Throughout the Scriptures hard truths are taught so the people of God might live in closer communion with God. No one is exempt from the hard teachings, even the religious leaders. In fact the religious leaders were the recipients of the most harsh teaching from Jesus. In Matthew 23 we find the seven woes to the teachers of the law and religious leaders. All I can say in summary is yikes.
If you were a prostitute, Jesus would call you to a different life with great compassion. If you were a tax collector he would call you to make things right and follow him. All shapes and forms of sinners were called by Jesus to new life. Yet the religious people were not dealt with using a lot of compassion. In this short chapter Jesus calls them the following; sons of hell, blind guides, hypocrites, snakes, and brood of vipers. Obviously Jesus has issue with the religious people.
The challenge for you and me is to make sure we are not the religious people Jesus is talking to. A great danger exists in our quest for holiness. That danger is found in going through the motions without a connection to the God who gives life and breath. We can be great producers of religious goods and services, but not really know the God who calls us. It would not be a stretch for any one of us to be the target of Jesus' harsh words. Vigilance is the key. Keep watch over your life, invite others you trust to watch over. Do whatever it takes to not be those guys Jesus is talking to.