Lenten Training Part 6 (final): Your Inner Pharisee

Date: 4/5/2009
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Lenten Training Part 6 (final): Your Inner Pharisee
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * April 5, 2009

John 12:5 “Why wasn’t this fragrant oil sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?” [JUDAS]

Poor Jesus - Those who do not worship at Jesus’s feet only use the poor as an excuse. Get your priorities right and most important matters and the most urgent matters happen: worship and service. On the other hand, if you get these priorities in the wrong order, then you’ll fail at both. While claiming to serve the poor, pious-sounding wicked people only use the poor as an opportunity for their own greed. By theft, the “rich get richer” and the “poor get poorer” (cf doctor Fischer’s sermon re: “vulnerability and sinful desire”). The wicked rich steal from the righteous poor, whether of time, labor, money or life itself. Our brethren on the “left” cry out but, often act with the same kind of sin via the “Gov’ment.” There is a deep level of hypocrisy when trillions of dollars of hardworking poor peoples’ money “bail out” giant corporations and it is justified by bleating heart leftists since ineffective social programs also receive millions (cf Prov. 12:10). Those who are not able to see that Jesus deserves every ounce of perfume we can poor out of our broken vessels [on His feet, no less], will steal from the poor and betray the Righteous for thirty pieces of silver. A modern way to say this is: “save the whales, kill the babies.” [Evil: Hypocrisy]

Poor Lazarus - John 12:10ff connects the murderous Pharisees with the Palm Sunday, “triumphal” entry. The story is amazing (John 11:47ff). So they wanted to kill Jesus . . . that’s to be expected, since that is basically the job description of Pharisees and Sadducees. They did succeed. Good job [Hallelujah!]. But they also wanted to kill Lazarus, too! Why? These Pharisees knew that Jesus brought a rotting dead man to life, but they still wanted to kill Him (Jesus) and kill him (Lazarus). This is not “hypocritical,” but deeply ironic. They want to kill a Guy who raises dead people and gives them life after death, as well as promises [resurrected] Life after life after death. [Not a brilliant business plan for Pharisees here folks.] Only in the blessed Gospel of St. John do we have this “inner Phariseen” logic unveiled . . . ERGO: “Must kill Lazarus” [since Jesus raised Him from the dead]. Pharisees love death and hate Life because they seek their own power and control over reality (godish behavior | read: Satan). They plot death by any and all means to those who do not worship them as righteous, pure, holy . . . whatever. What they didn’t contemplate is the reductio ad absurdum of their own logic: What if Jesus raises Lazarus again? And He most definitely shall [H]! How many times does this ‘poor Lazarus’ have to die and be raised before people believe in Life rather than follow Pharisaic death under the guise of “righteousness”? [Glory: Irony]
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more