After the verbal thrashing Jesus gave the Pharisees, one of the experts of the law has the nerve to tell Jesus, “Hey, you insult us too when you say things like that.” I mean, did he really think it was unintentional? Or that by calling attention to it Jesus would back down with an “Oops, sorry. No offense”?
Jesus doubles down instead. He condemns them for adding extra rules and requirements to the Law of Moses that make it a burden to those trying to follow them. They said things like “Don’t let your wife look in the mirror on the Sabbath, or she may see a gray hair and pluck it out, which would be work, and thus forbidden,” or “Only walk 200 steps on the Sabbath, unless it’s to and from your own property.” In that last case, the rich could send servants to put broken items out on Friday every 200 steps so they could go wherever they like since they would only be going to their property each time. All of these extra rules were insanely hard to remember, much less fulfill, and they got very far from what the Lord originally said: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…” (Deut 5:13–14)
The religious elite considered themselves pious for building tombs to honor the prophets of old, but by rejecting Jesus they were rejecting the prophets’ message, just like their forefathers did when they persecuted and killed those prophets. They hid the truth from the people and themselves by twisting the Law to their own devices and neglecting what the prophets had said.
Give us ears to hear what You have said in Your Word with clarity and a will to follow it.