Which Pharisee are You?

In my sermon today, I talked about the seven types of Pharisees[1].  I will reiterate them here for you, but wanted to think a bit deeper, a bit more introspective.  These are all things that Christians have a tendency to do (both good and bad).  I know I am tempted in all of them.  Maybe seeing the list will help name for you the thing that you have been dealing with

  1. Carries duties upon his shoulders – This is the Pharisee who adds to the law in the Bible thousands of minute details.  They place this heavy burden on themselves and everyone who would follow them Knocks his feet together
  2. Knocks his feet together – This Pharisee had exaggerated humility.  He wanted everyone to know how much he was sacrificing, how lowly he was making himself.
  3. Who makes his blood to flow against walls – This is the Pharisee who so wants to make sure he does not sin by looking on a woman lustfully that he bashes his head against the walls
  4.  Whose head is constantly bowed  - This metaphor probably has a close parallel to having your “nose to the grindstone.”  This Pharisee was always working never resting always on point.
  5. Asks,  “What is my duty that I may perform it?” – This Pharisee acts as if they have it all together.  They have completed every letter of the law and are so perfect that they have to seek out new ways to be faithful.
  6. From Love (like Abraham) – This Pharisee is obedient out of a love for the blessings God has promised those who are faithful.
  7.  From Fear (like Job) – This Pharisee is obedient out of a healthy fear of the punishment an almighty God has decreed for those who are unfaithful.
Here are some interpretations of this idea for our current setting.  Introspection is the word of the day today.  Which rings true within you?

  1. This is the person who insists on getting every “I” dotted and “t” crossed theologically.  They place on their shoulders the heavy burden of a complex theological system that demands.
  2. This is a person whose self-serving false humility shows as they proclaim all their sacrifice of time, money, and status from the rooftops or laptops.  I have even (gasp) heard famous pastors talk about how they had given their entire salary back to the church.
  3. This is the person who allows their focus on keeping themselves from sin to keep them from doing meaningful ministry.  They are pure, but never see those in need.
  4. This may be the person who is a “Christian work-a-holic.”  They are always doing ministry or reading their Bible.  They do not rest or retreat except when they do so for ministry.
  5. Similar to #2, this person is the saint who everyone knows is a saint.  They not only live a strictly-controlled and apparently sinless life, they make sure everyone knows it one way or the other.
  6. This is a person who lives a God-oriented life (a life focused on God and becoming who he desires us to be) because they know that God is faithful and blesses those who are faithful.
  7. This is a person who lives a God-oriented life because they know that God will punish those who do not obey His commands.
Which are you?

[1] I ran across this in my "love" research in an incredible book called The Sage from Galilee by Craig Evans.  He referenced the Babylonian Talmud which is where I got most of the information from.