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Are Churches More Like the Disciples or the Pharisees?

Bible Snippets Series

I used to think the Pharisees were horrible, hypocritical, hyper extreme religious leaders that were in the Bible to teach us a lesson about religiosity. But then an older Christian gently reminded me that the Pharisees loved God too. Some were overly concerned about their power and status, but some were just really earnest in what they believed to be the most faithful way of following God.

The only problem is, their desire prevented them from seeing and recognizing Jesus.

46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

“Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” I could see well-meaning church leaders, in an effort to be strategic about reaching the masses and influencing culture, say something similar. I’m also trying to draw parallels here. What is “our temple” and “our nation” in today’s language? The United States of America is not an anomaly in the broad swathe of human history. We have a strong identity (“nation”) and we’ve had ups and downs for the Christian church (“temple”). But are we missing Jesus?

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