Yesterday I said that the Pharisees were the most religious people of their time. There were, however, other groups of their time who would have begged to differ. There were all sorts of fragments of Jewish religion in Palestine of Jesus’ day (kind of like our day, wouldn’t you say?). Some, like the Sadducees, were focussed on Temple worship. Others, like the Essenes, fled to the wilderness and set up spiritual communities, the most well-known today being Qumran. Then there was this group called the Pharisees; they had a strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people by establishing their system of piety in the towns and villages where the masses of people lived. They did not actually succeed in converting that many people to their sect, but they set the standard for rule keeping. They expected everyone to take part, if they were to measure up.
Prayer: Jesus, as I follow you today, help me to look for what you want, not for what others want.