As I was searching on the Internet to find out whether the Pharisees had still survived since the times of Jesus, it began to dawn on me that the Pharisees had become quite notoriously associated with someone who was known to be a hypocrite such that any Jewish sect would want to steer clear of any links with them.
One of the many strong words used against the Pharisees can be found in Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 23 – the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. Besides being called hypocrites, they were also referred to as children of hell, blind guides who strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel, full of greed and indulgence, whitewashed tombs and brood of vipers.
However, not all Pharisees were like that. In John’s Gospel Chapter 3, we are told that Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and he came in the night to ask Jesus some serious questions. He also spoke up for Jesus at the end of Chapter 7 and helped in the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion in Chapter 19.
The Pharisees who were strong in their oral traditions, could well be the ones who enabled the Old Testament scriptures to be passed down from the Jewish parents to their children in every generation so that the scriptures might be well preserved. The Pharisees probably started well, but along the way smugness slowly crept in.
In the Star Wars movie series, I recall that the young Darth Vader had a very promising start.
The journey may be long, but I urge all of us to make sure that we finish the race well.
Pastor Frankie Koh