Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
In this chapter, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, blind, fools, serpents and a generation of vipers. He certainly doesn’t mince words. But as the religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees were harming many people with what they were doing. As leaders, they actually led people astray. As keepers of the things of God, they actually kept people from the way of God. They appeared a certain way, but inside, they were something completely different. Instead of being righteous vessels fit for God’s use, they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity. And Jesus doesn’t take that lightly, knowing their influence and position in that society.
The scribes and Pharisees may not have seen themselves the way Jesus described them, but their blindness to it didn’t make it any less true. They refused to see their own unrighteousness, and that would only set them at odds with God Himself, subject to His judgment and wrath. Jesus saw through all that was not genuine to the true darkness of their hearts.
I may not be in the same position as the scribes and Pharisees. I am a believer in Christ and I seek to follow and obey Him. But maybe sometimes I am blind to some of the things I am doing that displease God. Maybe I’m not seeing some darkness within. Maybe I’m purposely shining up the outside to avoid dealing with some sin on the inside. If so, may I be willing to allow Jesus’ light to search within and His Spirit to convict and His Word to help me change my mind, my attitude and my behavior so I can live genuinely and righteously before the Lord.