What's In The Heart
The religious leaders of Jesus day were obsessed with keeping the traditions passed down to them. Jesus' influence with the current religious culture was gaining traction. The Jews who normally stormed the temple for teachings from the Pharisees and other split Jewish groups were now sitting at the feet of Jesus.
When Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee, he immediately begins teaching his followers about the hypocrites. Essentially, Jesus is telling the people listening that these religious teachers are all about the show (Matthew 5:21-48; 6:1-18). As the book proceeds forward, we become aware of this question Matthew is seeking to answer to his Jewish audience,
"Why are the religious leaders rejecting Jesus?"
Why would those who are deemed to be so aware of this coming Messiah reject Him? It's clear, isn't it? It was not they didn't know Jesus was the Messiah. It was what was in their heart. Their confident expectation of the Messiah's identity shadowed their ability to see who the Messiah actually was. The perception of who this Messiah's identity was tainted by the expectation of a great military leader whose leadership would overthrow Rome and restore the Hebrew people to dominant power.
Except this is not what Jesus was all about, and because he was not what they expected, they rejected. Their hardness of heart was the problem.
Let's remember that while it is prudent to maintain a sturdy Biblical worldview. Let's remember that open-mindedness is harmless and often leads to moments of great learning and understanding! Let's continue to learn about our Lord so that we may better emulate His character.