Opponents of Jesus

In this lesson (Luke 5:17-26), we look at the opponents of Jesus, and the relationship between sickness and sin.

I. Opponents of Jesus

A. Pharisees

i. Pharisees were one of the three prominent religious societies at the time of Jesus.

ii. Not only they were opponents of Christ, but also opponents to Sadducees and Rabbis.

iii. This group was resembled as far back as the Babylonian Captivity. This group originated in the period of the Maccabean revolt (166-159 BC).

iv. Pharisee means the separated ones. Probably the name was given by Sadducees, who thought of them as opposed to their ways.

v. The extreme separatism was manifested through such behavior as not touching the carcass of a dead animal or those who had come into contact with such things. Also, they had no association with people who had been defiled through sickness.

vi. They had a zeal for legal debate and for keeping alive the tradition of meditation and study of Torah, the Jewish. Their interpretation of law was written in Mishnah.

vii. Although in many places of the gospels Pharisees were portrayed as "bad guys," some Pharisees played vital roles in early Christian church, including Nicodemus (John 3:1; 7:50, 51; 19:39), Gamaliel, who publicly defended the Apostles before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:34-40); Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:50; John 19:38), and certainly the Apostle Paul. Paul used the title "Pharisee" of himself as a name of honor and respect: "As to the law [I am] a Pharisee."

B. Scribes

i. Scribes were experts of law. The Pharisees were of a religious party while the scribes held an office. The majority of the scribes belong to the Pharisee party which recognized the legal interpretations of the law.

ii. The scribes originated in the pre-exile days when it came the professions of public writers, government secretaries, and copiers of law and other documents (Jer. 32:12-15; 36:26; 2 Kings 18:18; Jer. 36:12).

iii. Scribes believed in legalism and set many "dos and don'ts" to the Jewish society.

iv. They received the deep respect of the people, as indicated in the honorable term "rabbi," meaning "my master," and dressed in long robes like the nobility.

v. Scribes only interpreted, but did not create laws. The dispute between Jesus and Scribes was that Jesus, as the Messiah, had authority to make law (e.g. Matt. 7:29; Mark 1:22; Matt. 12:8--authority over Sabbath; Matt 9:6, authority to pardon).

II. Sickness and sin

A. In the Bible, there are some obvious indications that sickness is cased by sin (Num 12:10-15; James 5:14-15). Like demonology to mental disorder, the notion that sinning to bodily diseases dominated Europe for more than a thousand year.

B. However, the Bible does not mandate that illness is necessarily resulted from spiritual corruption. There are 22 records of sickness in the Bible, but only three of those cases are described as consequences of sins (2 King 5:25-27; 2 Chr. 21:12-19). Once Jesus came across a man who was blind since birth, and He said, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but the works of God should be revealed in him." (John 9:1-3) Paul also suffered from optical deficiency, however, God did not cure him although he prayed for the removal of this pain three times (2 Cor. 12:7-10).