- (Matt. 23:1-5)
The Pharisees were a Jewish religious sect who held their traditions, interpretations and applications of the Law to be as important as the Law itself, and sometimes much more (cp. Matt. 15:1-6).
The above, in addition to hypocrisy, constitute, in sum, the evil of Pharisaism. Pharisaism is the principle of living the way of the Pharisees.
The Pharisees, like Moses, were dishing out the laws, but unlike Moses, would not truly practise them (Matt. 23:1-4).
They made long their phylacteries (small leather boxes containing scripture verses worn in the arms and foreheads), and enlarged the borders of their garments, in keeping with Deut. 6:8; Ex. 13:9,16, Num. 15:38.
But now the Pharisees had become more concerned about the status these phylacteries conferred rather than the truth they contained.
They preached and practiced not. If they practiced any commandment, it was not in reverential obedience to God; it was basically to make them appear to men to be good; it was with a self-exalting, self -promoting and praise/honour- seeking intention; it was always with some ulterior motive (cp. Matt. 6:1-8; 23:5).
What motives underlie your actions or reactions? Are there not certain things you do or say with some undisclosed ulterior and selfish motives?
The zeal you manifest sometimes and the interest you show in certain things and/or to certain people at certain times, what are the motives behind them? The proper thing is to do the right thing with the right motive.