The Real Pharisees (Part 11): The Pharisees Were Lovers of Money

The Real Pharisees

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him” (Luke 16:14).

Luke identified the Pharisees as ones who were “lovers of money” as he described them “scoffing” at the things Jesus was teaching. These were not two unrelated facts about the Pharisees. Being lovers of money and scoffing at Jesus’ message were intrinsically connected to one another.

Why was it that these lovers of money scoffed at Jesus’ message? Notice what Jesus said immediately before this: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13). Jesus directly addressed this problem and stated that these ones who had “seated themselves in the chair of Moses” (Matthew 23:2) and had the reputation of being the “strictest sect” of the Jews (Acts 26:5) were not faithfully serving God. Understandably, they took offense at this – even though what Jesus said was exactly true. So as a response, they scoffed at Him and His message.

Jesus taught that we cannot be lovers of money if we wish to please God. There are three reasons why this is the case:

  1. The love of money is the root of all evil – “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Many people misrepresent this passage and claim that it says that money is the root of all evil. Yet money in itself is not evil. Instead, it is a blessing from God (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:18-19). However, it is wrong to love money and make it our highest priority instead of recognizing it as a blessing from God and a tool to be used in our service to Him.
  2. Covetousness is idolatry – “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed [covetousness, KJV], which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). When we covet after money or any other material thing, we are making it into an idol. Idolatry is something we need to guard against even today (1 John 5:21).
  3. We are to put our trust in God, not in wealth – “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). All of the money in the world will not save us (Matthew 16:26; 1 Peter 1:18). We need to be sure our faith and trust is in the Lord – the giver of all good things (James 1:17) and the source of our salvation (Hebrews 5:9).

We must not allow our desire for material things, such as money, to cause us to scoff at the words of Jesus. His words are the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The value of money is limited and temporal. Our obedience to His word will bring an everlasting reward.

So who are the real Pharisees today? They are the ones who reject the words of Christ because they overvalue the temporal wealth of this world.


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