The Pharisees were the epitome of pride and self righteousness; however, their ultimate sin was willfully rejecting the deity of Jesus and attributing to Satan His power to perform miracles.
After Jesus explained His deity to the Pharisees, they attempted to stone Him for blasphemy.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM’. Then they took up stones to throw at Him…” John 8:56-59
The Pharisees’ rejection of Jesus’ claim to deity was shared by other members of the Sanhedrin including the high priest.
Other incidents of rejection of Jesus’ claim to deity include:
“‘I and My Father are one’.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” John 10:30-31
“Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He…said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:17-18
The Pharisees and their Jewish followers initially claimed they were just obeying that part of the Mosaic Law that dealt with blasphemy.
“And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him…When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death.” Leviticus 24:16
The more miracles that Jesus performed, the more the Pharisees hated Him and were afraid for their own standing among the people.
“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw…And all he multitudes were amazed…” Matthew 12:22-23
The Pharisees were running out of contrived reasons for Jesus’ miracles and hit rock bottom.
“Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons’.” Matthew 12:24
Jesus calmly and quickly placed the argument squarely on the Pharisees’ shoulders.
“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand’?” Matthew 12:25-26
The Pharisees could not respond to the truth of Jesus’ reasoning. Then Jesus confronted the Pharisees with the sin of sins.
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:31-32
The sin of the Pharisees was that they had witnessed first hand the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in Christ and demonstrated by His miracles, but they rejected the truth. They didn’t reject the truth in ignorance, but rather with conscious choice, thereby committing the ultimate sin.
The major goal of the Pharisees was to get rid of Jesus. It appeared that after every miracle the Pharisees were of one mind.
“Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.” Matthew 12:14
Just prior to Jesus being sent to Pilate for interrogation, Jesus was interrogated by the high priest.
“…Again the high priest asked Him (Jesus), saying to Him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed’? Jesus said, ‘I am’…Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy’…And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.” Mark 14:61-64
The irony, of course, was that the Pharisees and high priest were committing the same sin that they were accusing Jesus of committing.
The reason that the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus was not only because of alleged blasphemy, but rather for their own self preservation. They could see their power base falter.
“Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived (knew) that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.” Matthew 21:45-46