Reflection Questions – Modern-day Pharisaism: “And There was Division Among Them” (John 9.16)

Reflection Questions - Modern-day Pharisaism: “And There was Division Among Them” (John 9.16)
  1. We find the Pharisees rejecting Jesus time after time in the Gospels. But some of Jesus’ most significant miracles were deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5:9-11, 9:13-16). Put yourself in the Pharisees’ place for a moment. How do Exo. 31:12-17 & Deut. 13:1-5 help us to understand what they may have been struggling with with respect to the ‘Jesus issue’? What was the Pharisees’ fatal misunderstanding about the Sabbath that led to their rejection of Jesus? Jesus quoted Isaiah against the Pharisees in Matthew 15:7-9. When His disciples asked Him about this, Jesus’ answer was remarkable. Read Matthew 15:10-14 carefully. Consider the ramifications of our Lord’s statement. What does it mean for us?
  2. How would you describe a ‘modern-day Pharisee’? Read the following passages and discuss the charges they level against the Pharisees: Luke 15:1-2, 16:14-15, 18:10-14.
  3. Matthew 23 is a scathing rebuke of the Pharisees by Jesus. Read the points below, then read the verse(s) indicated. Discuss them as you go along. Where do we see these things in the Church today? Where do we see them in ourselves? Notice: (1) they set a terrible example by not following their own teaching (v.3); (2) they burdened others with rules they themselves did not follow (v.4); (3) they did all they did for show (v.5); (4) they love to be celebrated (vv.6-7, 12); (5) their teaching drove people away from the Lord rather than to Him (v.13); (6) they exploited those under their care (v.14, only in KJV & NASB; not in ESV); (7) they sought to make disciples for themselves, but not for God (v.15); (8) they were greedy (vv.16-17); (9) they ‘majored in the minors’ and missed the most important aspects of the Law (vv.23-24); (10) they were more concerned with how they were perceived than how they actually were (vv.27-28); (11) their hearts were filled with hatred (vv.29-33); ultimately, their religion was worthless and desolate (vv.37-39).
  4. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus named three important virtues that the Pharisees utterly missed. Discuss these. What are they and why are they so important?
  5. Discuss the Alistair Begg controversy. Should followers of Jesus attend a LGBTQ wedding under any circumstances (see Luke 7:33-39, 15:1-2, 19:5-10)? Is attending necessarily affirming? Should he have been removed from Christian radio and disinvited from John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference?