"What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'  And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went.  And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. Matthew 21:28-32 (ESV)
Jesus starts laying it thick on them. He actually condemns them. They thought they had it made They were supposedly the righteous ones. But it was the tax collectors and prostitutes that repented and went the way of righteousness that John preached. They were willing to be forgiven. The Pharisees spent too much time trying to make sure they had nothing to be repentant of, its an exercise in blindness, to see how much you can avoid seeing.