Calamity and severe punishment will come upon the Pharisees—Jesus warns. They meticulously put ten percent aside on garden herbs as a tax for the temple. But they overlooked the more serious matters of the law such as justice and love for God. The law stipulates that “all tithes of the land, whether in grain from the fields or in fruits from the trees, belong to the Lord, as sacred to him” (Lev 27:30). It was commendable that the Pharisees went so far as to give tithes on even these garden herbs. But they failed to be tender hearted toward their fellow human beings. And their selfish hearts were stuck on themselves instead of wanting to please God and doing his will. Jesus also chastises them for their pride and vanity in seeking the places of honor in the synagogues. They positioned themselves in market places to be the center of attention so they could be seen and greeted by the people. Their egoism took the place of God in their lives. They were full of vice and corruption. They pretended to be holy on the outside but inside they were reeking with un-repented sins. Instead of repenting when Jesus pointed out their sins they became very angry with him and wanted to kill him. They resisted God’s grace even more and hardened their hearts to the truth that Jesus spoke. Jesus compared these Pharisees to graves filled with corruption over which people were walking over unknowingly.
One of the scholars of the law, a legal expert, told Jesus that he felt insulted by his remarks. In response Jesus further explained their injustice: By the many obligations that they imposed on people by their human traditions and rules, they laid heavy burdens that were hard to carry. And these scholars did nothing to alleviate them.