I think us Pharisees get an unnecessarily hard time.
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”” Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV)
“They” figure highly in these verses. They do this and they do that, they don’t do this and they should do that. But “You” (which is “us”) figure highly as well. You/me are not you/me should not you/me must do this and you/me must do that. You/me will be if you/me do what I say.
We are a Jewish audience still.
Us Pharisees and scribes figured highly in Jewish daily life. Not just on a
Sunday Friday. But each day and all day. With all those commandments to keep life was one long never-ending compliance exercise. Us Pharisees and scribes were there to make sure your compliance was complicit. That interpreting the laws and commandments was within allowable tolerances.
Just as you/me do today.
“Is it biblically correct … is it of scripture … will the body of Christ endorse this small latitude in you/me thinking? Are you being (intake of breath) “blasphemous”?”
I think us Pharisees and scribes are alive and well as believers and Christ followers and Christians. Still measuring the width and depth and height. Still throwing back those who don’t fit. Still welcoming those who do. Still making sure each species of believer is “biblically formed” and lives a “scripturally correct life”. That each is all neat and tidy and presentable to meet its Maker and live happily ever after.
“Inerrant and infallible” … “God breathed and God inspired” … ?
“But you are to be called pope-archbishop-head honcho of the gang, for you have many teachers, for you are all immature Christians not even “disciples”. So obey your pastor-minister-vicar-youth-leader-worship-leader head-honcho-on-earth, for they are to be called (for they ARE all “called”) instructors-qualified-in-God very-qualified-in-God super-qualified-in-God the-voice-of-God, for they have a direct line to the one Messiah and you don’t. So the greatest among you will be your mentor-instructor-rabbi-father-better-than-you. And all who become qualified-in-the-bible-and-scripture-and-allowable-tolerances will become a Christian-celeb-book-writer-speaker-motivational-“name” who is feted and applauded and will eat at the top table of the best food with politicians and business leaders because they are “influencers” and will have a YouTube and FB following – maybe Instagram – but deffo loads on Twitter! – and so their word is gospel, because all who humble themselves don’t count.” Matthew 23:8-12 (NBC)*
A while ago I was told that “we” were not Pharisees and scribes because “we” believe in the new God (called Christianity) and “they” didn’t even believe in the old God (or new God) as Jesus pointed out time and again.
It’s just that if the words of Jesus were recorded today and read back 2000+ years later – I am certain that “we” would find ourselves the common enemy of tomorrow’s “believers”.
* (NBC) … ? “New Biblically Correct version”