75. Hypocrisy of the Scholars and Pharisees.
Jesus warned the people against the hypocrisy of the scholars and Pharisees so that they would not be led astray by their bad examples. They were in the positions of advising the people on religious and spiritual questions; their advice may be followed but not their actions, for they say what is right but do not act upon it. They are strict and make it hard for people but lend no helping hand at all. They drain people of their wealth and put on the superficial appearances of piety. Their egos love prestige and honors and to be held above the people as teachers.
Jesus declared that all people are brothers and sisters learning from the Spirit (God) in all things. We are equal in our humanity; therefore we should realize that God is our Father and call no one else by this term. Yet there are religions today which set certain men apart and call them father, religions supposedly based on Christ. Similarly with leaders and rulers it is better to follow the Christ in your own heart as the true spiritual guide. The greatest person is the one who serves in humility, for pride leads to a fall.
The religious hypocrites stand in the doorway and block people from entering, because they do not act nor move. They go all around to proselytize; and when they have converted someone to their belief system, that one becomes an insincere hypocrite; for spirituality is based on experiential knowledge and action, not on dogmatic persuasion. The financial contributions are emphasized more than praying and the teachings.
The hypocrites follow all the rituals but have forgotten about justice for everyone, mercy to those in need, and trusting God for inner guidance. Blind guides argue over the fine points of theology and in their contention miss the love of God. Hypocrites keep the appearances looking good but inside they are corrupted by their greed and lust. Purify the heart first, and then everything will be all right.
The hypocrites put on a good show, but they are dead inside and feel no peace or harmony. They worship the religious tradition of their fathers and perpetuate their mistakes (sins). They think that if they had lived in Biblical times they would have followed the prophets, but their actions of today say otherwise. How can such people escape the judgment of their own karma, especially when they are so harsh in judging others? Those who preach hell and damnation are creating it for themselves on emotional and mental levels.
The wisdom of God has been extended to humanity in every generation through prophets, philosophers and scholars, and yet the religious hypocrites have neglected them, insulted them, persecuted them, and murdered them from the beginning of humanity up to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The karma of these actions will be reaped by the present generation.
Jesus concluded with a sorrowful lament to Jerusalem for the suffering its people have caused when the loving Christ has longed to gather the souls together in eternal bliss. The temple was desolate, and the Christ consciousness would not be perceived until people opened their hearts to experience the glory of God.
Jesus observed how a poor widow gave all she had to the temple; and even though it seemed a little to others, she had given her all, trusting God to provide for her needs.