Pity the poor Pharisees. They were called vipers by John the Baptist and hypocrites by Jesus. With good reason, of course. As a group, they were not practicing what they were preaching, and they asked the people to live according to a standard which they themselves were not willing to uphold.
So, why are they to be pitied?
Imagine that you lived according to a certain paradigm your entire life. Your parents lived according to that paradigm, and so did their parents, and so did the parents of your parents’ parents going back some 400 years. And as a Pharisee you are called upon to model this paradigm and teach it to others.
Then someone shows up and says your paradigm must change. Wow! That’s a tough one.
Well, that’s kind of what happened with the Pharisees. Poor behavior aside, can anyone blame them if they had trouble making the adjustment?
During His sermon on the mount, Jesus introduced a new paradigm, which He illustrated by comparing old thinking and new thinking in six different examples. Each of these He introduced by saying,
You have heard that it was said to those of old… But I say to you…”
We all know that Jesus was not exactly embraced by the Pharisees or many of the people. He was threatened with stoning. People thought He was demon-possessed; others thought He was crazy.
Regardless, the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth signaled a new era. There are prophets who have declared we are living in a new era. And like the Pharisees, we as leaders are being asked to embrace new paradigms.
In our next blog, we will examine one of these new paradigms.
Will we embrace it?