Complexity of The Relationship Between Jesus and The Pharisees

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Words: 1343 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 1343|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

While reading the articles about the Pharisees, I discovered quite a bit of new and informative pieces of information that I did not know previously. So, while reading these articles I learned a lot of new things about the Pharisees. For example, the word Pharisee means “pure” or “separated”, and the term known as the Pharisees was used for a group of Jewish men who distanced themselves from the unholy or unrighteous men. In doing so, they established their own set of rules and commandments to restore their connection with holiness.

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The Pharisees believed in another law in addition to the established laws of Moses, which was called the oral law. They believed that they were called to be the teachers of the “oral law” they came up with because only the pharisees believed that the law had to be taught orally. The Pharisees had many rules and many different things they believed in. To begin, a few of them stated that God controls all things, but decisions made by individuals also affect their life. In addition, they believed that the spiritual realm including angels and demons was real. They also believed that there is an afterlife, with appropriate rewards and punishments based on the individual. And they also believed in the idea that there will be a resurrection of the dead. Although these rules set differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they set them aside to help and achieve the death of Christ.

The Pharisees are often seen as opponents of God and in the Bible, they presented themselves as being very hypocritical people. An example of this can be found when Jesus says in Matthew 23:3, “They do not practice what they preach”. This meant that although they thought they were continuing to please God because they followed and kept some of the laws, this was not enough for God. As He says in Matthew, they did not keep the most important part of the laws which was being faithful, having mercy, and having justice for others and not just themselves. When entering this brotherhood, they did it by taking a pledge in front of 3 men who were witnesses where they would spend the rest of their lives observing and practicing every detail of their laws.

In conclusion, the Pharisees were Jesus’ biggest prosecutors and viewed as religious conservatives. They rejected His claims about being the Messiah, they accused Jesus of doing things that had never done, including being accused of practicing demonic things, and were plotting to kill him. They did all of this because of the values that the Pharisees believed to be right. Jesus’s biggest criticisms in the Bible were aimed at the Pharisees, and even after Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, the Pharisees still found a way to mistreat his disciples.

Now that I have fully understood and learned the way and life of the Pharisees, I can use this to better connect the story of Luke 7:36-50 and how the Pharisees would react to this story of one of their own, Simon, and why he did what he did in this story. This story is unusual because it can be hard to understand if you just glimpse over it and do not know the background of the Pharisees and Jesus.

Simon the Pharisee was confused as to why Jesus, a man that is holy and one above all, would let a woman who was a sinner touch him the way she did. Simon was very skeptical, and you can see this in the beginning of the story. Although he was trying to be a believer of Jesus, he couldn’t open his mind to it, as many of us struggle with. The sinful woman knew of Jesus and knew of his forgiveness and healing of others, she also knew that Simon would not be happy to see a sinner in his house because of the laws he obeyed. The woman was captivated with Jesus and wanted to show him her love by weeping, wiping, cleaning, and kissing his feet. This act that everyone at this dinner party saw was very shocking and scandalous, especially to Simon the Pharisee.

Simon judged both Jesus and the sinful women for their actions, he knew Jesus for being a teacher and was now unsure that Jesus was who he proclaimed to be from what he has let this woman do. It wasn’t as much of the act of touching Jesus that upset Simon, it just bothered Simon that he would let someone so sinful and unholy touch him. He couldn’t believe it. But Jesus then shared with Simon a story and this story captivated Simon until he told him, that the women washed his feet, kissed his feet, and poured perfume onto them, he asks Simon, have you done any of this for me? Jesus compared Simons acts as a host of a dinner party to a sinful women's acts of love.

We can see through this story that Jesus and Simon the Pharisee, like many other Pharisees, do not share the same opinions and teachings on life. Simon may have felt like his opinions and viewpoints were wrong because Jesus just forgave the sinful women's sins right there in front of Simon in his home. Simon questioned his judgement and how he could forgive someone so easily that he did not even know. Knowing that Simon was a Pharisee, helps us come to the conclusion that he probably believed that Jesus had no power being able to forgive sin because he was only teacher and they believed that God himself was the only one who is able to do that.

Although Jesus and Simon the Pharisee clearly have very different viewpoints, they tried their best in this story to not let affect them that much. It was only such a big deal because it was in Simon’s house and he felt disrespected by Jesus and the sinful woman. Simon was confused and torn between what to believe because of what his beliefs had told him to. These readings about the Pharisees and Jesus have made it clearer for me how both viewed each other, and mainly how Jesus felt towards the Pharisees, and how they treated him. The way Jesus was teaching things and how powerful, holy, and mighty he was, was probably very hard for the Pharisees the understand based on their beliefs, and rules.

In conclusion, delving into the articles about the Pharisees has provided me with a deeper understanding of their beliefs, practices, and interactions with Jesus. Through these readings, I learned that the Pharisees were a group of Jewish men who sought purity and separation from what they considered unholy or unrighteous. They developed their own set of rules and commandments, including an oral law, which they believed was essential for restoring holiness and connection with God.

Despite their efforts to uphold religious standards, the Pharisees often found themselves at odds with Jesus, who challenged their interpretations and practices. Jesus criticized them for their hypocrisy, emphasizing the importance of mercy, justice, and faithfulness over outward displays of religious observance. The Pharisees, in turn, rejected Jesus's claims and ultimately played a role in his persecution and crucifixion.

The story of Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50 offers insight into the tensions between Jesus and the Pharisees. Simon's skepticism and judgment toward Jesus and the woman reflect the clash of beliefs and values between the Pharisees and Jesus. Despite their differences, Jesus used the encounter to challenge Simon's perspective and demonstrate the power of forgiveness and love.

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Through these readings, I gained a deeper appreciation for the complexity of the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees. It is clear that their divergent views on religious practice and interpretation led to conflict and misunderstanding. However, Jesus's teachings and actions serve as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of compassion, forgiveness, and love, even in the face of opposition. As I continue to explore these themes, I am better equipped to understand the dynamics at play in biblical narratives and their relevance to contemporary life.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Complexity of the Relationship Between Jesus and the Pharisees. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
“Complexity of the Relationship Between Jesus and the Pharisees.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024,
Complexity of the Relationship Between Jesus and the Pharisees. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Apr. 2024].
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