The Pharisees were members of the ancient Jewish sect. They studied Scripture, devoting themselves to teaching. They were eager to lecture others, but they did not apply their teachings to their own lives. They were both self-righteous and hypocritical. The Messiah was standing right in front of them, yet they were blinded, not recognizing Him. They were filled with religious pride. This was something Jesus couldn’t tolerate. Rather than pointing people to God, they directed the attention to themselves.
In their teachings, the Pharisees neglected the areas of faith, love, and mercy, which are what Jesus requires of us. Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV), “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” This is a lesson for each of us. If people think we, children of God, are hypocrites, they will not believe in anything we stand for. It is important for us to walk the talk, as our actions speak louder than our words.
Lord God, how vast is Your love for me! Let me always put You first.
Thank You, Lord, for leaving me Your inspired Word. Help me to read it carefully and apply it faithfully.