Jesus’ Heart for Pharisees

Jesus showed a great deal of compassion for prostitutes and tax collectors.

Jesus was hard on religious authority figures.


What was Jesus’ heart for Pharisees?

We’re quick to say that Jesus loved the outcasts.

But Jesus also loved Pharisees and teachers of the Law.

He didn’t want them to go away.

He wanted them to continue to serve, but with his heart for the people who had been overlooked and cast aside.

We can see it in an encounter with Jesus, a Pharisee named Simon and an unnamed ‘sinful woman’ in Luke 7. Simon was questioning Jesus status as a prophet because of his allowance to allow this woman close to him.

‘Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender…’

In a recent message I asked why Jesus told Simon this little parable.

Notice Jesus didn’t say something like, you are a disgrace and a total loser Simon. Get out of my face because I want nothing to do with you…


Jesus wanted Simon the Pharisee to share his heart from this woman and many other men and women like her.

Jesus wanted Simon to really see her.

Jesus loved Simon the Pharisee. Even though he didn’t get it.

In Matthew 23, Jesus really lays into the Pharisees. If he holds anything back, I’m not sure what it would be.

You hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, whitewashed tombs, snakes…

By that point, Jesus had many interactions with them. Probably many, many more than we have recorded in the Gospels.

Yet even at the end of that section where he really lambasts the Pharisees, I believe the it concludes with his heart.

Yes, I believe that the deepest expression of God’s heart isn’t anger, but brokenheartedness at people’s failure to see his desire for people.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Matthew 23:37

Jesus longs to gather even Pharisees and hypocritical teachers of the Law under His wings.

If you want to see God’s heart toward Pharisees, all we need to do is look at a man named Saul who would become known as Paul. A Pharisee who had his heart broken open by Jesus himself to see with new eyes.

And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Matthew 13:52

Yes, Jesus loves Pharisees.

He wants those of us with tremendous knowledge and yet hard hearts to experience his grace and bring our treasures and some new ones to the broken world.

He sets a table and invites Pharisees and Prostitutes, Zealots and tax collectors, rich men and blind men. Jews and Gentiles. You and me.


Author: Dan Masshardt

Husband, Father, Pastor...

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