Vol.IX No.I Pg.3
March 1972

Pleasing The Pharisees

Dan S. Shipley

Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed on him: but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the glory of men more than the glory that is of God. (Jn. 12:42,43)

Even of the rulers— even among the elite Sanhedrin were many who be­lieved on Christ. Speculation about whether they actually believed only reflects on the skeptics faith, not the rulers. God says they believed and for believers, thats enough. But they did not confess it, and herein lies their great sin. It was not so much what they did as what they failed to do. Their faith indicates knowledge. They knew, yet still would not confess and follow Christ. Why: What power, what influence could be so compelling as to cause believers to turn their backs on the Saviour and salvation? We are not left to wonder.

It was because of the Pharisees. The One who knows all hearts shows their weakness as loving the glory of men more than the glory of God. To them, getting along with men (gaining their favor and avoiding their dis­favor) had priority over pleasing God. These were not men to allow such things as truth and right to interfere with their religion! While these Pharisees no longer exist as a religious sect, they are still very much in evidence as they represent those whom men strive to please more than God. Because of the Pharisees many of all ages have proved themselves to be as these rulers — found wanting at a crucial time; succumbing to pressures and circumstances.

"Because of the Pharisees Pilate delivered up Christ to be crucified, wishing to content the multitude (Mk. 15:15). It was for the same rea­son that Peter followed Christ from afar, denied Him with cursing and swearing and said, I know not the man. He later showed the same weakness in Antioch by withdrawing from the Gentiles, fearing them that were of the circumcision (Gal. 2:12).

Fear and favor of the Pharisees continues to flavor the religion of many. It has influenced the revision and updating of Catholic and denominational creeds. It promotes watered— down preaching and encourages the fear of offending phobia. As the rulers, many have learned the way of truth, but because of the Pharisees will not embrace it. Even among the brethren are some who prefer to stay with the synagogue rather than to stand for what they know to he right. No Pharisee should he allowed to determine where I shall spend eternity! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men?...