment."
a. Revered Torah -- followed only the 5 Books; no Talmud. Etc.
b. No future rewards, this life only; no angels; no resurrection; no providence of God
c. ALL Personal responsibility (works for reward, NOW)
d. Temple-centered; work and income
e. Wealthy and worldly
B. Pharisees -- "Separated Ones"
1. 7 Types; 5 bad; 2 good
2. Rabbis; conservative; Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea
3. Jesus did not criticize their theology but their practice
4. Pharisee and Tax Collector Luke 18.9-14
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."