Jesus was a Pharisee
It was not recorded that Jesus ever confessed being a Pharisee or of any other sect. I infer it from what the Pharisees believed and what Jesus taught. Amazingly, it was the same thing.
The point is not Jesus being a Pharisee. The point is that being a Pharisee was not concretely a bad thing. Gamaliel was a very well respected and well known Pharisee
Act 26:5 who before knew me from the first, if they will testify, that according to the most exact sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee.
Please note that Paul says, "I lived a Pharisee. Jesus lived a Pharisee because He obeyed the Law to the exactness of a Pharisee, except the man-made up rules and interpretations of it.
Please note above that I said "what the Pharisees believed"... not what they taught. Jesus called them to task on all their man-made rules and interpretations of the Law. He called them white-washed graves. Clean on the outside but filthy on the inside. This was because of the corrupting influence of the power they wielded over the uneducated Jews. Those uneducated Jews would go to the Pharisees to have them explain some of the things that Jesus taught and because of fear of being excommunicated, they did not believe Jesus.
The Pharisees believed that the Messiah would come. The Sadducees did not. The Essenes and the Pharisees were very close on most points, except the Essenes were separatists and the Pharisees held sway over the Temple. The Pharisees believed in angels (as the Scriptures taught), they believed that each person had a soul/spirit. However, just as Jesus pointed out to them, they strangled on a gnat while swallowing a camel.
The whole problem of their blindness came from Jesus saying He was God's Son. He was divine. The Pharisees studied Scripture and saw a sinner in Isaiah 53. Anyone who would remain silent at the brink of his punishment was guilty of the sin he was accused of. Anyone who was punished, it was accepted that God was the punisher, and that meant that the man was guilty because God punished sinners. This is why they could not, would not see Jesus as the Messiah, nor could they understand that the Person spoken of in Isaiah 53 was the Messiah. Which is a bit off course for this discussion, but relevant because it deals with where the Pharisees got off track and why the Jews were blind, and are still blind today.
Being a Pharisee was not a bad thing for the most part. It was the most pure of all the interpretations of the OT and the sect, even though they added a huge burden upon the people, kept that pure.
Sadly, the religious leaders of the day could not see through their anger except for Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. There were others, like the disciple John. He must have been going to school at the Temple because he was well known by the High Priest.
Considered thoughts from Gina Burgess at 10:23 PM