This is the beginning of a series of teachings (that all happened on that Tuesday of Holy Week) that aren’t very uplifting.
In this first part, Jesus warned against hypocrisy and legalism; legalism often leads to hypocrisy because no one can be that perfect. Ironically, the closing part could easily lead to legalism.
Jesus was trying to encourage people to focus on love rather than rules and the judgment that naturally follows. After 2,000 years, we still struggle. Measurable black and white goals are so much simpler, yet they’re too often unattainable.
We seek to prove our value and worth rather than to humbly walk with our God.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8