From a sermon at church yesterday, we discussed 10 Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee. I will post them all here throughout this week.
The Scribes and Pharisees used a woman caught in the act of adultery as a pawn to get to Jesus in John 8:1-11. From this text, we can learn a few lessons about how the heart of a Pharisee works and how we can avoid these same traps.
#1 Pharisees focus on externals more than internals.
They look at what’s on the outside of a person rather than what’s on the inside. The Pharisees were more than happy to condemn this woman for her external, obvious sin. Jesus’ response to them was to force them to look internally at their own hearts.
The Gospel empowered life starts with a heart that has been changed by God’s grace and works its way out to the external behaviors. The Pharisee only looks at the external behaviors and doesn’t acknowledge the inner realities of the heart.
#2 Pharisees are more suspicious of others’ sin than their own sin.
The Pharisees had a major problem here of only seeing the sin of this woman while neglecting to see their own. They brought her to Jesus presuming her to be guilty and themselves to be innocent.
The Gospel empowered person is not so impressed with himself. He doesn’t always trust his own motives and knows that he has sin lurking in his own heart as well. Just like Jesus commanded, he first makes sure he doesn’t have a telephone pole sticking out of his eye before he approaches another to remove a speck of sawdust.
Who’s sin really bothers you? Your own? Or someone elses?
#3 Pharisees always need to be “right.”
The Pharisees were driven by this desire to go and show Jesus that they were right and he was wrong. They thought Jesus was badly mistaken about the Law and they were going to show him just how right they were.
This will always be a temptation for people who have strong convictions and deep beliefs. We hold our beliefs so strongly that we don’t allow other people to penetrate our defenses to help us see where we might be wrong.