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When Jesus was on earth, He was generally kind and loving toward people. But there were some people who were not recipients of his kindness, but of his anger. These people pretended to be religious, but they were very unloving and unmerciful to other people.
He spoke harsh words to the Jewish religious leaders known as the Pharisees
(FAIR uh seez). These men were very careful to tithe, or give one-tenth of all their income as an offering to God, but sometimes they would call attention to themselves so that people could watch them put their money in the collection . They were very proud of the fact that they were observing the law of Moses, but they were uncaring.
Jesus compared them to tombs that had been painted with whitewash and looked very beautiful on the outside, but in reality they were like graves full of dead men's bones, not beautiful at all.
These men would even kill the prophets that God had sent, if they didn't want to hear the message they brought. When John the Baptist came preaching and telling them to repent, they did not listen to him and they refused to be baptized.
The Scribes were a part of the Pharisee group. They copied the law by hand, and they were regarded as important because they interpreted it and told the people the meaning of the Jewish law.
They were very proud of themselves and wore long robes with broad borders, or fringes on them to show their importance. They wanted to get the best seats in the synagogues, the places of worship. They loved for people to call them "Rabbi", or teacher, and they would pray long prayers out in public just for people to see them.
The common people looked up to the Pharisees and regarded them as very religious.
Now it was not a bad thing to be a Pharisee. It was a good thing. Jesus was condemning these Pharisees because of their "hypocrisy" (hih POK ruh sih). They preached the truth, but in their lives, they just pretended to obey God's law. They really did not respect or care about others. We call such people "hypocrites" (HIP uh krits).
The Sadducees (SAJ uh seez) were Jewish religious leaders who were from the wealthy families. This group did not believe that people would be resurrected, or raised from the dead. They also did not believe angels existed.
Memory Peg: To not believe in the resurrection or in angels could make them "sad, you see" (Sadducee).
There was a Jewish ruling council called the Sanhedrin (SAN he drin). It was composed of a group of 71 men* who were Pharisees and Sadducees. Not all the religious leaders were proud and conceited. You may be familiar with three good Pharisees who were prominent in Bible times; Paul the apostle, Nicodemus, and Gamaliel (guh MAY lee uhl), a wise man on the council.
* According to some sources there were 70 men and the high priest presided over the council.
Read the story in Spanish
Fariseos and Saduceos
Read the story in Amharic
What does this story
mean to me?
What was wrong with the Pharisees? Did they care about others? Jesus said they looked like good people, but really they were wicked inside. They thought they could please God just by obeying a lot of rules.
Obeying rules is good. We have rules at home and rules at school, and these are necessary to make our lives run smoothly.
But you cannot get to heaven by obeying rules. Jesus said the most important thing is LOVE. The first commandment is to love God, and the second is to love others. If you love God and love others, you will always do the right thing, no exceptions. Make this your goal to love God first and put others before yourself.
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 23:3 (NKJV)
(Rest the mouse lightly over the ??? to see the answers in the alternate tags.)
1.Why did Jesus condemn certain religious leaders?
2. What is the meaning of "tithe"?
3. When would a tithe not be acceptable to God?
4. To what did Jesus compare the Pharisees?
5. Name two jobs of the scribes.
6. What is a "hypocrite"?
7. Name two things the Sadducees refused to believe.
8. What was the name of the Jewish council?
9. Name three good Pharisees.
You can read about the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Bible in
Multiple Choice Test
Pharisees and Sadducees - Word Search
Pharisees and Sadducees - Crossword Puzzle
Pharisees and Sadducees - Word Scramble
Matthew 23:1-3 Fill-in the Blanks
Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity
By Jacob Neusner / Augsburg Fortress
Neusner has written this book to answer the central questions about the world of Judaism in which Christianity was born. He gives an overview of the history and religion of Israel and an analysis of the Judaic legacy as it endured among those who did not become Christians. He also discusses the troubling issue of the Pharisees and investigates the identity of the "historical Hillel."
Search for Spanish Bible Stories
The Pharisees and the Sadducees - Story 213
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2013-02-05
EXCELLENT information! Very well written and easy for anyone to understand. Thank you, Sheila Livingston
whoaaa great expository teaching and ohhh what a timely needed subject -believers seem to forget Jesus commands believers in HIS TRUTH, they MUST FIRST and FOREMOST -LOVE THE TRUTH which all HIS teaching/new covenant doctrine truths commands flow from.... from there we are enabled to discern good from/and evil........
its very gud not complicated at all so easy to understand thanx alot!....
very good but needs more information on sudducees :)
very good for my report, i like the highlighting and the big letters it makes it easier to understand. thanks
it was very gud thanks
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Children's Bible Lessons
David & Goliath
3 Brave Boys
Parable of Talents
Paul's 1st Journey
Paul's 2nd Journey
Paul's 3rd Journey
Paul in Rome
Sunday School Card, 1906, courtesy of The Bread Site public domain clipart collection
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin