Who were the Sadducees and the Pharisees?
Here's the answer:
The Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish religious leaders.
"[Jesus said,] How terrible it will be for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter. And you will not let those enter who are trying to" (Matthew 23:13).
When Jesus was on earth, the Jewish religion had very powerful leaders. These men were in charge of religious teaching, but they were also involved in the government. The main groups of Jewish leaders were called the Pharisees (fair-i-sees) and the Sadducees (sad-you-sees).
The Sadducees and Pharisees might have been leaders of the same religion, but they were very different. The Sadducees were usually rich men, and they didn’t believe everything God said in the Old Testament. They were more interested in the government than in religion.
The Pharisees were usually from the common class of people, and they believed most of the things God said in the Old Testament. They were much more concerned about religion than the Sadducees. They also thought following rules was more important than loving others and being kind to them.
The Sadducees and Pharisees often got angry with Jesus for the things He taught, because they thought He was wrong. They hated it when Jesus said He is God. But they were the ones who were wrong, and Jesus often pointed that out. The Sadducees and Pharisees eventually became so angry with Jesus and the things He was teaching that they brought Him to the Romans to be executed on a cross.
The good news is that it was Jesus’ plan to die on a cross all along. He had come to earth to take the punishment for our sin so that everyone who believed in Him could one day be in heaven. After He died, He rose three days later to show that He has power over everything—even death and the religious leaders’ plans!
You can read more about the Sadducees and Pharisees in these New Testament passages: Matthew 15:1–20; Mark 7:1–23; Luke 18:10–14; 20:1–8, 19–26, 27–40.