Lesson 5 – The Opposition


The Pharisees, along with the lawyers, followed Jesus throughout His preaching ministry. See the following Scriptures: Luke 5:21, 33; 6:2, 7; 7:30; 36ff; 10:25ff; 11:14ff, 37, 53; 12:1; 14:1; 15:2; 16:14; 17:20; 19:39. 

Jesus encountered the Sadducees when He attended the festivals in Jerusalem. The chief priest was a Sadducee. John 7:32; 11:47; 18:13.

The Sadducees did not believe in the

resurrection; however, they owned the

high priest office and the tithes;

therefore, they wanted to kill Jesus because they were losing control of the people. See His last encounters:

Luke 20:1, 27; 20:46; 22:1ff.

Some observations from the foregoing:

12:1. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees. See 20:46.

They charged Jesus with blasphemy

and with casting out demons by Beelzebub.

See 5:21; 11:15.

Please continue to read down these columns on the next page.

6:2. The Pharisees were extremist, especially about the Sabbath day and physical contact with sinners.

See 15:2.

Jesus said, “They rejected God’s purpose for themselves.” They had not humbled themselves to John’s baptism.

Luke 7:30.

16:14. They loved money and the prominent seats. See 14:1ff.

Jesus carefully detailed His paradigm of the motives and character of the Pharisees and lawyers in 11:37-52.

The Pharisees were mean, just plain mean. It is a trait of self-righteous people.

See 11:53, 54.

When Jesus became king, He continued His strategy to “seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10. He began in Jerusalem with the mass of Jews who came for the Pentecost celebration. Acts 2:1-13. 


Luke recorded Jesus’ evangelism program at Jerusalem in Acts chapters 1-6.

Please note these points:

The Jews who came to celebrate Pentecost were looking for the Messiah (Christ). The Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth. 4:10.

Peter said, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purposes and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to a tree.” 2:23. See 3:13-15.

The Roman Gentiles were some of these wicked men.

Peter chided, “Now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.” 3:17.

Jesus’ opposition to His “gospel meeting” in Jerusalem were the same Jewish leaders who pressured Pilate to nail Jesus to the cross. See 4:5-7; 5:27-34.

Note the introduction of a Pharisee named Gamaliel and one of his disciples, a young man named Saul.

5:34; 7:58; 22:3-5.

After the Sanhedrin court (Sadducees and Pharisees) and the high priest (Sadducees) killed Stephen, the Pharisees started a great persecution of the church.

Saul was a ringleader. 8:1-3. 23:6.

The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem continuously tried to kill

Saul/Paul. See 9:23-30; 21:10-25:9.

See next page.

King Herod Agrippa I had James, the apostle, killed and when He saw it pleased the Jews he tried to kill Peter. Therefore, Rome joined the Jews in opposition to Jesus’ evangelism of both Jews and Gentiles. 12:1-11.

The first sign of the “yeast of the Pharisees” may be seen in the church in Jerusalem when Peter preached the gospel to the household of Cornelius, who were Gentiles. See 11:2; 21:20, 21; 15:5. Also see Luke 12:1.

Paul and Barnabas may have encountered jealous Pharisees at Pisidian Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. 13:44, 45; 14:2-4, 19.

Paul’s past fellow colleagues served to fulfill Jesus’ statement in 9:16 and brought Paul to conclude, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

14:22. See 15:24-27.

Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth and Ephesus: More trouble

from jealous Jews in these places. 17:5, 13; 18:6, 15; 19:9. These Jews had the characteristics of the Pharisees who sought out Jesus.

The situation in Jerusalem when Paul arrived with the

collection for the saints. “You see, brother, how many

thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are

zealous for the law.” 21:20.

Paul was standing before the same Sanhedrin court where Luke first introduced him at Stephen’s martyrdom, but on the opposite side of the bar. 22:30; 24:1; 25:8.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”Gal. 3:1. 

This sounds like the strategy of the Pharisees.

(It was to get in among their intended victims and

divide them).

Jesus kept the Pharisees on the defensive while on

earth. See Luke 14:1-4.

Some Jews had “cut in on you (The church) and kept you from obeying the truth.” Gal. 5:7.

Paul asked, “Does God give you His Spirit and work

miracles among you because you observe the law, or

because you believe what you heard?” Galatians 3:5.

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let

yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be no value to

you at all.” Gal. 5:2. Also see 5:12; 6:12, 13.

“For you brothers, became imitators of God’s

churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You

suffered from your countrymen the same things those

churches suffered from the Jews, …” I Thess. 2:14.

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” II Cor. 11:13.

In the church Jesus builds – all people share the same status. All are justified sinners (Rom. 5:18).

“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 3:6.

“Watch out for those dogs, those men who do

evil, those mutilators of the flesh.” Phil. 3:2.

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you

eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a

New Moon celebration or a Sabbath. These are a

shadow of the things that were to come; the reality,

however, is found in Christ.” Col. 2:16, 17.

See Col. 2:11, 13, 21.

“They want to be teachers of the law but, they don’t

know what they are talking about or what they

confidently affirm.” We know the law is good if it

is used properly. We also know that law is made for

the lawless. I Timothy 1:7-11.

Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be

sound in faith and pay no attention to Jewish myths or

to the commands of those who reject the truth.

Titus 1:10-16.

“Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange

teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened

by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no

value to those who eat them. We have an altar from

which those who minister at the tabernacle have no

right to eat. Hebrews 13:9.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply