The Pharisees enjoyed the high places of recognition, the most important seats at banquets. But Jesus said, "The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" Matthew 23:11-12.
He also had strong warnings to the Pharisees, which He called woes in Matthew 23.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up heaven from people.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows houses and make long prayers just for show.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!
"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath. Blind fools! Which is greater the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold?
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faith.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every impurity.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have taken part with them in shedding the prophets' blood. You testify against yourselves!
Think About It
The scribes and Pharisees were the elite, the leaders of Israel. If Jesus had such strong words for leaders when He lived on earth, I wonder what He would say of our leaders today. You and I have to be wise and discerning about things our leaders say and do. When the leaders told Peter he could no longer speak in the name of Jesus, he said he had to obey God, not man. These are troubling times, and we might be called to do as Peter did.
Pray About It
Our Lord, thank you for teaching us as you taught your disciples about what is really important, and it's not the things that are important to our world. Help us to be wise . Give us the words for our defense. We trust you in Jesus' name, amen.