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The Wisdom of the Pharisees

by Chip Brogden
“This man cannot be from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath day” (John 9:16ff).
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
I have made the statement several times that most churches would not recognize the Lord Jesus even if He walked down the aisle on Sunday morning and sat on the altar. This statement is largely designed to shake people out of their complacency. It is highly unlikely that Jesus will actually go to church this Sunday.

I do not believe Jesus attends many religious meetings, and this belief has a Scriptural basis: “He does not keep the Sabbath day.” For that matter, He does not keep any day, for every day is His Day and He cannot be contained within a particular twenty-four hour period.

When you read the Gospels two things become quite clear. First, Jesus is undeniably, unquestionably GOD IN THE FLESH, Wholly Other. Second, the more religious you are, the less likely it is that you will see, recognize, and appreciate Him for Who He really is.

Sinners, on the other hand, had little trouble recognizing Him. The Samaritan woman may have been a despised outsider to the Jew’s system of religion but it only took her a few minutes to realize that she had found the Messiah. The Roman centurion, an unworthy Gentile, nevertheless knew where to go when his servant was sick, and Jesus said this man’s faith was greater than anyone in Israel. The Syrophoenician woman had enough faith to ask Jesus for only a few crumbs from the table, and even though she was technically not a Jew, Jesus gave her everything she asked for. Yes, Jesus was indeed a friend of sinners, publicans, tax collectors, and women caught in adultery.

But look at His own people, the Jews. Listen to the religious leaders, the spiritual teachers of Israel, the professionals and the experts of prophecy and the Law. What is their verdict? How do they read Him?

* * * *

“This man cannot be from G_d.” Cannot be? Are you sure? This man is opening the eyes of the blind, casting out devils, making the lame to walk, raising people from the dead, multiplying food, walking on water and teaching people to love one another – even love their enemies. This man cannot be from G_d? Why not? On what grounds are we going to reject him? We cannot deny that this man is performing powerful miracles and signs.

“This man cannot be from G_d, because he does not keep the Sabbath day.” Well, I suppose that settles it. Y’shua cannot be from G_d, he cannot be a prophet, he cannot be the Messiah or the Son of G_d, or even a good Jew, because he does not keep the Sabbath day! Yes, it is all very clear now. How could we have missed that?

You know, I was almost swept away by this man. For a moment there I really was beginning to believe. He is very, very persuasive. But if he doesn’t keep the Sabbath then he cannot be from G_d. And if he doesn’t keep the Sabbath then he probably doesn’t tithe, either. Does he pay the Temple tax? We should check on that, I bet he doesn’t. You know, that reminds me, his disciples don’t fast twice a week either. Even John’s disciples fasted. Y’shua told his disciples there was no need to fast as long as He was with them! Oh, didn’t you know? He eats and drinks with sinners – a little too much eating and drinking, if you know what I mean.

Something else I noticed, too… he doesn’t wash before he eats. It’s true! He said the outside of the cup doesn’t matter, it’s what’s inside. Are you sure Y’shua is really a Rabbi? He hasn’t been to any of our schools. I’m not sure where he comes up with his teachings. Get this. Y’shua was preaching in Capernaum and told them he came down from heaven! Not only that, but he said if they eat his flesh and drink his blood they will live forever! Strange, very strange. Many of his disciples got right up and walked out. I don’t blame them. It’s all very strange and very sick.

So where does Y’shua get his power? If He doesn’t keep the Sabbath then whatever power he has can’t come from G_d. If the power doesn’t come from G_d then it must come from Beelzebub. How else can you explain it? That’s why it’s so easy for him to cast out demons!

Fellow Pharisees, this man Y’shua must be stopped. Not only that, he deserves to die. First, because he calls G_d his father. Y’shua also says he has the power to forgive sins. No one but G_d can forgive sins, so he is obviously guilty of blasphemy. Second, he does not keep the Sabbath. Now the Law of Moses says if anyone does not keep the Sabbath they must be put to death. Third…

* * * *

Friends, you are witnessing the wisdom of the Pharisees in action. Jesus called them fools, blind leaders of the blind, snakes, and hypocrites who will not escape the damnation of hell. Amen, we say. How easy it is to look back on this evidence today and condemn the Jews for failing to recognize their Messiah and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

However, I suggest that the sect of the Pharisees is alive and well today, only it is no longer a sect within Judaism, it is a sect within Churchianity that continues to differentiate people based on external religious rules and customs. The names and customs have changed, but the same old “wisdom” prevails:

“You cannot be a Christian if you don’t go to church.”

“God will not bless you unless you pay your tithes.”

“You cannot know the truth unless you get it from the 1611 King James Version.”

“If you leave the church you lose your spiritual covering.”

“If you don’t submit to authority you have a Jezebel spirit.”

“Submission means never asking questions.”

“A true prophet always encourages and never judges.”

“Women be quiet.”

“Jesus’ real name is Y’shua.”

“God’s real name is G_d.”

“Saturday, not Sunday.”

“Sunday, not Saturday.”

When you take all these things and add them up, what do you get? What is the result? Pride, spiritual elitism, narrow-mindedness, dullness, and darkness. In a word, I describe these people as DISTRACTED FROM THE SIMPLICITY OF CHRIST!

Religion is the result of becoming consumed, absorbed, vexed, and stressed out over the “many things” while completely overlooking that only One Thing is needed (cf. Luke 10:41,42). It is the scrupulous, agonizing work of straining out gnats and swallowing camels (Matthew 23:24). Taken to its absurd conclusion, it actually feeds that Spirit of Antichrist that is always fighting against the Testimony of Jesus.

In Acts 18 we find Paul preaching Jesus in Corinth. As is always the case, whenever you decide to preach JESUS AS HE IN FACT IS, it will attract the ire of the local religious establishment:

“When Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose in concerted action against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law” (Acts 18:12,13, NLT).

