PHAR’ISEE, n. Heb. to separate. One of a sect among the Jews, whose religion consisted in a strict observance of rites and ceremonies and of the traditions of the elders, and whose pretended holiness led them to separate themselves as a sect, considering themselves as more righteous than other Jews. Definition from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.
Based upon the statement above, are you, or have you ever been a Pharisee? Well, let me begin by admitting I have.
Unfortunately, I have looked upon the sins of others, and become bitter and judgmental. In that moment, I was a Pharisee. But this just isn’t “fair I see”, because self-examination reminds me that I sin too.
A story in Luke 7 (36-50) introduces us to Simon, a Pharisee who – until Jesus reminded him, forgot that he sinned as well.
This Pharisee invited Jesus to his home for a meal. “Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume.” (The Message Bible Version)
Her tears, I believe, expressed sorrow and regret for the life she lived, and for the love she had for Jesus. She cared not that she would be judged by Simon, the Pharisee. She had met The Savior, and in that moment nothing else mattered.
Yet, those tears had a cleansing, victorious impact. For she cried at the feet of the One who has the power to forgive, restore, heal and deliver. She cried at the feet of the One who blessed her with new life.
Simon the Pharisee’s limited vision only saw the woman’s past. Jesus saw her future.
Simon’s self-righteousness clouded his vision. He failed to follow custom and honor Jesus as his guest, neglecting to wash his feet, to greet Him with the customary kiss and to anoint Him.
Simon did not see Jesus as Lord and Savior. He thought “if” this man Jesus were a prophet, He would have known the woman was a sinner. Simon’s blinded eyes caused him to forget he too was in need of this Savior.
The love Jesus has for us is not “fair I see”, because it includes me, and you, and everyone else too, despite our sin. The love of Jesus does not bind people with a past. It releases them to write His-tory, to live abundantly, to love Jesus. And to love others. It’s the kind of love that’s not fair, but thank God we can see, and love.
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I was a Pharisee help me to love you so much that my eyes and heart are open to love, not judge those around me. May I always remember that I am saved by grace, and as Your Ambassador, extend this grace to others that they too would be saved, for your love isn’t fair I see, it’s fabulous. Make me more like you. In Jesus name. Amen.