Compare Luke 6:39; 11:39-44, 46-52; John 13:4-5, 12-17
There are many observations that might be made about these substantial passages of scripture. I’ll offer just a few, briefly.
It’s striking that, while Christ’s statements here indicate a very negative estimation of the character of the scribes and the Pharisees — for, among other things, greed and hypocrisy — they show considerable respect for their “office,” as it were, of teaching the law of Moses.
One of the major themes here is that we shouldn’t seek the praise of the people around us, nor glory in titles or rank or ecclesiastical appointments. Rather, greatness consists in service.
Another theme is a fierce condemnation of superficiality, of focusing on external things rather than on God and/or on the deeper principles behind those things.
The obvious and easy temptation, having read these passages, is to sit back in quiet self-satisfaction, pondering the obvious inadequacies of the scribes and Pharisees and thinking to ourselves, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are.”
That temptation must be resisted. Instead, we should be asking “Lord, is it I?”