Morning Bible Study
Easter plans – Thursday night is movie night with “Woodlawn”. Good Friday at noon is a special service of
worship and communion. Easter morning at
7:00 is a special worship service remembering the resurrection, then the Easter
Breakfast, and our morning services at 9 & 11.
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
11:37-44 Pharisee Woes
:37 And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He
went in and sat down to eat.
:37 a certain Pharisee
In the days of Jesus, there were different “sects” in Judaism, kind of like
different denominations in the church today.
The two main sects we see were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
The Pharisees were the more conservative, while the Sadducees were more
We usually look at the Pharisees as the guys who wore the black hats in the
New Testament, and after all, they were one of the groups who tried to bring
We need to be careful that we don’t look at the Pharisees as “those
guys”. We have a lot more in common with
them than we think.
Take a test with me. Which of these
statements would you say you believe in?
Yes or no?
The entire Bible is inspired by God.
God has the power to perform miracles.
Angels exist. (the ones with wings, not baseball bats)
There will be a resurrection one day when all people will
come back to life and be judged by God.
Heaven is a real place.
I hope you voted “yes” on each of these statements, because they are all
This is what we believe.
This is also what the Pharisees believed.
Those of us who have been believers for a while run the very real risk of
We will look at some of the negative aspects of being a Pharisee today, and
I hope you’ll try and look at yourself honestly in the mirror.
:37 asked Him to dine with him
to dine – aristao – to
breakfast; by later usage, to dine
Though this might be a dinner party, it’s also possible that this is a
breakfast meeting (but probably without the sausage and bacon)
Keep in mind, Pharisees would only eat with “clean” people. They wouldn’t eat with Gentiles or Jewish
people they decided were “sinners”.
This gives you a clue as what kind of category this Pharisee puts Jesus.
He thinks Jesus is okay.
:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first
washed before dinner.
:38 He had not first washed
The Pharisee was surprised that Jesus did not perform the ritual
hand-washing before dinner.
The Pharisees not only believed that they needed to follow all the commands
in Scripture, but they also believed that they needed to follow the
instructions in a group of teachings known as the “Mishna”.
In Jesus’ day, the Mishna was still a group of oral traditions handed down
from rabbi to rabbi without having been written down.
They would eventually be written down, but after the time
They were considered of equal weight as the Scriptures.
They believed that these were further teachings of Moses
that were useful to explain the details of the commandments in the written
The Jews, like many people, have their traditions. In “Fiddler on the Roof”, we learned that
tradition was how a Jew kept balance in their life.
In Jesus’ day, Jewish tradition had developed involving elaborate rituals
for ceremonial purification.
When it came to washing of hands, tradition required that you do it in a
certain way, following a specific set of guidelines.
The Pharisee is surprised that Jesus isn’t washing His hands according to
Not all traditions are bad, but when you are doing something only because
of tradition or because of habit, you are stepping closer to being a Pharisee.
When your traditions go contrary to the Scriptures, you are going to have a
God wants us to know Him personally, not through tradition. God wants us to know Him in truth, according
to the Scriptures.
:39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the
cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.
:39 make the outside of the cup …clean
The Pharisee is one who is only concerned about what others see, not what’s
going on in the inside.
So it’s early in the morning and you’ve just made a pot of coffee.
You look for a clean cup on the shelf and up on the top shelf you can see a
cup that looks just fine.
You take the cup down off the shelf, but when you look inside you see mouse
Are you going to drink from that cup?
Even if the outside is clean?
Some people have different ideas of what “clean” is.
Soap and Water
A pastor was asked to dinner by one of the ladies in his church who he knew
was a bad housekeeper. When he sat down at the table, he noticed that the
dishes were the dirtiest that he had ever seen in his life. “Were these dishes ever washed?” he asked his
hostess, running his fingers over the grit and grime. She replied, “They’re as clean as soap and
water could get them”. He felt a bit
apprehensive, but blessed the food anyway and started eating. It was really
delicious and he said so, despite the dirty dishes. When dinner was over, the hostess took the
dishes outside and yelled, “Here Soap! Here Water!”
