Some further thoughts regarding the comments by Josh.
The passages are so different that it's hard to make a blanket statement. But I believe all are rebukes to those who professed to be knowledgeable.
I agree that the key to understanding is the recognition of Christ. At least that's the case in Matthew 21:42 (Mark 12:10). It's interesting, however, that He rebuked them for their ignorance of Psalm 118:22, but not for not getting His interpretation of Isaiah 5:1-7. I do think He was holding them accountable, not for their exegesis, but for failing to recognize Him. This makes sense, since Psalm 118 was regarded as Messianic, while I can’t find any evidence that Isaiah 5 was.
In Matthew 12:3-5, it is not clear to me what the case is. He could simply be showing from the references to David and the priests that His disciples' behavior was justifiable. However, He may also be subtly asserting that He is the Greater David and that they should have understood His actions in this light.
In Matthew 19:4, He seems to be rebuking them for ignoring the creation account in their arguments about divorce. In this case and in the following, He is asserting Himself as the Great Teacher of the Law, speaking authoritatively as He did in the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5:27 ff.
In Matthew 22:29, 31 (Mark 12:26), He is doing something similar to the Sadducees, though His interpretation might have been easier for them to miss. It is interesting, however, that He quotes from Exodus 3 when speaking of the resurrection, rather than Ezekiel or Daniel. This is most likely because the Sadducees apparently only accepted the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) as authoritative.
So I agree with you, Josh. It was about their recognition of Him as the Christ. They were the scholars. He seems to have been holding them accountable for not connecting what they saw in Him with their knowledge of the prophetic Scriptures. It was as though they hadn’t even read them. They were not able to “discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).
I have to admit, however, that I was wrong when I said that I couldn’t find one place where He rebuked others for their ignorance. He did!
Luke 24:25: “And He said to them (his disciples), ‘You stupid and slow in your hearts to believe everything that the prophets said.’”
In fact, in all the resurrection accounts He rebuked His disciples for not only failing to believe the Scriptures, but for failing to believe the evidence that was right in front of them – The risen Christ Himself.
Thanks again for forcing me to think harder!