You see? There it is again – the Law of Moses, Torah, the traditions and customs of the elders. Paul was always ready to debate the Jews. Being a Jew and a Pharisee for many years, Paul enjoyed the arguments and usually won them. Yet something different happened that day…

“Just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, ‘Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would be obliged to listen to you. But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish laws, you take care of it. I refuse to judge such matters.’ And he drove them out of the courtroom” (Acts 18:14-16, NLT).

Hallelujah! Thank God for Gallio! If an unbelieving Roman judge has enough discernment to confound the wisdom of the Pharisees, what about us? I pray God will give us the gift of single-mindedness in our pursuit of Christ and Christ alone. May God give us the courage to say, “If it is a question of Christ and His Kingdom I would be obliged to look at the issue more closely. But since it is merely a question of words and names, Sabbath days and holidays, religious rules about outward things, Bible versions and denominations, you take care of it yourself. I refuse to argue over such matters.”

His yoke is easy! His burden is light! Come to Him and learn of Him. Repudiate the wisdom of the Pharisees and embrace this Man Who does not keep the Sabbath, because this Man is the Son of the Most High God, and there is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!

11 Comments

  1. Nicki Landa

    I have been out of organized church for three years, yet today, as I read this, I am convicted of how much the “church” is still in me & how the spirit of the pharisee is alive & well in my heart. I just dressed it up differently. Thank you for being here!

    Reply
  2. C.L. Mareydt

    Thank you for this clear, simple, & profound message!

    It speaks volumes & it will ‘reach’ many.

    Peace & Love
    C.L.

    Reply
  3. EMMANUEL EGUAIKHIDE

    This is what we need in these last days for our eyes to be opened less we be misled like the Pharisees of old. Thanks for this exposure

    Reply
  4. Kris

    Such SIMPLE logic:

    Matthew 12:25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

    Jesus could not present it to us in any more of a simplistic manner, yet the religious spirit STILL continues on.

    Thank you Chip for bringing the point home in this extended article.

    Reply
  5. Craig

    Jesus IS THE SABBOTH…He is LORD OF THE SABBOTH

    Reply
  6. James Mal

    There are said to be 9000 denomination in This World. 4000 in US alone.They all claim to be the Kingdom of God. They all grab each others throat. How can such a Kingdom survive; I wonder? A Kingdom divided against itself is heading towards destruction. Math.12:25
    James

    Reply
  7. kim

    God gave us only jesus that is all.

    Reply
  8. Chris

    Chip,
    I admire your passion for the Lord and your commitment to Him. I believe in keeping the 7th day Sabbath. I don’t do it to earn my salvation. It is a gift from my Lord and I am blessed to keep it holy. I mess up regularly and I’m quite sure that I fail in keeping it holy many times. Thank God for His wonderful grace given to me through Jesus Christ my Lord. I try to observe the “ten words” and though I fail, I am forgiven and restored daily. I have no ill will toward any of my brothers and sisters who do not agree with me on the issue of keeping the 7th day Sabbath holy. Yet, it is beginning to make me sad. Nevertheless mercy triumphs over judgment and He desires mercy over sacrifice. I guess the thing that is hardest for me to understand is how anyone could consider a “gift” from the LORD to be a burden. God made the 7th day Sabbath for me and you… for our benefit. How is it that it is now a burden? Quite the oxymoron isn’t it… rest becoming a burden? The pharisees were wrong, by the way. Jesus did keep the Sabbath day holy. It was they who were not keeping it holy. They just wanted to keep it. Jesus understood the heart of the Father and why the 7th day Sabbath was given to us. Man is more important than Sabbath. The Lord is more important than Sabbath. Ministering to the “needs” of other human beings is greater than the Sabbath. Ministering to the LORD was also of greater importance than Sabbath. Mat 12:5 NASB “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?

    Chip,
    Please be careful not to over react in your understanding of Sabbath. I may be wrong and I will continue to seek the LORD about this. I’m not interesting in being dogmatic. I do sincerely care, though. You minister to many people. The LORD has used you to minister to me. (Thanks, by the way, for this site and your faithfulness to our King) It is hard to undo things and difficult to unsay things.

    Please pray for Him to continue to reveal Himself to us until we fade into His glory.

    Chris

    Reply
    • Chip Brogden

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your thoughts.

      My understanding is that Christ is the Sabbath Day. The Person replaced the Day. If you really want to celebrate what the Sabbath Day represented and you are willing to celebrate it as a “day” then you are in for a real blessing once you transfer that devotion over to celebrating the Sabbath Person. It sounds like you are almost there.

      I have a four part audio series devoted to this subject, available here:
      http://www.chipbrogden.com/product/the-lord-of-the-sabbath-mp3/

      You can get this on a “whatever-you-can-afford” basis if the suggested donation is beyond your ability, so don’t let that stop you. I think it will help you in your quest to honor the Lord, which is what comes through in your comments. So I respect that. Thank you for your honest feedback and willingness to seek the Lord on this.

      Reply
  9. Joe Regnillob

    A most helpful article for those with a touch of Phariseeism. Interesting how you used the rendering “G_d” as the Jews do. I didn’t pick up if it had a point or was just a preference. Just one thing I disagree with. “Women, be quiet.” Are you implying there is no Biblical basis for women to be silent at certain occasions? I think your statement was too general to be helpful, and could cause confusion. Even so, still a great article.

    Reply
  10. Paul

    No more arguing. No more reason to get trapped. Thank you for the following wisdom, Chip!

    “But since it is merely a question of words and names, Sabbath days and holidays, religious rules about outward things, Bible versions and denominations, you take care of it yourself. I refuse to argue over such matters.”

    Reply

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