Life with Jesus / Pharisees

Fight the Pharisee: Woe Intro

I was a bit of a goody two shoes in high school. I really wanted my teachers to like me and, for the most part, they did (except for that one band instructor who didn’t like the fact that I was a loud participant in the mass exodus from his despotic rule). BUT, sometimes, I tend to get too comfortable with people too quickly and it backfires a little. I was in a class called “Human Geography” with Mr. Gilbert. It was basically a social geography class with all my friends. Mr. Gilbert was a grump, but mostly a lovable grump. One day, he was passing out tests and, I can’t remember the details, he had done something like promise a curve but then didn’t give us one. I jokingly said, “Oh, Mr. Gilbert. You’re a liar!” and then I laughed maniacally and didn’t realize the room had gotten deathly quiet. He was staring at me like he was about to eat me and he said, “Young lady, do you want to go to the office? You need to learn some respect.”  and lecture and lecture and lecture.


I had never NEVER been to the office before in my life. I quickly backpedaled and kowtowed and probably fainted a few times, after vomiting on his shoes. Whatever I did, it worked because I didn’t get sent to the office.

I think it’s because my parents raised me to be independent, but, to a point, I’ve always been a bit cynical of authority. I’m not afraid to challenge authority, playfully or otherwise. The “because I said so” answer has never really worked for me. My response to that has always been “Why do you say that?” and “Who are you to say so?” If you don’t believe me, you may ask my former youth ministers, who fielded hundreds of questions and had to justify just as many decisions.

Maybe that’s why I identify so strongly with Matthew 23, a passage called The Seven Woes. Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and he really hands it to them. I mean, they get it good.

To be honest, I like this passage both because Jesus goes full blown spiritual Terminator on these guys. Anyone who says Jesus is a wimp hasn’t read this passage. I also like the passage because it often feels like Jesus is going full blown spiritual Terminator on me. I have Pharisee-ical tendencies. I grew up in the church; I learned to rely on my own self-righteousness. Post-college life has humbled me quite a bit but I still catch myself thinking things as if my justification is based on what I have done instead of a gift that has been given to me.

So, this passage speaks to me like the movie “UP!” In one moment, I’m cheering and laughing and enjoying the show and in the next, I’m cut to the heart and emotionally wrought. {Sidenote: I first saw Up! in theaters during my first week on the job at the women’s shelter. I went with my boss. I wept uncontrollably in the theaters. I couldn’t even articulate the plot of the movie to Alex without starting to cry again. It took me a good six weeks before I could speak about that movie without tearing up.}

Anyway, I’m going to start blogging through Matthew 23. Maybe a verse at a time. I have a feeling God has alot to say to me through these verses and I’m excited to hear what it is. I hope you’ll join me on this emotional roller coaster.


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