:39 inward part is full of greed and wickedness
Last week we talked about the “evil eye”, or as some translations read a
The word for “wickedness” here is basically the same word as “evil” or
We talked about the connection between the “evil eye” and the desire for
wealth and the things that belong to others.
Jesus seems to be using the word in the same way, pairing it here with
Pay attention because Jesus will slip the topic of money into the
conversation. Pharisees do tend to have
a problem with money.
:40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
:40 Did not He … make the inside also?
The real work is inside
The Pharisee might tell himself he is working hard on the outside for God’s
sake, but it’s really just about impressing other people.
God made the inside just as much as He did the outside.
I believe the more important work is what you do on the inside.
The Pharisee is the one who is only concerned about what others see, not
about what God sees.
The Pharisee makes sure that everyone around him is impressed because on
the outside he has it all together.
The work that God wants to do in your life beloved is centered on the
inside, not the outside.
God knows that if you will allow Him to clean up the inside, that the
outside will take care of itself.
The problem we often have at church is that we find ourselves surrounded by
people who can only see the outside.
In order to fit in, we work on the outside instead of the inside.
And that requires that we learn to put on a “mask” when we come to church.
Don’t fool yourself.
You don’t get healthy by working on the outside.
You only get healthy by working on the inside.
I have found that people who struggle unsuccessfully with addictions will often
do things backwards.
They will focus on how they can change their outward actions that others
see, while ignoring the more important issues on the inside.
Real sobriety doesn’t come from learning to stop your wrong behavior and
just white-knuckling it.
Real sobriety comes when you learn to work your steps, all
It comes as you learn to face and clean up the mess on the
When you clean up the inside, the outward actions are much
easier to deal with.
If you’ve successfully stopped your outward addictive behavior for a number
of years while avoiding the inside, you have become a Pharisee.
You will be caught in traditions, pride, and your insides
will not change.
:41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things
are clean to you.
:41 give alms of such things as you have
alms – eleemosune – mercy,
pity; a donation to the poor
We often think of it as giving money to a homeless person, but root of this
word is really all about “mercy”.
things as you have – eneimi –
to be in, what is within
You could translate this verse like this:
“Give mercy from what’s inside and behold all things are clean to you”
If you want a cup to be truly clean, you start with the inside.
You make your life clean by learning to give mercy (alms) from a clean inside.
That kind of means you have to get mercy inside you to begin with.
NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.
The word “forgiving” is the word for showing “grace” or
We need to be forgiving of each other, but you can’t do it
if you haven’t tasted Christ’s forgiveness for you first.
Do you realize that God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten
Son as a sacrifice to die and pay for your sins?
Do you realize that God actually wants
to show you mercy and forgive you if you will turn to Him for help?
When you’ve received mercy on the inside, you can then give it to others,
and you will find yourself clean.
:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of
herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done,
without leaving the others undone.
:42 you tithe mint and rue … herbs
The word “tithe” means a “tenth”.
When the offering bag came around on Sundays, the Pharisees were sure to
put exactly a “tenth” of everything they owned into the basket.
That even included the plants they had growing in their spice garden outside
the kitchen window.
I imagine all the little chia pets were missing exactly 1/10 of their
:42 These you ought to have done
There are folks who will say that Christians don’t need to be tithing
because tithing is an Old Testament requirement and we are part of the New
Covenant. They usually skip over this
Pay attention to what Jesus says here.
He doesn’t say they should stop tithing.
In fact, He says they ought to be tithing.
He just doesn’t want us tithing at the expense of holding back on justice
and the love of God.
More than the amount that you give, Paul taught that the important thing
was your attitude in giving, it’s what happens on the “inside” of you.
