Simple question with a complicated answer. Who really wants to admit they’re a Pharisee? I know with my pride I have no desire to admit that I am a Pharisee. Of course, just saying that I am prideful puts me in the company of the Pharisees. Let’s look at the two separate people from Scripture:
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”
Here you have a Jewish guy(most likely) that has been attacked and left for dead. You have a Priest and a Levite who ignore this man; going to the point of crossing the other side of the street. But, a man who is a Samaritan stops, washes his wounds, and pays out of his own pocket for the man to rest in an inn until he recovers from his wounds. A man who according to tradition should have nothing to do with a Jew is the ONLY one who stops and cares for him.
“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.”
Here you have a group of ten lepers that Jesus miraculously healed. ONLY one returned to give thanks. The Word mentions that this one thankful man was a Samaritan. The fact that Luke felt it necessary for us to know he was a Samaritan leads me to believe that some of the other lepers were Jews. So, once again, a Samaritan is the ONLY one to offer thanksgiving for what Jesus did in his life.
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
Read the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4. She was shocked that Jesus would even talk to her. Jews weren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans. Not only did Jesus change this woman’s life but the minute she accepted Him as her Savior, she went and told others about Him. Because of her testimony and because Jesus was willing to speak to them, “many” were saved. Based on the humility of ONE Samaritan women.
Those are just a few of the passages that mention Samaritans. Notice that in each instance you see humility, thanksgiving, love, willingness to listen, forgiveness, no prejudice, etc. In each case they exhibit the traits God wants us to exhibit.
“And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
They were angry … angry that Jesus spent time with the needy; the down trodden; the brokenhearted; etc. Their ONLY focus was how dare He spend time with those who can’t repay Him back or make him(or them) look better in everyone’s eyes.
“The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.”
Jesus had just finished teaching that money can’t take the place of God. The Pharisees immediately mocked Him. Why? Because they desired fame and fortune more than anything. Their only focus was “filling their pockets” and getting recognition from those around them.
“The Pharisee,standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”
This is one of the more popular passages about the Pharisees. Here you see a man who cares ONLY about himself and how much he follows all that he’s supposed to follow and do all that he’s supposed to do. Doesn’t care about others … ONLY cares about his image and his popularity.
Those are just a few of the passages that mention Pharisees. Notice that in each instance you see pride, hatred, boasting, mocking, prejudice, etc. In each case they exhibit the traits God wants us to avoid.
In conclusion, I ask the title question again … Are You A Samaritan or a Pharisee?
I’ll tell you my answer. I want to be the Samaritan 24/7 … but that doesn’t always happen. There are times that I am Pharisaical. There are times that I am prideful, hateful, boastful, etc. There are times I think I’m better than those around me. In those times, God once again convicts me of my sin and sets me right again.
My prayer is that I am always the Samaritan when dealing with those God brings into my life. It’s an overused saying but still holds true … “I may be the ONLY Jesus some may ever meet”. I want them to have a hunger for knowing Christ after they have met me … I’m not there yet … but I’m trying … so please be patient because God’s still working on me …
How about you … Pharisee or Samaritan?
Choose wisely …