Pharisaism-or the folly and wickedness of outward religion.

Sung Psalm 5:4-10

Read Luke 11:37-54



Christ’s numerous encounters with the Pharisees include this episode where knowing the background of Numbers 19:16, 18 and his allusions to these men being like graves, he is stating that people become unclean by contact with these men without even realising it. Thus many in the sphere of false teachers don’t realise they are being made unclean, their “righteousnesses are as filthy rags”. These men were spiritually unclean.

Christ makes these comparisons:

Vv39/40 External Internal
V42         Little things Important things
V43         Public show for self-glory Private service for God’s glory


Psalm 5:9 easily applicable to these men states that what emanates from their mouths is like the stink of an open sepulchre.

Matthew 23:27-28 Whitewashed tombs is a picture of the Pharisees’ appearance of righteousness though their uncleanness was not ceremonial but actual and spiritual namely hypocrisy.

Acts 23:3 Paul in his inadvertent outburst with the High Priest must have been aware of Christ’s earlier assessment.

Concerning Christ’s contact with the dead, all of whom he raised to life, namely touching Jairus’ daughter (Matt.9:25), touching the open coffin of the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:10), speaking to Lazarus (John 11:43), in none of these cases did he contract ceremonial uncleanness. In Acts similarly we have Dorcas, raised by Peter (Acts 9:40) and Eutychus by Paul (Acts 20:10). What we ought to gather from these New Testament instances is that firstly Christ is Lord of the Law both ceremonial and moral being the Lawgiver and the one who rescinds it e.g. Lord of the Sabbath. Second his people are clean, in every way by the word spoken to us (John 13:10, 15:3), the effectual call that regenerates us. This is prophesied in Old Testament terms in Ezekiel 36 :24-29,” Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: “Thirdly our key contact with death is being united to Christ in his death and resurrection, signified in the Lord’s Supper, which makes us clean eternally (Heb.10:14).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s