The context of the above statement is fascinating. Jesus called the Pharisees and the scribes attention to the fact that their positions nullified one of Gods Ten Commandments given to Israel in Exodus 20. The Pharisees and scribes reasoning seemed to be this. God commanded us to take care of our elderly parents. However, the temple is a national institution built to honor God. It is more important [spiritual] to support the temple that serves God through sacrificial worship and prayer than it is to take care of parents. Thus if you commit something to support the temple that should be used to meet your parents need, you are excused from caring for your parents.
Jesus made this statement to illustrate they actually did what they accused him of doing by violating the tradition of the Jewish elders. Jesus also declared their hearts did not belong to God and their worship was useless.
Please remember the Pharisees and scribes existed as a significant spiritual influence and scriptural authority in Israel. Even to Jesus disciples, the Pharisees and scribes feelings mattered. At that moment, the disciples could not fathom Jesus insensitivity to the Pharisees and scribes feelings and reactions.
This is the point to note now: Jesus saw a reality that not even the twelve saw. In fact, the only person who saw this reality was Jesus. What Jesus saw was a fairly simple truth: we honor God by valuing what He values, not by honoring what we value.
It was Israel that considered the temple as more significant than parents. It was Israel that regarded worship at the national temple as more significant than a command from God Himself. Do you give God the greatest honor by offering a sacrifice at the temple, or by obeying God?
Was what Jesus saw true? Yes! Was what he saw significant? Absolutely! Did what he saw direct people away from God? Certainly! Did what he saw cause spiritual people to substitute their values for Gods values? Without question! Did what Jesus saw make him popular or appreciated? No!
As we spiritually mature, we see things we never saw before. More times than not, those around us do not see what we see. Blessed is the Christian who refuses to stop seeing because he/she develops spiritually. Blessed is the Christian who leads as he or she sees rather than destroys as he or she sees. Read Matthew 15:13-20.
Matthew 12:7 "But if you had known what this means, I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent."
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell