First, Jesus identifies the Pharisees as full of greed and wickedness though outwardly righteous. They are concerned with rules on how to cleanse their dishes. He tells them to give their food in those dishes to the poor. Ask yourself: How deeply compassionate am I for those who are needy? Does your compassion for the poor change significantly your lifestyle?
Second, he chides them for scrupulous tithing while neglecting justice and the love of God. Do you stand for those who are treated wrongly? Do you love God with all of your being?
Next he describes how these religious folks loved to receive honor. They looked for approval and appreciation. What motivates you to serve others?
Jesus describes them as unmarked graves. They may look like they are alive with their attention to religious practices, but inside they are spiritually dead. Is your heart humble and seeking the Lord?
His fifth assessment of these religious folks is that they lay heavy religious burdens on the people without helping them walk in a relationship with God. Are you laying religious rules on people without helping them connect to the power of the Spirit?
Sixth, Jesus assesses the teachers of the law that they honor the prophets of old but still oppose the genuine movement of God. Are you open to what God is trying to do?
Lastly, Jesus levels the criticism that these religious folks are hindering people from entering the kingdom. Do your lack of passion for God and your lack of hunger for righteousness act as stumbling blocks to those needing the kingdom?
This is my prayer: Lord, help me not become outwardly religious while losing a heart for you and a compassion for those for whom you have compassion. Amen.