Most punctilious in their religious rituals!
(J. R. Miller, "Devotional Hours with the Bible" 1909)
"To avoid ceremonial uncleanness—the Jews did not enter the palace." John 18:28
The religious rulers carried their pious scruples even to the palace of Pilate. Amazingly, they had no scruples about their wicked treatment of an innocent man—but they were scrupulously conscientious about matters of mere ceremonial requirement! They would not set their feet on the Gentile's floor—for that would have defiled them! Yet meanwhile their hearts were full of evil and murderous thoughts and resolves!
There will always be people who are most punctilious in their religious rituals—but who in practical life, are little better than heathen!
We should learn well, that God is grieved more by our bitter feelings, our lack of love, our hate and envy—than He is with little omissions in religious ceremonies and formalities.