10 Signs you’d be more comfortable with the Pharisees than with Jesus

I’ve been reading a lot in the Gospel of Mark lately.  The more I read about Jesus the more captivated I am with his ministry.  It’s also been pretty convicting.  There have even been times, as I imagine myself being there with Jesus, when I think that I would have been more comfortable hanging out with the Pharisees than I would with Jesus.  That’s scary! That’s also why I’m going to spend the next few posts listing 10 Signs you’d be more comfortable with the Pharisees than with Jesus.

The list certainly isn’t extensive, but it has helped me to guard against a Pharisaical heart and I hope it will do the same for you…

1. You can tell a sinner that unless he repents and believes he is going to hell, but you won’t love him through the process of understanding the implications of these truths.

The Pharisees loved to tell people that they were sinners go to hell, but they refused to patiently love people as they wrestled with the implications of these truths.  Jesus on the other hand, was willing to lovingly help sinners understand the implications of repentance and belief in the Gospel.  Think about it, he never compromised His message and yet sinners felt safe around. The perfect example of this contrast is found in Mark 2:13-17:

13 And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him. 15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Pharisees had rightly condemned these people as sinners, but they were unwilling to help these people see their sin and repent.  They didn’t love them.  Jesus, on the other hand, did love them.  He warned them of the coming Kingdom of God and offered me salvation through repentance and belief in the Gospel (Mark 1:15) and he did all of this at a dinner part the Pharisees were boycotting.
If you would rather shout down, belittle, or boycott individuals then you probably would have been more comfortable hanging out the Pharisees than you would have with Jesus.  On the other hand, if you love individuals enough that you will point out their sin (because it’s dangerous to their soul) and lovingly confront them with the gospel over time then Jesus would have been your guy!
So here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you involved with any kind of evangelism? Or are you involved with isolationism, like the Pharisees?
  • When you share the Gospel do you balance confrontation of sin with loving consideration? Would you have been invited to the taxpayers after party with Jesus, or would you have been holding picket signs with the Pharisees?
  • When you share the gospel does it sound like Good News? Or, does it sound like a proclamation that you’re better then the person you’re talking to?
  • Do you understand that you were dead in your sins apart from God’s saving grace? Does this change anything about your life?