This entire chapter revolves around the Pharisees and the scribes, and how Jesus was pointing out their sins. He was making the point and driving it home by giving example after example of where their words were not lining up with their deeds. It also has shined a spotlight on how much more serious God takes our inner lives than we often do. A lot of times (myself included) we will excuse ourselves of sins that we would find offensive in another person. The pharisees did this a lot, as did the scribes, and they had even gone so far as to believe their own press so to speak. Jesus did not look fondly on their puffed hearts and two-sided-ness (new word), and started telling them what they did not want to, but *needed* to hear. But if one pharisee or scribe heard this and repented of his sins, then he would have saved a life.
The application of this is so profound, it brought me to a place of self examination, as it should. I examined my heart, and wondered if I was in pride or if I am walking humbly with my God. As long as I am following my Lord, and doing what he tells me to do (both in the word and in ministry), then it's logical to think I'm okay. But I have to dig deeper than that. What are my thoughts like when I do them? Am I vying for attention? Do I want praise from men? Or from God?
Heavy questions, things that may not be pleasant to answer, but so necessary. Easy? (lol) No. But useful for the master to shape me into the woman God wants me to be? You bet.