Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Did Jesus get it Backwards?

Jesus embraced the sinner, and rebuked the righteous. What is up with that? Doesn't He know that He could have had His ministry fully supported by the church structures of his day, if He had been more politically savvy? He might have had a place to lay His head in every city, and the opportunity to speak in every synangogue.

Why would He cut off His opportunities like this?

I wonder who would be the Pharisees today?


David said...

Great questions.

Something I've been wrestling with. And honestly, it's easy to point fingers and we KNOW who the Pharisees are...right?

Because if I'm not carefull, I end up being a Pharisee in my judgement of the Pharisees.

That being said, those of us part of the revolution, are attemting to - hopefully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit - tear down structures and cultural mindsets that are not necissarily Biblical. They may not be anti-Biblical, but it may not be THE answer either.

Like Derek Webb sings, that a Christian doesn't have to be a righ-wing middle class republican.
And maybe our church structure in culture today needs to be re-thought...
and on and on...
Like maybe Christians should be hanging out in pubs and hooka bars...

I'll stop before I start preaching.

Shannon said...


The Pharisees of today are the same as yesterday. They don't change and their easily spotted. They tell on themselves with their self-righteous, self-seeking attitudes.


I've been known to hang out in a local bar in my town. :0) I don't think everyone likes it but the "Pharisees" didn't like Jesus hanging out at Matthew's (Levi's) party either. :=)

Webb Kline said...

Don Kraybill does a great expose on this using Jesus' temptations in the wilderness in The Upside-Down Kingdom.

The Religious temptation has the devil trying convince Jesus to float down into the temple courts and gain the endorsement of the religious leaders. However, Jesus knew how oppressive and unjust their system was, and that the citizens would never trust anyone coming out of that hypocritical mess. Kinda like today, huh?

The political temptation: Man would naturally rationalize that if only he could rule the world, he could usher in his beliefs and establish any kind of kingdom he wanted. But Jesus knew that if he took the devil up on the offer, it would only invert who was on top and who was on the bottom of the social stratus. Nothing would have really changed. Certainly God's Kingdom could not be established in this manner. Jesus had to reject this temptation if his kingdom was going to be fair to all of humanity.

Not many church leaders would see it this way even today. They take the devil up on similar temptations every day. Not allowed to love witches? Hmm... ;^*

Anonymous said...

There are those who see themselves as righteous by their "Christian" practice versus those who know they are righteous through the sacrifice of Jesus on cross.

The former are pharisees and the latter are His sons and daughters.

Pastor Phil said...


Preach it brother!

Yes I am the Pharisee too, and must call mmyself to repentance on that regularly.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Shannon,

Now you just have to find a hooka bar. I'm not sure there's one for 15-20 miles here.

Pubs can be the best place to develop relationships for pastors. It's an environment which says you have not come to judge.

Pastor Phil said...


I love this inversion veiw of the temptations. Thanks for sharing it.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey ded,

Cut down by the cross agian are we?

Agent B said...

Why would He cut off His opportunities like this?

You mean in GOD rather than man's system?

What was he thinking?

Anonymous said...

Not sure I know what your comment is supposed to mean, pastor phil.

I can be fairly dense sometimes. Though I've noticed several places where I think the semantic problems I have on your blog are related to location. You northern folks have messages in your banter I can't decipher. Just call me a greenhorn if you must. I can take it.

We are all Pharisees at some point, eh?

But it is not about who's good and who's evil. I reject the notion that there is even a battle between good and evil going on.

There are those in life and those in death, not the good ones and the bad ones.

The cross is the only entrance into life.

Sounds fundamental I know. Hopefully I don't sound like a fundamentalist.

Anonymous said...

We are all Pharisees at some point in our lives. The difference is do we learn to be accountable for those times, and are we willing to learn and change those things that make us behave that way.

Being far too familiar with the individuals you all had to deal with during "The Inquisition", I just wish I had been led to The Gathering to have walked that walk with you in prayer and as a witness for you.

Good morning, Pastor Phil. This would be Karen, who is always far too cold.

Pastor Phil said...

Agent B,

Just think how famous he could have been with a little help from the system! (with big hunk o' sarcasm)

It never fails buck the system and they gonna take you out.

