JESUS & THE PHARISEES
STORY FROM MATTHEW 9, 12, MARK 2, LUKE 5, 11, & JOHN 5
SCENE 1: HEALING A PARALYZED MAN
Crowds continued to surround Jesus everywhere He went. Once, when He was teaching in a house where He was staying, so many people came to hear Him that the house was completely packed. There wasn’t room for one more person—even outside of the door!
Four men brought their paralyzed friend who was lying on a mat to see Jesus, believing He would heal him. The only way they could get him in the house was to climb on the roof, dig a hole through the clay tiles, and lower him down! Jesus was impressed with their effort and faith. He told the paralyzed man, “Don’t worry. Your sins are forgiven!”
Some religious leaders, called Pharisees, were watching and listening to Jesus. The Pharisees were a powerful group of Jewish teachers. They created their own set of strict rules on how to follow God in addition to the laws given to Moses.
They said to each other, “Who does this man think He is? No one can forgive sins but God!”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why are you offended? Would you rather I would’ve just said, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’? I will prove to you I have the authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Then Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Now get up, take your mat, and walk home. You are healed.”
The man was no longer paralyzed! He jumped up and pushed his way out the door and went home. Everyone there was amazed and thanked God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
SCENE 2: EATING WITH SINNERS
Soon after that, Jesus was walking along the lake shore when He saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting at his collection booth. (In that day tax collectors were hated because they had a reputation for being dishonest and corrupt.)
Jesus said to him, “Come, be my disciple!” So Matthew got up, left everything, and followed Jesus.
That night Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to be his dinner guests. He also invited some of his tax collector friends and many other people who were known to be sinners in the community. When some of the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with them, they said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with those terrible people?”
When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; sick people do. I have come to call sinners to a changed life— inside and out—not to spend my time with those who think they’re already good enough.”
On another night Jesus met with some of the Jewish religious leaders for dinner. They were shocked and offended when Jesus did not wash up according to Jewish customs before the meal.
Then Jesus said to them, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but the inside is still filthy. Your lives are just like this: so clean when people are watching, but inside you are full of hate, greed, and pride. You’re worse than your Hebrew ancestors; you have great knowledge about the things of God, but you don’t enter God’s kingdom. In fact, you keep people from entering it!”
SCENE 3: HEALING ON THE SABBATH
Jesus continued to travel around teaching and healing, sometimes on the Sabbath (the day of rest). The Jewish leaders were upset about this and confronted Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.
Jesus replied, “God, my Father, never stops doing good, so why should I?”
This really angered them. Not only was He breaking their Sabbath rules, but He was calling God “His” Father instead of “our” father, making Himself equal with God! The Jewish leaders continued to challenge Jesus with many hostile questions, trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him.
Jesus went on to explain to them, “I don’t do any of this on my own. I only do what my Father tells me to do. He is the source of all life and has given me the power to heal, raise the dead, and give life. Those who listen and believe in me will find new life with God that is never ending.”
As Jesus finished speaking, the Pharisees and religious leaders were furious. From that time on the Jewish leaders began planning out how they could have Jesus killed.