The Pharisees and Sadducees

Dr. John Geddie went to Aneityum in 1848 and worked there for God for 24 years. On the tablet erected to his memory these words are inscribed: When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians. When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen. (Spiritual Leadership, J. O. Sanders, p. … More

We find John rebuking the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees were the most influential of the Jewish sects of that day. They were usually orthodox in doctrine and followed good qualities:
  1. They knew the Scriptures - Matthew 23:2
  2. They tithed - Luke 18:12
  3. They fasted - Matthew 9:14
  4. They prayed - Mark 12:40

However at the same time they were:

  1. Hypocritical - Matthew 23:15
  2. Self righteous - Luke 18:9
  3. Persecutors of the Lord - Matthew 9:3

The Sadducees came largely from the priesthood and upper class. They denied the truth of the bodily resurrection, of the future punishment and reward and of the existence of angels (Acts 23:8). These  two groups usually fought each other but when it came to opposing Christ they united forces. They believed that as physical sons of Abraham they were automatically qualified for the Messiah’s kingdom. As a result they were startled when John and Jesus preached the necessity of an introducer of the Messiah. John’s baptism was a sign of a person’s need of repentance while Christian baptism today identifies us with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection which had not yet occurred. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (v. 8). Genuine repentance leads not only to a change in attitude,  but also to a change in behavior. Merely feeling sorry for some wrong action does not constitute repentance.


As I think about the characteristics of the Pharisees do I see any similarities to people in churches today? I need to constantly be searching my own life in these areas.

Matthew 3:7-12 (English Standard Version)

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

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