Jesus was harder on the Pharisees than he was on other sinners, such as the woman caught in adultery. To her accusers, He said, “He who is without sin throw the first stone.” He did not say that she was not guilty and deserving punishment, but made the point that her accusers deserve judgment as well. And, He said to her, “Go and sin no more.”
The problem with the Pharisees was that they did not see themselves as sinners. They believed that they were better than “the general public.” That self-righteousness bothered Jesus, as he knew their hearts, not just that they followed rules religiously.
Jesus praised the Publican who prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” That is a better prayer than, “Thanks, Lord, for making me better than other men, such as that Publican over there, who does not follow the rules that I proudly follow.”
The poor Pharisees struggled, it seems, with the sin of pride. Their attitude of superiority troubled Christ. The woman caught in adultery was forced to recognize that she was a sinner. The Pharisees did not see that they were sinners.
Lord, we acknowledge that we are sinners and are grateful for Your loving mercy.
We are in need of repentance, like the penitent thief who was crucified next to Jesus, and was told, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
This week we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us.
We remember the rest of the story as well — the Easter message of Christ’s victory over death.