Jesus Christ



46. What was the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees Jesus told His disciples to beware of?




The leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees consisted in all the false doctrines taught by those two sects of Judaism.

The Pharisees taught that if a man said to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God,’ he did not need to honor his father or mother (Matthew 15:5-6). Thus the Pharisees nullified the Word of God, which commands us to honor our father and our mother. Therefore, that teaching of theirs was wrong. However, the Pharisees taught many other wrong things, for Jesus said to them: “And many such things you do” (Mark 7:13 – NKJV). One of the other wrong doctrines taught by the Pharisees to the people (remember that they sat in Moses’ seat) was the following one: they taught that whoever swore by the temple it was nothing, but whoever swore by the gold of the temple he was obliged to perform it; and also that whoever swore by the altar it was nothing, but whoever swore by the gift that was on it, he was obliged to perform it. In saying these things, they taught that the gold of the temple was greater than the temple, and the gift on the altar greater than the altar (Matthew 23:16-22); whereas the law of God taught that the temple was greater than the gold of the temple, and the altar was greater than the gift on it.

As for the Sadducees, who, unlike the Pharisees, did not consider holy the tradition of the fathers; they taught that there was no resurrection, and no angel or spirit (Acts 23:8). One day Jesus rebuked the Sadducees because of their denial of the resurrection, saying to them that they were greatly mistaken because they did not know the Scriptures nor the power of God. Here is what Matthew says: “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:23-32).