The religious leaders disliked Jesus for a lot of reasons. They didn’t like who he hung out with, the way he didn’t keep the Law according to their interpretations, and the fact that he was more popular with the crowds than they were. So I imagine they were shocked when they heard Jesus say, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:20 ESV). How could anyone be more righteous then they were? They had developed laws to keep themselves from breaking God’s laws. I doubt it was just the religious leaders who were taken aback by this statement. The average person must have thought, if not them, then who? Unbeknownst to both groups, they had the same problem: they weren’t perfect. So in stepped Jesus as the substitute. His perfection is given to those who put full trust in him alone.
Which brings us to our situation today. Every single person I’ve met, Christian or otherwise, would readily admit they aren’t perfect. In that moment, we are admitting two things: 1) we are not God and 2) we need God. The only question is whether we realize that Jesus alone is the answer to our sin problem. Only then can we be perfect in the midst of our imperfection.