(2 Corinthians 9:7
NLT) You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give
reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
:42 justice and the love of God
These were the things that the Pharisees neglected while they paid so much
attention to their tithing.
The Pharisees were good at “judging” other people, but not good at “justice”,
at doing the right thing.
They even took advantage of the most helpless among the people. Jesus said:
(Mark 12:40 NLT) Yet they
shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by
making long prayers in public.
The Pharisees did not know the love of God and certainly did not pass it on
The Pharisees were always finding things to be critical over others, condemning
the very people who were trying to seek after God.
Jesus is again contrasting the inner versus the outer.
The Pharisees concentrated on the outer such as tithing, while Jesus put
the focus on the inner, such as justice and the love of God.
:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and
greetings in the marketplaces.
:43 you love the best seats
It’s a pretty common human trait.
Most of us like getting attention.
I sometimes think that “attention” is kind of like a drug.
Once you tasted what it’s like to get attention, you can become addicted to
I wonder if this isn’t a part of the “reality TV” industry, where people
are famous simply for being famous, not because they actually have any talent
When the attention starts to slow down, it seems that some
of these folks do something outrageous to try and get the attention back.
On Thursday morning the Ladies are going to be looking at a fellow named Diotrephes
John wrote about this fellow:
John 9 NLT) I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be
the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us.
In vs. 9, the NKJV translates it that he “loves to have
the preeminence among them”.
He loved having attention.
And though sometimes we are drawn to certain people who
live in the spotlight of attention, you need to be careful just what traits you
admire about them.
John was the one writing about Diotrephes, but John himself used to have
the same problem.
10:35–37 NKJV) —35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying,
“Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said
to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we
may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
They wanted position.
They wanted attention.
While the other ten apostles were upset at James and John because they had made
the request before they could, Jesus used the moment to teach a lesson.
10:42–45 NKJV) —42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know
that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and
their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you;
but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever
of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the
Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a
ransom for many.”
Maturity is not about getting attention or being in the
Maturity is about being a servant.
:44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves
which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of
:44 like graves which are not seen
Jews needed to be careful about the ceremonial defilement that came from
touching a dead body.
This came from the Scriptures.
(Numbers 19:16 NKJV)
in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a
bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
Because of this they would be careful to mark graves very carefully.
Jesus is saying that when you spend time with a Pharisee, you are walking
over an unmarked grave, and are finding yourself contaminated, unclean, without
even knowing it.
Wash or defile?
When people spend time with us, one of two things are going to happen.
They will either feel “washed”, or “defiled”.
It all depends upon what’s inside of us.
Examples of defilement:
When a guy’s heart is filled with all kinds of lust, and
he spends some time with a gal, even in church, a gal ends up feeling kind of
dirty afterwards. And for good reason.
For some people in sales, all they live for is the sale.
They don’t really care about you, all they care about is
how much money they’re going to make off of you.
For those of you in a sales position, you need to be extra
careful that you don’t abuse your friendships with others by using your friends
just to make a buck.
When a person wants something I’ve got, whether a
possession, a position, a relationship, anything, you’re going to feel
defiled. You’re going to hear a lot of
criticisms, a lot of jabs.
In contrast, Jesus wants us to be washing one another.
On the Thursday night before He died, Jesus hosted a Passover feast with
His disciples. Before the feast, Jesus
washed His disciples’ feet.
Feet-washing is different than the ceremonial hand washing that the
Feet-washing was truly a practical thing.
People walked the dirty streets in opened toed sandals.
But feet washing was done by servants, not the master of
Video: The Gospel of John – Jesus
washing feet. (John 13:1-15)
Jesus said we would be “blessed” or happy if we would learn to wash one
I think this goes way beyond literal soap and water.
I think it’s about things like bearing each other burdens,
praying for each other, listening to the other person unload and confess their
sins without condemning them.
The key is humility. Jesus took the role of a servant when He
washed the disciples’ feet.
The greatest antidote against the disease of the Pharisees