A Different Kind of Logic

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who is using extremely flawed logic? It is so frustrating trying to be rational and levelheaded when someone has a totally different logic that makes no sense to you. This is what Jesus was dealing with when he interacted with the local religious leaders. The pharisees were using human logic, based on their culture and what would benefit them the most. Jesus, on the other hand, was using kingdom logic- the logic of God!

So, what did the pharisees have flawed logic about? Well, basically everything… but I am going to focus on two key areas that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day completely missed: status and salvation.

Status: Everything the pharisees did was about gaining and maintaining their status as the elite class of Israel. This is how Jesus summarized the pharisees’ actions “Everything they do is for show… they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues.” - Matthew 23:5-6 NLT

According to the pharisees’ logic, one could only gain status by being elite, wealthy, and extremely religious. They would never miss an opportunity to exalt themselves. However, Jesus thought about status very differently. 

Jesus says “The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” -Matthew 23:11-12 NLT


Salvation: The logic of the pharisees about how salvation worked was completely backwards. In their mind, good religious works earns God’s favor. However, Jesus taught that God’s favor would lead to good religious works! You see, it benefited them socially to make God’s love conditional. By making the “rules” of religion so strict that only they could follow them, they were setting themselves apart as the chosen few that God loved. In their minds, God would only want a relationship with the best and most elite members of Israel. 

However, Jesus said “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” - Luke 5:32 NLT

In short, the pharisees had the opposite value system for status and salvation. They prioritized exalting themselves, but Jesus showed that exaltation comes from humility. In addition, the pharisees were self-righteous, but Jesus came for those who know they are not righteous! So how do we avoid the logic of the pharisees??

We need to ignore our ways of thinking and instead focus on Jesus’ words! Even though it is ‘natural’ for us to want to be first, to be the most important, or to think of our needs before we worry about others, Jesus commands us to live radically different. There is true joy when we live according to the logic of Christ because it feels so different and loving from what we are used to! If you are like me and love to have a super practical Bible verse to put into practice, then here you go: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” - Philippians 2:3-4 NLT

As you go through your day and your week, try to actively think about others as more important than you! It is countercultural and even counterintuitive, but it will lead to a level of happiness that cannot be found when you are serving yourself!

Author | Charlie Knox

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