He forgave sins.
He healed on the Sabbath.
He dined with sinners.
He touched the unclean.
He didn’t fast enough.
He refused to condemn a sinner.
He didn’t wash his hands correctly.
He talked to women.
He praised the faith of Gentiles.
These were a few of the indictments the Pharisees had against Jesus. He never violated the law but He violated their understanding of the law and that made them uncomfortable.
Jesus broke “their rules, their traditions.” The Pharisees had this God thing down. They knew exactly what was needed to please God. It was written down, they had memorized it. They had studied it. They had preached it. Then enters Jesus, breaking “their rules” yet performing miracles. How could God possibly honor this Man with His feasting with sinners, healing on Sabbath, forgiving people left and right self?
As I am reading Jesus’ “infractions”, I now understand why Jesus warned his disciples about developing the heart of a Pharisee. Pharisees are moved by and are passionate for the rules – biblical and man-made rules. They seem righteous because following the rules are equated with godliness. Rules are easily measured. So I can easily assess your level of godliness.
But Christians are motivated by and passionate for people. We are motivated by love. Jesus saw people hurting and was moved to heal them, the Pharisees saw them as a theological debate. Jesus understood that hurting people trumped the Sabbath, encouraging and supporting God’s daughters was more important than their tradition of a patriarchal society. Jesus knew that you can’t minister to people you condemn.
Let us not become Pharisees in our hearts. Let us not put our man-made rules before loving people, showing compassion, healing the sick. Every moment of the day, a Pharisaical heart can rule our emotions. But let us be intentional to always choose love over rules.
“After looking around at them in anger, grieved by the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. So the Pharisees went out immediately and began plotting with the Herodians, as to how they could assassinate him.”
Mark 3:5-6 NET