Summary: Jesus’ values were based on loving the Lord with all of one’s heart, soul, strength and mind. (Luke 10:27) The Pharisees’ values were rooted in their traditions and their religious laws
How Jesus’ Life and Ministry Contrasted With the Pharisaical Religious Leaders
Illustration:The trouble oftentimes with religious people is that they try to be more spiritual than God himself.
1. Jesus’ values were based on loving the Lord with all of one’s heart, soul, strength and mind. (Luke 10:27) The Pharisees’ values were rooted in their traditions and their religious laws.
Ask the Lord to help you to be motivated by a greater love for the Lord than by human traditions or compliance to man made rules.
2. Jesus insisted on following the Father through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the teaching of His holy word. He said, "Sanctify them through your word, your word is truth." (John 17:7) The Pharisees insisted on following every minor detail of the Talmud and Torah’s laws for the approval of men in authority.
Ask the Lord to help you be led by the Spirit as you meditate on the scripture to gain an authoritative direction from the Lord for every situation.
Quote; If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Abraham Maslow quoted in Eating Problems for Breakfast by Tim Hansel, Word Publishing, 1988, p. 54.
3. Jesus emphasized pleasing God by doing the Father’s will with the right motives. The Pharisees emphasized pleasing of the religious authority and God by keeping to legalistic and traditional religious standards.
Serve the Lord out of right motives rather than trying to please people by carrying out the letter of human laws.
4. Jesus exemplified the servant to people in a way that would make disciples who could reach their own people groups. The Pharisees became preoccupied with political maneuvering to gain the highest seats in the temple courts.
Ask the Lord to help you focus on the essentials of building God’s kingdom rather than your own.
5. Jesus taught that people will gain rewards laid up for them in heaven for those who will be content to give to please God. He knew that real rewards come from trusting and obeying God even when people do not understand your ministry. The Pharisees sought rewards through their promotions to higher positions of power among the religious leadership.
Resist the temptations to look for human promotions, but instead seek the real rewards that come from the Spirit of God.
Illustration:Baseball pitcher Tug McGraw had a wonderful philosophy of pitching. He called it his "frozen snowball" theory. "If I come in to pitch with the bases loaded," Tug explained," and heavy hitter Willie Stargell is at bat, there’s no reason I want to throw the ball. But eventually I have to pitch. So I remind myself that in a few billion years the earth will become a frozen snowball hurtling through space, and nobody’s going to care what Willie Stargell did with the based loaded!"
Our Daily Bread, July 26, 1994.
6. Jesus overcame the problems of the coldness of relational familiarity by emphasizing a continual feeding on the Lord’s goodness
and love with daily devotions. The Pharisees took their religion and standing with God for granted. Ask the Lord for the power and wisdom to worship the Lord daily with at least 30 minutes of solitary devotions - preferably in the morning.
7. Jesus showed a willingness to confront the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, pride and ineffectual leadership because He saw the effects it made on their followers. The Pharisees sought to have Jesus killed because he represented a threat to their power, security and lucrative means of extorting money from people. Ask the Lord to give you the courage, tact and wisdom to do what you can to confront leaders who drift toward Pharisaical styles of leadership.
8. Jesus taught men not to fear men who have no real spiritual power, but to fear God. The Pharisees only feared men in positions of power - religious, political, economic, social etc. The Pharisees and the Sadduccee loved to intimidate people by using threats to control people with their autocratic leadership style. Ask the Lord to help you avoid the errors of autocratic leadership helping people to fear God rather than men.
9. Jesus directed His attention to God’s priorities of seeking first the expansion of His kingdom in quality and quantity as well as His righteousness in every aspect of life. (Matt. 6:33,34) The Lord fixed His attention on producing disciples who could multiply His vision of reaching all the people groups of the world through the power of the Spirit. The Pharisees directed their attention to their human concerns of keeping everyone firmly under the control of the religious laws, processes and powers. The Pharisees were more concerned about humanistic, legalistic and traditionalistic values than God’s love. Ask the Lord to help you be led by Christ’s grace, love and truth rather than thinking like the Pharisees.