The Pharisees were an important Jewish group at the time of Jesus. They wanted to change society by making Judaism strong again. They focused on Mosaic law – the laws that Moses gave the Jews. The Pharisees categorized certain things as clean or unclean, such as foods and the way they were prepared. People who didn’t follow these distinctions were also categorized as unclean. This meant that people who did certain jobs or who couldn’t afford to follow all the rules of the Pharisees, were seen as less worthy.

Jesus didn’t agree with this idea. He saw all people as worthwhile. Jesus was willing to talk with anyone, even those the Pharisees considered unworthy, such as sinners, prostitutes, lepers, poor people, and the mentally ill.

This attitude toward people caused conflict between the Pharisees and Jesus and his followers. Why do you think this might have caused conflict?

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