I guess that's our path.

Pastor Phil said...


I was just agreeing with you. The cross is the great equalizer - proving all men sinful. I cuts us down to siuze. This is also why pride heads the list of things Jesus battled against.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Karen,

I bet you're especially cold today.

Yes, yes...perhaps all Christian leaders should practice a daily meditation..."I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be a Pharisee today, I will not be ...."

We could even make special Pharisee beads to pray with.

David said...

I see that on the beginning of the Simpson when Bart is writting on the chalk board.

Kind of like not thinking of "Pink Elephants"
What did everyone just think of?

So by trying not to be Pharisutical, do we become Pharisutical.
Am I making up words now?

BTW Phil, I posted a quick blog on the Revolution site updated our 'stuff' so far.
Not sure if my name links to that or not.

Pastor Phil said...


Yes, you are making up words now, but i really like this word. It's a mix between Pharisaical, and Pharmaceutical. Something like a drug addiction to legalism. Cool word.

Shiloh Guy said...


I want you to know that there was spiritual warfare just now on your blog! Yes, because of a sharp conviction of the Holy Spirit I just deleted a very funny but cutting comment about who the Pharisees are. Sadly, I'm still chuckling over it, so the victory is only partial. But by our new understanding of spiritual warfare, God just won again. I'm still working on this!


Pastor Phil said...

Shiloh Dave ,

A deliverance team has been mounting a defense by casting out the demons of sarcasm, and coming against the generational curses caused by the Jezebel spirit in your Great Uncle Harry.

That's how you deleted the post with our help.

SDC's_Angel said...

I happen to like the demon of sarcasm. We've been friends for a loooooong time.

And Pharisee beads! OOOO! Something funky and a little shiny. I think it's time for coffee.

What causes someone to live and behave as a Pharisee and not see it? That's what I wonder. Do you think they ever feel convicted?

gerbmom said...

Hey, I happened upon your blog (from friend of missional) and like what I see...I am interested in your church. We are from the midwest, but my daughter will be attending Gordon college in the fall. We are part of an emerging church in the Chicago area ( and she is sad to be leaving this community. We would be interested in knowing more about your church - my email is Thanks so much!

Pastor Phil said...


I am sure that Pharisees do not feel convicted often. That conviction would mark the end of the Pharisaical auto-response.

Pastor Phil said...


Thanks for checking us out. I'll e-mail you, and hopefully we can connect by phone.

Sally said...

good questions Phil- sometimes I need to ask them and then go take a good look in a mirror- it can be painful!


Pastor Phil said...

Hey Sally,

Looking in the mirror is good, and yes painful. I just hope there continues to be an image in the mirror each time I look!

SDC's_Angel said...

I'm reminded of my own zealous fanaticism back in the beginning when I was first saved. Of course, I tend to get a little nutty about things at times. These "moments" (never that short a span) are normally referred to as my "crusades" by my soon-to-be ex-husband, something that I still giggle about.

Anyway! It's funny how God worked a lot of that out of me when it comes to one's spiritual walk. My very best friends are Spiritualists. Another close friend is Wiccan. I've sat down and talked with Mormons and JW's.

The most profound story I've been blessed to personally experience is a dear friend who was heavily involved with the House of Yahweh. Trying to talk with her and praying that she would think on her own finally paid off, although she is still in danger to this day. She's still recovering from her experiences and grieves the loss of her family to them, but what a powerful statement she is on this earth about God's grace, power, mercy and love for all of us. She's writing a book. I can't wait to read it.

Okay, that took awhile to write! Can you tell it's not busy at the bank right now?

Pastor Phil said...

It is amazing how our relationships with those so radically different than ourselves actually work out something redemptive in us. Sometimes we learn that we really aren't that radically diifferent.

I'm interested in this book as well. L:et me know when it comes out.

Webb Kline said...

Phil said: [It is amazing how our relationships with those so radically different than ourselves actually work out something redemptive in us.]

Somebody throw me a life preserver. That is one deep quote and I don't want to come up for air! It's really the truth though.

Pastor Phil said...


You're used to breathing underwater. I don't think you need help here. Go deep bro.