During his 3-year earthly ministry, Jesus had encounters with people. Daily encounters. With all sorts of people.
Why does Scripture describe so many specific encounters with the Pharisees? While I do not pretend to even come close to knowing the mind of God, I do know that when I read of Jesus’ encounters with the Pharisees, I feel as though a spotlight is being shone into my own heart.
It is so easy to erect an idol of religiosity, and feel superior to those who don’t meet our standards. It’s easy to swell with pride and think God is so lucky to have me on his team when numbers are up and people think well of us. It’s easy to find security in what I can do for God rather than humbly acknowledge that I can do nothing to save myself.
And, like the Pharisees, I can say all the right words and do all the right things, and it still isn’t enough. Yes, Jesus had harsh words for and with the Pharisees. He let them know that their status did not impress him. But at the same time, when Nicodemus came to him, Jesus did not slam the door in his face. Jesus invited Pharisees to repent. He healed, he preached, he invited– publicly, which means that he offered himself to the Pharisee, as well as to the publican and the sinner.
I am thankful that Jesus extends his offer of grace to the Pharisee, as well as to the desperate. I am thankful that he loves me enough to expose my deceitful heart so I can repent and find rest for my soul.
His grace is amazing. . .