Let's Give More Heed To The "Weightier Matters"

Jesus frequently found Himself at odds with the two major religious factions of His day — the Sadducees, an influential group among the wealthy and powerful in first-century Jerusalem, and the Pharisees, who held the high priesthood and dominated the Jewish courts.

In political terms, the Sadducees would have been considered the liberal party. Liberal, because they disregarded everything spiritual. For example, they did not believe in the soul of man, in the resurrection, an afterlife, or in the existence of angels (Acts 23:8). Jesus said of them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). Because of their disavowal of eternal consequences, the Sadducees were hedonistic and worldly.

The Pharisees would have been regarded as the more conservative faction of Jesus’ day. They believed in everything the Sadducees did not — including a resurrection, a human spirit, heaven and hell. They were noted as rigorous interpreters and observers of the law. Even Jesus acknowledged them as being capable teachers to a certain degree, but very poor examples:

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matthew 23:2-3).

In one of His many disputes with the Pharisees, Jesus pronounced condemnation on them when He told them: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23).

As faithful as they pretended to be, the Lord found the Pharisees lacking in the following areas here.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets