In today’s reading (Mark 12) the overall theme is the opposition Jesus sees from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other Jewish leaders. While the original role of these men was not overly horrible, through the course of time, they became wicked men. Jesus confronts their hearts time and time again.
I think there is a valid lesson we can learn from the Pharisees. This group was concerned with two thing: making sure everyone followed the law of Moses to an extreme, and making themselves look good. Now I think following God’s words and directives are very important, but there is a line we must draw. Legalism can be very wrong. Legalism pushes things to the extreme just the Pharisees did.
I think what we must find is that happy balance. We must be concerned with things like doctrine, correct living, but at the same time not forgetting the grace that we live under. When we get into trouble is when we consider things absolutes when in fact they are more matters of opinions. So what are you thoughts? Do you see your self as a border line Pharisee or someone living on the other extreme; not concerned with doctrine at all? If you feel you have a happy blend, how have you achieved that?
Examine yourself in this way …
Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes
and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the
synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and
for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.