The main issues dividing Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel

Jesus and the religious leaders in Israel did not get along. They had many disagreements between each other, but the biggest one was Jesus’ calling out of their hypocrisy and the assertion of his authority. Jesus claimed that He had the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5). The Pharisees had many strict rules with which they burdened the common people. Jesus cared for the people and the accurate interpretation of the law. He also accused them of caring more about their own traditions than for the commandments of God. He criticized them for teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.

One rule Jesus called out was the rule of the exemption of helping your parents. The law of Moses said that you should honor your father and mother, and if you curse your father and mother, that you should die the death. But the Pharisees said that if you say to your parents that his gift is Corban (A gift for the temple), then he doesn’t have to help his parents if they are in need. Jesus called them out for this and told them that by their rules they were making the scripture to have no effect.

Jesus also healed people on the Sabbath, which was against the rules of the Pharisees. Jesus asserted his authority by saying that He was the Lord of the Sabbath Jesus said that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and that healing people was more important than keeping the man-made rules the Pharisees had.

He also demonstrated his authority was in the account of the paralyzed man. Jesus was preaching and ministering to the people inside a house, but so many people were packed around him that a paralyzed man and his friends could not get through to see Jesus. So, they cut through the roof of the house and lowered the man down to Jesus so that He could be healed. Jesus forgave them man’s sins, which the religious leaders thought that it was blasphemy, because only God can forgive sins. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and asked them which was easier, to say that your sins were forgiven, or to instruct a paralyzed man to take up his bed and walk. Then, He told the man to take up his bed and walk, and the man did and was healed, amazing the people.

The Pharisees and the Herodians tried to catch Jesus doing something that would get him in trouble. So, they tried to catch Jesus in his words by asking him a question about whether or not the Jews should pay taxes to Caesar, the Roman emperor. If he said that they should, then He would get in trouble with the Jews, who were not happy with the ruling Roman empire at all. If He said that the Jews should not pay taxes, then the Romans would come after him,; because he would be seen as a rebel.

Jesus, however, knew what they were up to. Jesus asked for a penny, then showed it to his listeners. He asked them whose image was on the coin, and his critics said “Caesars”. So Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Then, the Sadducees and the Scribes (other religious leaders) asked him many questions, which he answered as well.


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